MORE DREDGING INFORMATION AND PLAN PROGRESS
Well, summer is now only a memory, and the fall season is now at its mid-point. Your Board of Directors and Lake Management Committee, and many involved RRA members, have continued to work toward what will be the most significant, the most well-planned, and the most needed program in the 46 year history of our lake, a dredging program that will restore our lake’s water quality to what it was in the 1960s and 1970s.
This is the third in a series of Lake Management Committee reports to give our members as much information as possible about the dredging program currently being planned. In our first segment, we discussed why dredging is needed. Last month, we reported on a very productive and informative LMC meeting held in early September during which Tom Grabow, the ODNR Regional Dredge Supervisor of ODNR’s canal lakes region (northwest Ohio), told us about what the State of Ohio is doing to restore water quality at Grand Lake St. Marys.
But before we report on recent progress, let’s revisit the dredging clock. Like our Federal deficit, the clock is running. With the rains of the fall season, nutrient-rich sediment continues to flow into our lake. On average, since our last LMC article, another football field sized area was covered with new sediment to a depth of 1½ feet, smothering our lake bottom and continuing to feed nutrient-rich sediment into our precious lake’s ecosystem.
Recap of September 29th LMC meeting. Your LMC chair, and Board President Barry O’Connell, teamed up to present the powerpoint program given previously by Tom Grabow, and to provide detailed cost projections of the planned dredging program. About 15 to 20 members attended. The re-presentation of Tom’s program gave those in attendance who were not able to attend the first presentation, some insight into what the State of Ohio is doing to improve the water quality of Grand Lake St. Marys. The State has determined that there is no alternative to dredging, and they currently have three hydraulic dredges operating on that lake. The program will probably run indefinitely.
Despite some nay-sayers in our community, Tom made it crystal clear that the State’s position is that the only way to effectively address the problem is to remove the source of the nutrients that feed the blue-green algae, that being the sediment that has accumulated on the lake bottom. Let’s stop pretending otherwise and stick with the facts.
Finances. Those who are promoting the dredging program understand that the cost of the program is on everyone’s mind. Barry’s presentation presented an overview of the finances. The cash flow projections indicate that at the favorable interest rates that have been negotiated, the capital costs of the dredging program can be paid off over a 15 year time frame, and there are no plans to increase the current Lake Management assessment. If interest rates increase, the time required to pay back the principal will increase, but the annual payments will not. Thus, the assessment can be held constant.
The financial projections indicate that the capital cost will be around $1.3 million, and annual operating cost will be around $100,000. The target startup remains September, 2013.
Recent Trip to Ellicott Dredging. Three Board members, Barry O’Connell, Rick Rumbaugh, and Tim O’Donnell, took time out of their busy schedules to travel to Ellicott Dredging’s manufacturing facility in Wisconsin. They met with Ellicott personnel, observed the fabrication of hydraulic dredges similar to what the Association is planning to purchase, and discussed such details as support equipment, fusing of pipe, pumping rates, booster pumps, and other items.
It has recently become clear that we need to be able to pump sediment up to 7500 feet, maybe more, and that a booster pump will be needed. There seems to be no way to avoid the need to incorporate a booster pump into the planning process. It has also become evident that an 8 inch dredge seems to be the optimum size. Going to a larger diameter pump will increase cost, but not eliminate the need for a booster pump.
Engineering Firm Engaged. Chagrin Valley Engineering has been contracted to design the DMRAs, determine the best means to return the clarified water to our lake, and work through the permitting process with the US Army Corps of Engineers. The LMC chair, and Board President Barry O’Connell, recently met with CVE to discuss details of the design plans and agree upon a strategy to see to it that the program speeds its way through the design, review, and approval process.
The plan is to have designs submitted to the Corps around the end of the year, and to establish a project schedule that will have DMRAs constructed on the former Manzo property in the coming months. In the meantime, the Board is also investigating other properties further south that would provide the opportunity to begin dredging the south end of our lake sooner than would have seemed possible only a few months ago.
Once again I state that to those impacted by poor water quality (that’s any member who is paying attention); to those who have been choked by the growth of invasive and noxious weeds; and those who have seen their formerly lakefront property turned into swamp-front property, take heart, speak up loudly, support what we are doing, and don’t let those few nay-sayers drown out your voice for high quality lake water in all areas. Let’s continue to work toward returning Lake Roaming Rock to a condition that we can all enjoy without being concerned about aesthetic or health issues.
Lake Management Committee Chair
The Board voted to replace our present weed harvester, which is approximately 20 years old, and in need of much repair. The new weed harvester will cost $60,000.
For those residents that wish to dredge around their docks during the lake drawdown, we have a solution for you. All that is needed is for you to fill out a simple form at the office indicating your name and address, the location of the dredging and where you intend to put the spoils from the dredging. The office will inspect the site and approve or reject the application based on where you want to put the spoils and whether or not a wetlands is involved.
The 2013 budgeting process is in process. No increases in dues or assessments will be necessary. The Administrative Committee is diligently working on cost savings plans for the Association.
For those of you that have a metal detector and enjoy searching for buried treasure, now’s your chance to help the association determine the locations of any buried gas pipelines on the Manzo Property.
We need to determine if there are any buried pipelines and plot their locations. Please call the office and get in touch with me.
The driveway on RL40 was completed recently using only our own maintenance staff. We saved over $4000 by doing it in-house as opposed to contracting it to an outside firm.
Barry O’Connell, President
Are you an avid treasure-seeker?
Do you own a metal detector?
Do you enjoy helping your community?
If so, then the RomeRock Association needs you! The recent purchase of the old golf course calls for the services of people with metal detecting skills! Buried pipelines may be hidden beneath the surface, and they need to be accounted for! Contact the RRA office (440-563-3170) to lend a helping hand to your community!
Take Note: Lake Roaming Rock will be lowered this Fall. The drawdown will begin on October 15th. Please plan on removing your boat from the lake before the lake lowering begins!
Take Note: The RRA Office is on its Winter Hours Business Hours, Wednesday-Saturday, 8am-6pm.
In the Upcoming Events section of this month’s edition of the Shores News, the location of the Board of Directors meeting is incorrectly stated as being held at the Village Hall.
All Board of Directors Meetings and Workshops are held at the RRA Clubhouse.
This past week, RRA Board of Directors Barry O’Connell, Rick Gainar, Gary Stamm, and Bob & Karen Sobczak, along with RRA staff Jen Addair and Pat Sowry, attended the OLCA conference at Lake Lakengren in Eaton, Ohio.
At this meeting, attendees had the opportunity to learn about Lakengren and its operations. Attendees also viewed a demonstration of their current dredging operation (see album).
Several breakout sessions were conducted in which attendees had the opportunity to learn about and discuss HOA legal issues, Goose & Wildlife Management, Citizen Lake Awareness & Monitoring, Lakengren’s Dam & Spillway, and Communications Options.
It was a very informative meeting. Lakengren’s staff and volunteers did a great job and were wonderful hosts!
Click below to view the album.
Projects update: The clubhouse parking lot and road paving (chip & sealing) was completed. The basketball courts have been sealed and the Beach 2 tent has been removed in preparation for the construction of the new pavilion. The Weed Harvester is now being prepared for major repairs this winter.
Recently, I was invited to give a presentation regarding our dredging plans to the women’s aerobics club. They were hearing conflicting rumors about our dredging plans. Lee Shaffer and I prepared a presentation that lasted about 2 hours covering everything from our cash flow monthly report, to how the Association will pay for both the operating costs and the capital costs, the estimated costs of all of the equipment needed, a PERT diagram (a critical path of the project milestones), and the individual expertise that each member of dredging team brings to the table. Afterwards, the attendees suggested that we should do the same presentation for other groups within the Association. So, here’s my offer to the members: If you want to learn more about the project and resolve the conflicting rumors and issues regarding dredging, then give me a call at the Association Office (440-563-3170) or at home(440-563-9337). I’ll be happy to schedule more presentations.
You may be surprised to learn that the dredging project group contains two (2) Mechanical Engineers, one of them is a Registered Professional Engineer and the other is an expert in hydraulics. There is also one Chemical Engineer who taught the hourly workforce at Perfection Corporation in Madison, Ohio how to heat fuse polyethylene pipe. Polyethylene pipe is going to be used in the dredging piping. These individuals are all local people, RRA members who have agreed to bring their individual expertise to the dredging project. I know there must be many members who have special talents that we can use on this project. Again, let me know and I will include you in the planning group.
Allow me to dispel other rumors that I have heard: Dredging will tie up the lake and interfere with boating and fishing. Wrong! The Fall dredging program was planned to start in September of each year for two reasons: to avoid the fish spawning season and the summer boating season. The dredging operation will only affect the specific area being dredged; it will not affect the whole lake. After the dredging is completed in an area, the floating piping will be removed and reinstalled in the next area. When the dredging season is over, all of the floating pipe will be removed from the lake and the submerged piping will remain in deep water for the next season.
Last, and probably the most important issue being discussed in the Association is whether or not there will be an increase in Dues and Assessments in 2013. No, there will NOT be an increase in the Dues and Assessments in 2013! Why not? The Assessments were raised in 2012 to pay for the yearly dredging operating costs, i.e., fuel, maintenance, lubricating fluids, etc. We have the funds to operate the dredger. The equipment is being paid via bank financing. We do not need any more funds for the dredging project.
The cash flow position as of the end of August for the Association is as follows:
|Projected 2012 year end Revenue:||$1,094,307|
|Projected 2012 year end expenses:||$821,555|
|Projected 2012 year end Capital spending:||$238,750|
Barry O’Connell, President
RRA Board of Directors
The Ohio Lake Communities Association’s (OLCA) Fall Meeting will be held on September 26th & 27th at Lake Lakengren in Eaton, OH. Topics of discussion include Dredging & Sediment Removal, Goose & Wildlife Management, HOA Legal Issues, and Communications Options.
The RRA Office will be closed on September 26th & 27th as the office staff will be attending this meeting, along with various Board Members.
Missing a canoe? OH0117DR? It was last spotted near the entrance of Plum Creek. If this is your canoe, please try to move it back to your dock. Thank you.