Fountain Lake Dredging Project on Hold

Shell Rock River Watershed District announced recently that the fate of the district’s half-percent sales tax has not been decided yet.

Last week, legislators were back in session to pass the tax bill and other legislation that affects the area.

According to SRRWD, the sales tax is to be extended for either 15 years or until $15 million has been collected. Funding collected goes toward water quality improvements, including the dredging of Fountain Lake.

The Watershed District voted last month to move forward with the first phase of the Fountain Lake dredging project, and began construction of the confined disposal facility in March that will house sediment collected from the bottom of Fountain Lake.

Administrator Brett Behnke commented that he is concerned the project will have to be delayed if the sales tax extension does not pass. “To wait for another year for the tax bill really sets back our project.

We need this done, wrapped up. It will screech the dredging project to a screeching halt,” added Behnke.

Behnke also said that the district will consider a property tax levy in the fall after seeing what action takes place at the Legislature.

A renewal of the sales tax would provide funding for the next phase of the dredging project, which would remove 550,000 to 690,000 cubic yards of sediment from Edgewater Bay — one portion of Fountain Lake — to a confined disposal facility site north of Interstate 90.