Homeowners near Geist Reservoir split over proposed annual fees, property taxes

MCCORDSVILLE, Ind. – Most homeowners and boat owners who enjoy Geist Reservoir agree, they want an entity like a conservancy district in place. They said they don’t even mind paying a fee to use the water. They just want to know how much for how long.

"They have been wanting to get this passed that there’s no tax caps on property, and also there’s no caps on the watercraft fees," Lori Standick, Indianapolis Yacht Club Commodore, said of proponents of fees and increased property tax.

The state's department of natural resources defines a conservancy district as a way for landowners to set up a taxing district to assist with water resource management. Neighbors said this money would help with maintenance at the reservoir as well as clean up days.

The proposed annual fee is $250 for recreational boaters outside of Geist. Those who live near and along the lake would pay $125. Homeowners would also see an increase in property taxes if the area becomes a conservancy district.

"Depending upon the value of your home, you’d probably be looking at a couple hundred dollars to $500, $600 a year," said Corey Peter, a homeowner and proponent of the fees.

Citizens Energy Group owns the reservoir. But, their main concern is providing drinking water to customers, so some neighbors feel like the community should step up to care for the lake.

Some problems facing the waters are shore erosion, invasive plants and species and overgrowth of algae.

"Without the citizens or conservancy district around it, the reservoirs filling in at a pretty rapid pace," Peter said.

The paperwork for the conservancy district at Geist Reservoir has not been filed yet.

"The process to form a conservancy district is a multi-year process," Peter said. "It involves filing petitions, multiple hearings between multiple boards, going to the national resources commission and county as well."

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