Organization hoping to raise taxes to help pay for the maintenance of Geist Reservoir

FISHERS, Ind. — The Geist Lake Coalition took a big step as it tries to get everyone to chip in. Members filed a petition to form a Geist Conservancy District to help maintain the reservoir.

“There are some off the water that are in the district that feel they shouldn’t have to be involved in this and should not be taxed,” Geist Lake Coalition President Brian Hall said.

This 75 -year-old reservoir is the heart of this community and the Hall says those who enjoy its benefits also need to help maintain it.

“If the reservoir was to turn toxic through a toxic algae bloom then we would not be able to use the reservoir for recreation use,” Hall said.

The Geist Lake Coalition is hoping to create the Geist Conservancy District.

“It will provide us sustainable and ongoing revenue stream to deal with the problems we have out here at Geist,” Hall said.

Hall says currently members go door to door asking for support.

The new petition if approved; would require folks who live on waterfront neighborhoods and those who have waterfront access with docks to pay more on their property taxes.

“That special benefit tax would come out of your property taxes. You will be assessed a small sum out of everyone’s property tax as well as a boat sticker for all boaters in the district and outside,” Hall said.

The additional money will help fund several projects.

“Help with the sediment load, be able to create a dredge project, and be able to treat for aquatic weeds and algae,” Hall said.

Hall says if they don’t treat it the water it won’t be open for recreational use and property values would decrease.

“It’s also about our water supply. This reservoir supplies not just Marion County but all the counties that surround Marion county,” Hall said.

“The state of Indiana cares about this place. The Department of Natural Resources cares about it. We should all care about it because it’s a large part of our lives,” State Senator Jim Merritt said.

The petition to form the Geist Conservancy District has a lot of hurdles to go through.

Hall says a final decision on the petition won’t be made for several years. Until then, he says the coalition will continue knocking on doors asking people for their support.

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