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Commissioners take no action during Lakehoma Lake discussion

Canadian County Commissioners discussed a possible action in maintaining Lakehoma Lake where algae has grown significantly throughout the years at Tuesday’s meeting.
“It involves an area that lies in my district,” Commissioner David Anderson said. “These lakes are county-owned because in 1977 it went through the delinquent tax process. Over the years, the county has continued to own the properties.”
For many Mustang residents, like Anderson, the lake is sentimental.
“It’s been a little bit of a walk down memory lane for me because I grew up in this neighborhood,” Anderson said. “What happened is the developers of Lakehoma surveyed off the body of water and over time quit paying taxes on them.”
He said a Homeowner’s Association was never formed to ensure the lake was taken care of. The neighborhood was developed in the 60’s.
Don Quartermire, Anderson’s childhood friend and current resident of the Lakehoma area, said the worst time for the algae is right now.
“It is so strange that it started in the last four, five years,” Quartermire said. “When we were kids, we swam in that thing all summer long.”
There is also hydrilla coming up in the water and it will only go down whenever the colder months of the year are present, he added.
Some residents discussed how they did not want ownership of the lake after reading the Lakehoma article in the June 24 issue of the Mustang News, Quartermire noted.
“From 1960 to 1977, somebody was paying the tax,” Anderson said. “Long story short, I was asked to look into how to control the algae.”
Anderson received a quote from TurnPro Aquatics for a $800 one-time fee and $700 a month for nine months.
Anderson said Canadian County District Attorney Mike Fields warned him of going through with an action because it will set precedence for other properties that are county-owned.
Commissioner Marc Hader said in the past, whenever his family was debating on relocating, they looked at the Lakehoma area because the community has a great feel.
To him, the solution should be the local residents of the area forming an HOA to buy the lakes from the county.
“It’s tough,” Hader said. “If we take action on this, it may create a liability of, ‘We did it here, what are you going to do here?’”
Anderson said he talked to Fields about how to empower Lakehoma residents into making positive changes for the lake without the county’s help.
“I will work however I can to facilitate empowering the people who live around the pond,” Anderson said.
Commissioner Jack Stewart proposed the idea that the county could pay the one-time fee of $800 and one-month’s $700 fee.
“That might be a way to work together on this thing,” Stewart said. “We’re not taking the precedent for ever, ever and ever but at the same time, we’re looking at some action to get the thing moving.”
Hader said if the algae solution were a one-time thing, then he would personally write a check to fix it without the county’s help. He is just unsure about how long the algae problem will last.
Hader, Stewart and Anderson agreed to complete no action toward the algae control issue in Lakehoma’s lakes.
“The bottom line is the county owns the property and we never sought to own the property, but we do because of the default of tax payments,” Anderson said. “Everyone else out there doesn’t want the ownership because it is a liability.”
He said he had been counseled that algae did not represent a hazard for the people who go to enjoy Lakehoma.
“It is not typical for a county to pay for cosmetic improvements on properties owned through the delinquent tax sale process,” Anderson said. “But I am committed to working with the ownership out there.”
Anderson believes the solution could come from the local residents.
“I would expect them to be willing to pay that,” Anderson said. “It’s not a hazard, it is more of an aesthetic problem than it is a toxic problem.”

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