By Karen Mahoney
The Town of Salem approved an ordinance to create a boat-launching fee for Center and Camp Lakes. The fees collected are required by the DNR to receive a $5,000 grant to be used to develop and maintain boat launches and the surrounding property.
Kenosha resident Robert Lupia argued that a boat launch fee for Center Lake is unrealistic as the launch is in such poor condition with little room for cars and trailers to park.
“There is no accessibility for disabled persons and that is a rustic boat launch area in my opinion,” he said. “I don’t see where $5 comes into affect for Center Lake because nothing is being done there and it is getting worse. I think the Town of Salem should be able to allow a man of 72 and over the ability to launch free. I am 75 and really enjoying fishing, so why ruin it for someone like me?”
According to Supervisor Dennis Faber, the Wisconsin Waterways Commission encourages boat launch fees in order for communities to receive grand monies for lake rehabilitation. With the launch fees and the grant funds, money would be deposited in a separate account to renovate Center Lake’s boat launch.
“If we don’t charge something, they will tell us to raise the funds ourselves,” said Faber. “The number one thing they ask communities who are asking for funding to improve their boat landings is whether they charge at your boat landing. Their thinking is, ‘Why should the state give money to you if you don’t try and raise funds for rehabilitation and maintenance yourselves?”
Public Safety Officer Dave Shortess explained that the Town would spend at least half of the initial grant monies to enforce the ordinance.
“You need to spend money for signage, stickers, envelopes and the lockbox to get this going,” he said. “Just be aware, you might very well use about $2500 to get this going.”
While she agreed that the town won’t become rich from them, Tesar said is worth it to charge the fees in order to receive the grant funds to assist with future property renovations.
In order to sign the grant documents in time to receive the $5000 grant, the board voted to charge Wisconsin residents a $3 launch fee, $5 for non-residents, and a $20 annual launch fee; those 65 and older, and CCLRD members would launch free.