September 2004

The last Hamilton Reservoir Association Meeting was held on August 28, 2004 at 9 am. Present on the dais were: Lynn Arnold, President; Chris McCooe, VP of Environment; Tom Sargent, Treasurer. Below is a brief review of the information covered. Lynn announced the very sad news that Ed Hughes our Vice President of Safety had passed away after a sudden illness.

Tom Sargent reported on the Treasury and indicated that all HRA bills are paid to date.

Lynn Arnold once again made an appeal to all attending members to encourage friends and neighbors to join HRA. Membership has fallen off and consequently revenues from dues have dropped. While the dollars are so important in our continuing efforts to maintain the health and cleanliness of the lake, numbers of members give us a stronger voice. New member packets are available for distribution by contacting Chris McCooe at 413 245 3666 – and membership forms can be printed off our website, www.hamiltonreservoir.com

Lake Patrol: Maureen Reilly, a South Lake Harbor Master and police clerk, stated that Chief Gleason is looking into obtaining a jet ski for the South Lake. The two South Lake harbormasters were never sworn in. There has been a reduction in the number of calls going to the police department regarding violations on the lake because of reduced violations or frustration on the part of the residents. The police are trying to work with HRA and all residents, but must rely on resident’s calls, especially on the South Lake, to report problems. Please continue to call if you observe something dangerous.
The following were reported:
- North Lake now has new warning signs near the dam area
- The police patrol boat is located on the North Lake
- There are no dollars for a boat on the South Lake
- The town has repaired the ramp on the South Lake
Draw down: No date has been set for the Fall draw down. Notification of the draw down date will be listed on the Cable Channel (Ch 15), posted at the Holland Market and at Town Hall. There was also discussion regarding a deeper draw down for better weed control. It would be more effective if we could draw down 3-4 feet. A member said there is money available from the State for residents to have their wells dug deeper if they would experience problems due to a deeper draw down and offered to investigate further. Water coming from Mashapaug (Union, CT), where the water lowers at 3" a day, flowing into our lake and the heavy rains contributed to a slower letdown and a higher level of our draw down by the time it froze last year.

Weed Problems/Control: This summer, in addition to treating the Milfoil, Lee Lyman of Lycott did a follow-up control/treatment on the water shield with the recently approved product 2,4-D with last year’s (2003) money. He came back later in August to review the results and explained that we have several species of plants causing problems in the lake, Milfoil, Water Shield (looks like Lily Pads), Wild Celery Grass (Valisnarius), and Reed Grass (Phragmities). The Town had only agreed to treat Milfoil this year. The Town has authorized treatment of the Milfoil for the next 3 years and the current cost of that treatment is approximately $8,000 per year. The Town has agreed to spend $7,000 with HRA contributing $1,000 for the Union, CT end of the lake.

There is no money available from the Town this year. The following is an approximate breakdown of the costs for treatment of all of the plants causing problems in the lake:
Milfoil $8000
Phragmites (Reed Grass) $1200
Water Shield $6800
Vallisneria (Wild Celery) $3000

Seeding can only be effective when applied at a certain time in the growth cycle of the plant, and now is the time to seed for Wild Celery (Phragmities). The HRA voted to pay $1,200 for this treatment in 2004. Lycott will obtain the necessary permits for treatment of the other weeds for next year while the HRA is trying to work with the Town to raise the money to cover the costs of treatment. Should the full amount not be raised, HRA will pay for the additional permits.

In the meantime, HRA will continue to seek other options to raise the money. During discussion some suggestions included: appealing to Union, CT to make contributions, ask the Town to consider making membership in HRA mandatory for all residents, and continued discussions with the Town about the importance of making a greater yearly contribution to lake maintenance for the good of the Town and all residents. There is some evidence to support that the lake could be very shallow in 10-15 years (with signs of erosion showing already) we must keep up the weed treatment or it will be even worse.

A group of HRA members are on the agenda for the Selectmen’s meeting on September 15th at 7:15 pm to discuss the need for funds for a continued and comprehensive weed control program. (If you are interested in attending, please join us on Wednesday.) The solution to the weed problem in our lake is for the Town to put money in the budget every year for ALL treatment of ALL weeds. HRA members signed a petition to be presented to the Selectmen at this meeting for all HRA members who could not attend the meeting.

In the past there has been grant monies available from the State for lakes and ponds, but none was available for 2004. Lynn Arnold, who has successfully written grants in the past, will continue to monitor the State’s grant programs for 2005 and make application should monies become available for lakes and ponds.

Another very effective method of obtaining help for the lake is to write our Senator - Senator Brewer. Urge him to propose a bill to make money available for these treatments to SAVE our lakes for 2005. His email address: SBrewer@senate.state.ma.us
Other discussion included approval to renew membership in COLAP - Coalition of Lakes and Ponds and investigating our association with Quinnebaug/Shetucket corrider organization to help apply for grants.

ELECTIONS: New officers for 2005:
President - Chris McCooe
Treasurer - Tom Sargent
Secretary - Carol Denning
VP Environment - Lynn Arnold
VP - Safety - Maureen Riley
All of the outgoing officers were thanked for their continued service and efforts on behalf of HRA. Also, Rose and Jim Kenney graciously offered to take over the responsibility of providing refreshments for the meetings and Jim and Sharon McKenna were thanked for their years of dedicated service in this very important role.

HRA meetings for 2005 June 4th and August 27nd.at Holland Elementary school with Coffee at 8:30 and the business meeting from 9:0-10:30. At the June 4th meeting we will review discuss the weed control situation and money available at that time. Please join us!

The HRA is a member of COLAP and the following article came about as a result of the experience of one of the speakers at the last COLAP annual meeting and we thought it worth printing for your review.

”Maintaining Property Values for Lake Area Properties” written by: Maria Hopkins, SRA, RA
President, Maria Hopkins Associates. Holden, MA.

“I had the pleasure of speaking at the annual meeting on September 20, 2003 of the Central MA Chapter of the Massachusetts Congress of Lake and Pond Associations, otherwise known as COLAP. As a real estate appraiser with 19 years experience, I am always amazed at what I call the "Penny Wise, Dollar Foolish" mentality of most property owners. Of all the types of property that have enjoyed a healthy rate of appreciation in most areas of the state, waterfront and lake area properties have probably topped the list. And what would you guess is the wisest investment that these property owners could make in their property? Well it is not adding on an addition or putting in a new kitchen or bathroom. The best investment is to put some money into maintaining the body of water that has made their property so valuable.
Many lake areas have either mandatory or voluntary associations. One of the best purposes of these associations is to collect money from all the owners around the lake for weed control and other types of maintenance. Some of the associations have periodic meetings to educate owners about various issues especially with regards to protecting our water sources and open space. Many also put out a newsletter for those who cannot attend or just don't get the importance of what the associations are trying to do. If a lake or pond is not properly maintained, it eventually gets a reputation in the market regarding the quality and usability of the lake. Sometimes the press even publishes stories about lakes that are having issues with weeds or water quality which serves to further hurt the values around that lake. Property owners should be more than happy to contribute money toward maintaining our lake areas. In fact, I would suggest that usually the amount that each owner is being asked to contribute is not even close to what they should be willing to spend. The return on their investment is well worth it. I would even go further to suggest that it is in the interest of the whole town to maintain their water bodies since their existence increases the tax base because values and therefore assessments are higher in these areas. Often the water areas are enjoyed by all the residents in the town not just those who live in the neighborhood.
In my opinion, it is absolutely foolish to allow the value of one of your biggest assets, if not your biggest asset, to be compromised by an unwillingness to keep the water body in pristine condition. It is no different than the property owner who lets the physical condition of their house just deteriorate year after year until the negative affect on the value of it is more than the cost to restore it.
COLAP and its state chapters seem to be doing a great job in trying to educate property owners but could so that they can continue to provide a unified voice for the benefit of our lakes and ponds.”
Check out their web sites at www.colapcentral.org or www.colap.org

If you would like to advertise on the HRA Web Site or in the newsletter, please contact Chris @ 413 245 366

Holland Police - General - Tel. 413-245-0117
Emergency or to report a crime
Dial 911 or 413-245-7222

Holland Town Hall
State Representative - Reed Hillman
Room 156 - State House
Boston, MA 02133 Tel. 617-722-2256
Holland Town Barn
State Senator Stephen Brewer
Room 109 B - State House
Boston, MA 02133
Tel. 617-722-1540
Dept. of Environmental Protection
Western Region
436 Dwight Street
Springfield, MA 01103
Tel. 413-784-1100

Hotline for DEP 617-338-2255 or 1-800-462-0444 - Dep.infoline@state.ma.us


PO Box 17, Holland, MA 01521


posted: September 1, 2004