Geist homeowners want visiting boaters to pay annual fee
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– A visit to Cocktail Cove or a high-speed splash across the glistening surface of Geist Reservoir could cost recreational boaters as much as $250 under an ambitious plan by lakeside residents to keep the water clean and navigable.
A coalition of three-dozen Geist area neighborhoods is registering to become a conservancy district, which would give it oversight of the lake’s cleanup and maintenance as well as the authority to tax and approve fees.
Preliminary plans would require an annual permit costing $250 for recreational boaters from outside Geist and $125 a year for those who live near and along the lake.
The homeowners also would increase their own property taxes, with the goal of raising $2 million per year for reservoir upkeep, said Matt Troyer, a lawyer who drafted a petition to form the Geist Conservancy District.
“Recreational boaters have never been asked to contribute to the lake they use,” Troyer said. “The residents here have been paying for it with donations — with some giving and some not.”
The property owners have collected the required petitions to submit to the Hamilton County Circuit Court as the first step in becoming district. The residents must then present a detailed plan to the state’s Natural Resources Commission for approval, Troyer said.
If given the go-head, the district would sell permits and assess taxes to pay for a variety of services, including “operation, maintenance, and improvement of any work of improvement for water based recreational purposes,” according to the Department of Natural resources website.