/ Articles / Lake Tomahawk ATV survey mailed

Lake Tomahawk ATV survey mailed

April 15, 2020 by Brian Jopek

A survey asking Lake Tomahawk residents whether they think the town board should approve the use of town roads for all terrain vehicle and utility vehicle use is in the mail as of Tuesday. 

“Are you in favor of opening all town roads to year round ATV/UTV traffic? Yes or No” the question on a postcard reads.

The mailing by the town of the survey this soon came as a surprise to many people, like Lake Tomahawk ATV Club president Barb Ehler. 

She said it was her understanding before the survey question, developed by the town’s planning commission at the direction of the town board, would come back to the town board at its March 10 meeting before going “out the door.”

Ehler was told by town chairman George DeMet at the Feb. 12 town board meeting – when the town board authorized the planning commission to move forward – development of the question and getting the survey out “was in the hands of the planning commission now.”

“We have authorized them to go ahead and do the survey,” he said at the conclusion of the meeting and told Ehler he assumed the planning commission would come back to the town  board with the finalized survey question and a cost estimate to mail it. 

“For our approval,” DeMet told her. “But it’s in their hands right now.”

Ehler said Tuesday her understanding was the March 10 regular meeting of the town board was when the survey question would be on the agenda. 

“That, I think, was the plan and had been said all along,” she said. “It was unbeknownst to everybody, including some of the board as well.”

Ehler said she discovered the survey was going out when she was at the Lake Tomahawk post office Tuesday morning. 

“We did have some questions,” she said. “It’s just like the last (Feb. 12) town board meeting where the public input was put before the ATV discussion. So, they don’t want any input or questions.”

Ehler said she personally doesn’t have a problem with the question’s wording but as a club, she said there were concerns about “a lack of information.”

“It’s just so generic,” she said. “We had planned on doing our own mailing for informational purposes.”

That informational mailing would be sent out the same time as the survey question.

Now, Ehler said the Lake Tomahawk ATV Club’s information will be run instead in the form of newspaper advertisements that will run over the next couple of weeks. 

“It just kind of caught me off guard,” she said of the decision to mail the survey. 

Asked Tuesday about the survey going out, DeMet said that was possible and he’d talked to planning commission chairman Steve Forrest Monday. 

“They were gonna work on it last night (Monday) but he said Wednesday,” DeMet said of the planning commission’s target to get the survey out. “They may have gotten it done early.”

He said it wasn’t really necessary for the town board to take another look at the survey question at its March 10 meeting. 

“We had already approved it at last month’s meeting,” DeMet said. “Then he (Forrest) emailed the wording of it so that was OK. It was pretty simple and straight forward.”

He said the survey question has been sent to taxpayers and registered voters in Lake Tomahawk and he has no problem with the survey being sent out.

“We did the same thing for the trail head in 2018,” DeMet said. 

The deadline for returning the postcards to the town office is April 30.

DeMet said he expects the survey results to be on the agenda for the May town board meeting. 

Brian Jopek may be reached via email at [email protected]

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