Low lake levels worry Lake Co. locals

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LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - While Lake County has gotten soaked so far this summer, many lakes across the area are still at low levels.

County leaders want to know why.

When Chris Yarbrough takes in the view along beautiful East Crooked Lake in Eustis, she can tell there's something wrong.

"We always look out at the lake to see where the water level is. And it doesn't seem to be going up at all," Yarbrough said.

That's after a summer full of downpours.

"We have some lakes that are really high as a result of all the rain we're getting. We have other lakes that traditionally respond very quickly to rainfall and they're not showing any movement," Lake County Commissioner Leslie Campione said.

Locals said since the time of the 2004 hurricanes, the level went down in East Crooked Lake and never came back.

One theory is the county's expanded storm water system. Runoff fills up retention ponds instead of the lakes. Residents who live along the lakes are complaining to elected officials.

"My property is now getting assessed lower because the water has been so low for so many years, and that, of course, affects us," Lake County Commissioner Sean Parks said.

It's another reason why property tax collections are down.

Yarbrough isn't asking for higher taxes but she would like higher lake levels.

"We've been here 20 years. We're used to it going up and down, up and down. But it has stayed down this year," Yarbrough said.