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Letter to the Editor: Commissioners side with Marion Lake minority

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Sometimes in life you see things that seem unfair, unjust, unfounded and possibly illegal. The Marion lake Improvement (Taxation) District is one such case.

It was requested by a few members of the Marion Lake Association and a fringe group called the Marion Lake LID committee. According to Minnesota State rules, a LID may not be established if it duplicates duties of an existing organization like the Marion Lake Association, which it does. Yet our county commissioners voted the LID into effect.

There are two main ways to start a LID: one, by request by the majority of the property owners around the lake in the form of a petition, the other by the request of the county board.

The initial request came from the few property owners from the lake association and the LID organizers, which should mean they require a majority of signatures from property owners on a petition as stated in the statute and rules from the state. Our county commissioners accepted a lame survey from the LID organizers instead of a petition, as proof the LID was wanted by the majority of property owners on the lake, totally ignoring the state statute and rule, stating a majority petition is needed for establishing a LID. Statutes 103b.521, 7b.

We now face the challenge of collecting signatures from 25-26 percent of property owners on Marion Lake to try to bring this to a referendum vote, having only 30 days to accomplish this or the LID will be established.

For a lake that had no problems prior to the LID request, we have one now. Some of the responsibilities and troubling facts:

The lake improvement district shall assume all legal risks and liabilities, including those for damages or any injury to persons or property, arising from the construction, operation, maintenance, alteration, or abandonment of its programs, plans, or actions. The lid will need to carry costly liability insurance.

County commissioners' can delegate the LID to create a public sewer or water project, clean a channel or build a dam with total expenses being paid by the LID members. LIDs are funded by tax money collected from the residents of the LID district.

Final decisions for LID projects and costs will be made by an elected board of seven individuals; from there the project will go to the county commissioner for final approval. If you do not attend the annual meetings you will not have a say in anything that happens; the board of seven will control the lake.

Once a LID is formed it is nearly impossible to disband; only the county commissioners can make the final decision to disband the LID.

This LID was created to be proactive with aquatic species like zebra mussels, yet no one has found a way to stop or even control them by being "proactive."

In closing, I ask the property owners of Marion Lake to help stop this travesty of justice. Concerned district members will try to secure your signature in an attempt to bring this to a vote of the people, which was totally ignored by our county commissioners and the LID organizers.

Do we really need this added tax burden and liabilities for no reason?

Rick Snelgrove

New York Mills, MN

Marion LID taxpayer

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