Otter Tail County Commissioners made a well-founded, proactive and beneficial decision in establishing a lake improvement district (LID) for Marion Lake. The lake association initiated and supported the formation of the LID - and a majority of residents continue to support it.
The lake association knows that only a portion of Marion Lake residents join and pay the $25 dues - so if the association tried to pay for the cost of preventing, treating and containing aquatic invasive species, it could not afford it.
The LID committee, the lake association board, and the many supporters believe it would not be fair to have only a small portion of residents pay the total cost. They have experienced that when spraying for the Forest Tent Caterpillars - many who benefited did not pay anything.
The opposition was not factual in their letter to the editor. There are more than two ways to start a LID, plus a method used if the lake lies in two or more different counties, according to Minnesota Statutes. The method preferred by the Otter Tail County Commissioners is to establish a LID by resolution, which is what the Marion LID Committee did.
The Marion Lake LID was established by a resolution of intent under Minnesota Statute 103B.515, Initiation and Establishment by County Board, not by the "103b.521,7B" noted by Mr. Snelgrove, so a petition was not required.
The survey the opposition referred to was answered by over 150 Marion Lake parcel owners. Of those, 141 were in favor of submitting a resolution to the county commissioners, four needed more information, and 13 were opposed to submitting the resolution.
LID formation information was the main presentation at the annual meeting of the lake association, LID articles were in two newsletters with phone numbers and email addresses, and a two-page letter was sent with the survey - again with full contact information.
Also, the LID is relatively easy to disband, and if a budget is not submitted to the county, no money is collected.
As the county commissioners noted, everyone had an opportunity to ask questions or request more information.
The budget for the Marion Lake Improvement District would be approved at the annual meeting by the property owners before submission to the county; also any project or expense of $5,000 or more must be voted on by the property owners.
Yes, the LID will obviously need to carry liability insurance as needed to protect itself from frivolous or other lawsuits.
No other governmental entity will offer more direct voter control - you do not vote on school or hospital budgets, nor projects or expenses over $5,000 anywhere else, but you will as a property owner within the Marion Lake LID.
The county has identified a standard format for a LID resolution; it does include all the powers and attributes of the statute on lake improvement districts. It is this statute that allows the LID to do the projects identified in goals and bylaws. Each LID has unique and different problems, which they all will identify in their individual bylaws. All work under the same statute.
The goal of the Marion Lake improvement district is to maintain, protect, and enhance water quality. All money used for this goal must be approved by the district property owner.
The opposition calls the LID a travesty, but the only travesty most people see in this process is the lack of participation by some who did not respond to the survey, or join and attend the annual lake association meeting, ask questions, or read the newsletters.
Some simply do not want to pay their fair share of anything, and they oppose everything, especially government. They have a right to be heard, but it does not mean they are correct or accurate.
The Marion Lake
Dr. George Palmer