Democracy is a governing principal of our government. People have been given a right to vote on matters of consequence. Most of us believe in this principal.
The self-appointed board members of the Marion Lake Improvement District committee (MLID), however, do not advocate democracy as a necessary part in establishing a Marion Lake improvement district, and by its actions, holds itself out as knowing what is best for the majority of Marion Lake landowners.
Nothing evidences this greater than a recent MLID mailing sent to Marion Lake landowners. The mailing instructs landowners to not sign a circulated petition that seeks a referendum vote on whether a LID should be established on Marion Lake. No reasoning is given for the "do not sign petition" instruction, other than it will delay the committee's agenda in establishing a LID.
The MLID committee has and continues to fail to understand that most of us want to understand what we are buying with our tax dollars, and want input in that process. Many landowners have come to question the individual committee members' agendas based upon the manner in which the committee has chosen to communicate and proceed with its LID proposal to the county.
For instance, the MLID committee has failed to provide any written or verbal educational opportunities to Marion Lake landowners, other than a less-than-informational survey sent out in March.
Further, rather than by proceeding before the Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners to establish a LID via a petition signed by a majority of landowners, it chose to submit a resolution to the county where no proven majority landowner consensus was required.
Also, and what is most disturbing, is the committee has attached itself to an unfounded illusion that the Marion Lake Association supports all the committee's LID endeavors in conjunction with submission of its resolution to the county. However, association minutes fail to reflect any majority consensus...to proceed with any resolution submission to the county, or for that matter to utilize the association's name in conjunction with any such submission.
Lastly, questions have been raised as to why the committee sought such a wide LID purpose (including maintenance of the public landing on the lake, dams, sewer construction, soil and land conservation duties and the like) when the committee's original focus was on invasive species research.
Members' concerns posed at association board meetings - including lack of membership education on the LID and MLID's impact on the association and its members - have been ignored by committee participants and several on the association board.
Association board members are not in sync in recognizing their responsibility to the association's membership. Additionally, lack of foresight demonstrated by certain board members regarding concerns about providing members an opportunity to vote on the LID has created great disruption on the board.
As a result of this disruption, Anna Marie Finke and Norman Pietsch, who have been board members for approximately 15 years, and Evelyn Beauchamp, a recently elected board member, have chosen to resign from the association.
We are very saddened by our decision but we cannot abide the blatant disregard of landowners'/association members' right to inquiry and education, and the refusal to provide landowners/association members an opportunity for a democratic vote on the LID subject.
In sum, the MLID committee members have decided on its own initiative what is best for all Marion Lake landowners. MLID has failed to recognize that many of us, including several members who sat on the Marion Lake Association Board, want to be educated and have a voice in what may impact our land. After all, the MLID, if entered, will be funded by Marion Lake landowners.
Former Marion Lake
Association Board members
Anne Marie Finke