Lake district ruling prompts petitionPublished 11:17am Thursday, June 27, 2013
The LID is on Star Lake, but those in opposition are ready to pry it off.
The proposed lake improvement district on Star Lake received official approval Tuesday when the county board voted in favor of the measure.
The issue is far from over, however, as those in opposition of the LID have already started gathering signatures to petition for a special election.
“I believe the LID group believes they are doing the right thing,” said Marvin Hexum, a property owner on Star Lake who has helped organize the petition. “But, generally, change requires the masses. You shouldn’t require a petition in order to keep things the same.”
If the LID stays, the district would initiate a levy to raise an initial contingency fund. As more money came in, the district would be ready in case Star Lake was infested with invasive species or for any other projects to improve lake quality.
With the board’s approval of the district, those in opposition will need 26 percent of all property owners and 25 percent of all land owners of Minnesota residence to bring the issue to a vote.
Those against the measure would prefer a referendum among Star Lake property owners. After a recommendation from the lake association, the county board held a public hearing, but those opposed thought an immediate vote would save time and taxpayer money.
“I’d tip my hat to them if they got 51 percent of the people to vote in favor,” Hexum said. “I don’t believe in their agenda, but this has to come to a fair vote.”
County officials at the public hearing said they are working with the tools they’re given, as the process is required by legislation. The county has six established LIDs, and only one has received a successful petition to end it in the past.
Historically, LIDs have been used as a response to lake quality and shoreland problems. Star Lake, along with nearby Marion Lake, are part of a recent trend toward a proactive solution that establishes funding before issues arise.
Those in opposition also point to a divide on the lake between natives of the area and those who have moved from larger cities. Hexum said that many are trying to establish regulations that those from the area know aren’t necessary.
Having a large stockpile of funds available for future problems that might not happen is a concern for many of those in opposition. Others believe things like invasive species are an inevitability, but that nature will take its course.
“There’s no end to what this LID will do,” Hexum said. “How many things do you want a pile of money to stop things in this world? I believe (invasive species are) inevitable, that it’s going to come to most lakes and that nature will take care of itself.”
Hexum would not comment on how many people they have in support of the petition, but he said the group is hopeful that they will have enough to call for a special election.