Marion Lake LID voted down [UPDATED]Published 11:15am Friday, July 26, 2013 Updated 11:15am Friday, July 26, 2013
Residents and property owners on Marion Lake, located near Perham, voted down a measure for the establishment of a lake improvement district last Saturday.
Voter turnout include 287 people for the referendum, with 176 voting against the measure and 111 in favor.
Only one other lake improvement district in the state, approved by Douglas County in 2003, has been voted down after county approval, according to a report by Minnesota Public Radio.
After a long and often heated debate over the issue, supporters on both sides still expressed concern following the results.
“Of course, we’re disappointed with the outcome,” said Ellen Palmer, a supporter of the LID who helped organize for its establishment. “And there’s a lot of concern that if something goes wrong with the lake, if there is an invasive species or weed of any type, there won’t be any way to address it.”
The county has six established LIDs that serve as local units of government typically used to raise funds to protect water quality and combat the spread of invasive species. Supporters of the LID wanted to take a proactive approach against those problems in order to be prepared if the lake was ever affected.
Now that the LID has been voted down, supporters are concerned that problems will be more expensive to fix if invasive species are ever discovered in the lake. That could mean serious damage to lake’s water quality.
If the measure would have passed, the Marion Lake LID would have been the first in the state established without any reported invasion or other problem in the lake. Supporters for a similar proactive LID on nearby Star Lake were recently granted approval by the county board of commissioners, but those opposed immediately began collecting signatures to petition the decision as well.
Rick Snelgrove, who helped lead the organization against the LID on Marion Lake and will continue to help those opposed to the district on Star Lake, said he is still concerned with the necessity of such proactive LIDs.
“I’m not entirely sure whether I’m happy that it’s over or still upset that we even had to go through with it,” Snelgrove said. “But I’m very pleased that we got people educated and they had the common sense to look at it in depth and vote on it.”
Snelgrove found it unnecessary to have money set aside for non existing problems, especially from any additional taxes on already expensive lake lot properties. Others believe that invasive species are an inevitability no matter how prepared lake property owners are financially.
Both sides shared some concern over voter turnout, however. The 287 who cast ballots on Saturday represent just over half of property owners on the lake who were eligible to vote in the referendum.