Commentary: JD2 remains a complex issueAt the JD2 informational meeting July 13 it was obvious many people present had no idea how complex this issue is.
By: By Chub Hensley, Osakis MN, The Osakis Review
At the JD2 informational meeting July 13 it was obvious many people present had no idea how complex this issue is. Many were told this will cost you more money so show up. In the late 1990s the Joint Ditch Authority made a decision for redetermination of benefits after one farm asked for it. The viewer said that Lake Osakis area should be included, but he was told not to include Lake Osakis, even though the statute states to include all benefited acres. My question is, was this a political decision to protect the commissioners or was this to make sure the JD2 sediment pond project was not hurt in any way?
Also, at this meeting, Mr. Loften stated the Sauk River Watershed District wanted to build two more sediment ponds. The people of Osakis are now paying $38 per parcel per year, so does this mean they will have to pay $76 more per year? The ditch cost more than $1 million and the sediment pond cost more than $700,000. Where is all this money supposed to come from? The water from our property passes through Lake Osakis and out JD2, not through a sediment pond five miles north of town.
The long and short of all this is, if one farmer can trigger a $1 million expense and one man can trigger a $700,000 sediment pond and one man can get more than $12,000 for lakeshore improvement, I think I should be able to ask that we all pay our fair share for JD2. I also think this is a conflict of interest for a commissioner who is serving on the ditch authority at the present time. Decisions he would make may affect him and members of his family.
It is my understanding if approximately 315 benefited landowners petition for redetermination of benefits, then the ditch authority has no choice but to move forward. In 2003, 75 percent of the benefited landowners petitioned to abandon the ditch. On a 3 to 2 vote the ditch authority voted not to do so. At this same time the lake association, the Chamber, the resort association and the mayor and others urged the ditch authority not to abandon the ditch. If there was no benefit to the lake or the city why did they object to abandon the ditch?
I hope this information has not confused you even more. I would urge you to learn the history and the facts of this issue. The few lake association members who are hoping to stop this redetermination should be willing to pay for their share of benefits, if they are included.