Mixed results in voting to set taxing districts around Minnesota lakes

A sign at the public landing on Lake Marion warns people to check for invasive species. (MPR photo/Dan Gunderson)

Minnesota Lake residents continue to challenge the establishment of Lake Improvement Districts,  with mixed results.

A LID has the authority to levy fees, or taxes based on property value.  The money can be used to improve water quality.  The spread of aquatic invasive species has prompted more lake property owners to ask for the authority to raise money with taxes or fees. But the idea of new taxes led to a fight on some lakes.

Residents around Marion Lake in Otter Tail County petitioned for a vote on a LID that was established by the county commission. In a July election the Lake Improvement District was rejected.

In Aitkin County, residents around Lake Minnewawa also petitioned the county for a vote on a LID. Earlier this month lake residents voted in favor of the taxing authority. The Aitkin County board will hold a public hearing later this fall to formally establish the Minnewawa Lake Improvement District. And this week the Otter Tail County Commission received a petition asking for a vote on a LID that commissioners approved for Star Lake.

Since state law says LID elections must be held in July or August, the Star Lake vote won’t be scheduled until next summer.

Are you a lake property owner? What do you think of the Lake Improvement District concept?