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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

People Power on Lake Herman: Annexation Dies

I just got home from our Lake Herman Sanitary District meeting tonight. For the first time in recent history, we had a crowd in attendance. A standing-room-only crowd. And a remarkably unanimous crowd: these property owners thought our distict's proposed expansion was about as good an idea as sleeping with the windows open tonight. Folks saw the annexation at best as a poorly planned map, at worst as a bald-faced tax grab by the district. After some spirited discussion with lots of public input, the LHSD board formally voted to retain the current boundaries of the district. In other words, annexation is dead.

One citizen asked at what point the process would come to a public vote if we would have pursued annexation. Our legal counsel Jerry Lammers informed us that sanitary district actions cannot be referred to a public vote. Residents can petition to appeal sanitary district board decisions on annexation or exclusion of territory to circuit court, but if the judge upholds the board's decision, the petitioners pay the legal costs (at least that's how I read SDCL 34A-5-44). So aside from voting for the trustees, the citizens of a sanitary district -- as well as anyone around the district the board might feel like annexing -- have no right to vote on district affairs. Yuck!

Fortunately, that's not what happened tonight. The LHSD board presented a proposal for annexation. A lot of people spoke up and said, "Bad idea." The board listened. And that's the way it should be.

Update 2008.01.31: Coverage at KJAM; MDL to follow this evening....

1 comment:

  1. As an outsider, not living near Lake Herman, I think the District had the correct idea of enlarging and annexation the District. Recent reports of elevated e-coli levels in Lake Herman would indicate that doing things the way they've always been done will create the same result which is poor water quality and dangerous recreation conditions.

    At least an expanded sanitary district provides relief for one of the sources of bacteria. Ag runoff and tributary runoff are the other two issues at Lake Herman.


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