GARRISON — The Garrison, Kathio, West Mille Lacs Lake Sanitary District’s board on Thursday unanimously approved a 2013 levy of $350,000 — lower than the $500,000 levy board members had considered earlier.
The 2013 levy is an increase compared to the 2012 levy of $240,000.
John Schley of Garrison, chair of the board, said money would be transferred out of the district’s savings account to lower the amount that needed to be levied.
“But that won’t go on forever,” he noted to the crowd of about 25 people who attended at the Garrison City Office. “Looking into the future, bond payments have to be made.”
Zachary Kimble of Garrison asked board members to follow state statutes he cited which call for the establishment of a taxing sub-district of those properties that benefit from the sewer system. Kimble, who said he’ll be a candidate for an opening on the board in January, also asked them to follow their own ordinance that sewer service rates and charges be billed to users of the system.
The board took his question under advisement.
Currently, board members contend the district has authority to tax all property owners in the district. The district includes the city of Garrison, Garrison Township and Kathio Township.
Board member Herb Scattareli of Garrison Township, after the meeting, cited state statute language which gave that authority to the district. Kimble said, after the meeting, that the situation was a gray area.
Shane Chaput of Garrison Township said the failure to subdivide the benefitting properties was an oversight by the board.
“It’s going to take awhile to do,” Scattarelli said of the subdividing process. He said after the meeting that it entails trying to determine which property owners are hooked up, which ones are not and which ones might be hooked in the future. The committee he serves on that’s dealing with this issue will bring recommendations back to the full board.
Chaput said sanitary district property owners who have been taxed should have been receiving annual mailings from the district. He said that placing information on a website or in a newspaper advertisement were not sufficient notice.
Joe Radinovich, who will represent the district in the Minnesota House of Representatives starting Jan. 8, will look into the possibility of legislation to use a sales tax option to help offset the district’s levy costs. Radinovich is a newly elected DFL representative from Crosby.
In other action the district board:
Accepted the resignation of Garrison Mayor Bruce Pierson from the district board. Pierson said because of the responsibilities of his new job he can’t dedicate enough time to his post on the sewer district board.
Heard Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Investigator Gary Fagerman explain that the sheriff’s office can’t pull a liquor license from an establishment just because it is behind in taxes. Action must be taken by the city where the business is located. “We can’t pull a license without due process,” he said.
Elected officials who represent the governing bodies involved in the district will conduct a board of manager election at 7 p.m. Jan. 22 at the Garrison City Office.