The Thurston County Board of Commissioners convened to address objections concerning the proposed rates and fees within Offut Lake Management District No. 24.
The session was a response to the public hearing held on November 1, 2022, where the outcomes were communicated to property owners along with the suggested fees for their respective plots. Governed by the Revised Code of Washington 36.61.120, the county legislative body is mandated to hold a public hearing to review objections against the stipulated rates and charges.
District 2 Commissioner Gary Edwards initiated discussions in response to Tim Wilson, the Water Resources Division Manager in Public Works, who asserted that only pre-submitted public testimony would be considered during the meeting. Wilson highlighted the reception of three comments in line with State Law. Subsequently, the comments will be examined to detect potential errors, such as discrepancies in charges among different property owners.
During the meeting’s public comment portion, many residents expressed discontent for not receiving advanced notification about the scheduled meeting, particularly residents around the lakes who believed they should have been primary recipients of such information.
Debates intensified as substantial concerns were raised regarding the imposition of an additional tax, given the consistent yearly rise in property taxes. Attendees, including Bronson Country Beach Club representatives, questioned the validity of claims, contending that attempts to clean the lake could exacerbate existing issues.
"According to the code, a lake management district can be dissolved either by the county legislative authority or through property owners' votes, or upon the filing of a petition signed by owners of at least 20% of the acreage within the district," shared Rob, a participant in the meeting.
Responding to these concerns, Edwards suggested that the situation could motivate the Lake Management District to enhance its lake management efforts. The implications could influence the tenure of district members, either securing their positions for a decade or leading to potential removal through district dissolution.
District 3 Commissioner Tye Menser stressed the impracticality of dissolving the district, proposing suspension as a more viable solution due to ongoing financial commitments represented by bonds.
Menser acknowledged the possibility of a different scenario if district actions ran counter to public welfare. However, he reassured that collaboration between the Local Management District (LMD) and the government aimed to align actions with public interests.
The committee resolved to organize another meeting, although the exact timing remains undetermined, and a request was made to involve a legal expert in the panel to offer insights from a legal perspective.
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