Letter: Writer's letters on HLWD meeting spark responseI am writing this letter in response to those submitted by Mr. Allen Jensen of Heron Lake regarding the Heron Lake Watershed District (HLWD) and his comments following the public hearing Oct. 13.
By: Stanley Leckband, Brewster, Worthington Daily Globe
I am writing this letter in response to those submitted by Mr. Allen Jensen of Heron Lake regarding the Heron Lake Watershed District (HLWD) and his comments following the public hearing Oct, 13. His letters appeared in the Daily Globe on Oct. 19 and Nov. 9. The first concluded with the statement: “Enough said”! I thought that might be his only letter, but the second one was enough for me to decide it was time for me to speak my mind, too.
It is true many people showed up at the public hearing, and most of those commenting expressed concern and criticism towards the HLWD and its proposed new funding mechanism. How.many of them would not have shown up had the Jackson County commissioner not written a letter to the editors of the local newspapers?
The Jackson County commissioner you refer to does not live within the Heron Lake Watershed, but he does represent many taxpaying landowners within this watershed. Did it occur to you that, while he was speaking for himself, he also forwarded comments raised by his constituents who do pay taxes within the watershed?
The person you refer to who lives north of town and spoke at the hearing is entitled to his opinion and was given his opportunity to comment. When did this country revoke our freedom of speech or allow the silencing of those whose opinions may be contrary to a particular group or interest?
You raised concern about a particular HLWD board member who offered comments that appeared contrary to the wishes of the HLWD, obtained funding for a grant funded project on his property but failed to mention this at the meeting. Isn’t any landowner within the watershed eligible for incentive programs as long as they meet the requirements? Have other managers obtained funding for projects or practices? Since these involve the use of public funds, isn’t this considered public information available to anyone who requests it?
Your most recent letter cites the reappointment of the current chairman of the HLWD, and you imply the county commissioners feel he is doing a good job as they have repeatedly reappointed him. Does the public realize he was reappointed most recently in January 2009 on a 3-2 split vote?
Lastly, at the public hearing, the administrator of-the HLWD clearly stated that there will not be any property tax increases for 2012, nor had there been any increases for the past four years. Does the public realize this is an accurate statement only to a point? The HLWD has levied the maximum currently allowable by state statute ($250,000), and 10 years ago the limit was just $125,000.
Mr. Jensen, you seem to have forgotten to mention that the administrator, Jan Voit, is your daughter, and that you also sit on the advisory board of HLWD.