Dear fellow irrigators:
I hope you had a successful season! As you know, the FJBC has worked diligently this summer to determine what concerns the majority of you may have with the Flathead Compact and, specifically, the Project Water Use Agreement (WUA) that directly impacts irrigation. We distilled more than a dozen meetings of public comments into three issues–ownership, verification, and water rights administration. Under the documents link on our website, you can find the letters we recently sent to Chairman Durglo and Governor Bullock regarding this, respectfully requesting additional discussions on these concerns.
The FJBC also voted to conduct a mail-ballot Referendum on the issue, essentially, of whether you support the way it has conducted this process or not. It did so because the majority believes it represents you, and it believes in democracy. We have done our best for you, but if the majority of fee-land irrigators does not agree with our approach on these important issues, we want to know.
Information about the Referendum process can be found under the Upcoming Referendum link (on the Flathead Joint Board website).
For now, I want to let you know the facts about where the Referendum process stands, because you have probably heard that some people have attempted to prevent you from voting on that issue. That is true.
The four Commissioners who constitute a majority of the Mission and Jocko Valley Districts paid their lawyers to challenge the FJBC’s authority to conduct that referendum. They sent a letter to the Lake County Elections’ Administrator demanding she cease the process.
Our legal counsel responded.
As noted, it is unfortunate and puzzling why these Commissioners do not want you to vote on such an important issue as whether to withdraw or not from the FJBC. Be that as it may, the Lake County Attorney, on behalf of Lake County, rejected their challenge. See the letters here.
This process will proceed. They threatened legal action, but we hope they will reconsider and refrain from spending any additional irrigator money on efforts to suppress the democratic process.
Click here to see the letters sent to the Lake County Treasurers office from the Jocko and Mission districts increasing the administration assessments to $9.00 per acre.