FLATHEAD JOINT BOARD OF CONTROL PRESS RELEASE CLARIFYING INCREASES IN ADMINISTRATIVE ASSESSMENT TAXES BY MISSION AND JOCKO VALLEY IRRIGATION DISTRICT COMMISSIONERS AND LITIGATION THEY FILED AGAINST THE FJBC REFERENDUM

DATE:  October 29, 2013

             Boone Cole, the FJBC Chairman explained today two related topics of concern to the fee land irrigators it represents to try to “head off any confusion” irrigators may have regarding them.

First, Mr. Cole pointed out that it is true that four commissioners, two each in the Mission and Jocko Valley Irrigation Districts, voted on September 9 to increase Operation and Maintenance fees for the fee land irrigators in their Districts by $6.35 per acre.  “These Commissioners raised their irrigators’ Administrative Assessment taxes by over 300%,” Cole pointed out, from $2.65 per acre to $9.00.

Cole clarified that increase applies only to Mission and Jocko Valley irrigators.  The FJBC did not raise its fees and has not for years, he said.  “The FJBC lives within its means,” Cole said, also noting that the Flathead Irrigation District did not raise its Administrative Assessment taxes.

“This needs to be clarified because some Flathead Irrigation District irrigators in Sanders County mistakenly received tax statements that included this increase.  I want to make it clear we have contacted Sanders County and they are correcting that error.  Flathead Irrigators do not need to pay this increase.” 

The irrigators within the Mission and Jocko Valley Irrigation Districts do have to pay $9.00 in Administrative Assessment taxes per acre, he said.  “This is very unfortunate and I personally think it is unnecessary.  They made some excuses for it, but the fact that a week ago they had their team of four lawyers file suit against Lake County to stop the FJBC Referendum indicates to me, personally, the real reason.”

On September 5, the FJBC passed a Resolution, 2013-5, calling for a referendum if any District wanted to withdraw.  On September 10, it asked Lake County to conduct that mail in ballot election because the same four Commissioners of the Mission and Jocko Valley Irrigation Districts voted to withdraw the day before.

“Then last week these same four Commissioners voted to use irrigators’ Administrative Assessment dollars to sue Lake County to stop irrigators from voting,” he noted.

The FJBC has asked the Court to allow it to assist Lake County in defending the suit.  A hearing may be held soon on that request and the possibility of dismissing the case.  Along with the FJBC, 34 irrigators asked to join the suit.

For additional information, please see the FJBC’s website at:  http://flatheadjointboard.com/.  You can also call 745-2090.

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