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FJBC ruling allows boards to regroup as desired

Editor,

Just an update of the latest activities within the irrigation community. Many may be concerned with the recent ruling by Judge Manley ordering the Flathead Joint Board of Control cease and desist as they did not follow state law when then reorganized in 2013. The law requires participation from irrigators themselves. Irrigators interested in forming a joint board must petition their irrigation district commissioners. When petition requirements are met the board must then hold an election to determine if the irrigators want to be part of a joint board.

This decision does not affect the water project and water delivery in any way shape or form. This only returns the board to the same organizations that existed for the 50 years before the first joint board was formed which were the Jocko District, the Mission District and the Flathead District.

The individual districts will continue to conduct the business of transferring Operation and Maintenance money to the Flathead Indian Irrigation Project. This was also spelled out in the court order by Judge Manley.

What the dissolution does do is allow the boards to regroup in their own desired way. The Flathead will meet next week on Monday, Feb. 12 in Mission to discuss issues of immediate concern.

The boards can continue to conduct business collaboratively. This does not require a joint board.

It has been too long since the Flathead District had control of its money. The joint board has lost five court cases since 2013 and have spent over $2 million plus. It is time to go in a different direction.

Jack Lake
Ronan

 

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