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Irrigation commissioner encourages voting

Editor, Much has happened in the last year. First, the breakup of the Flathead Joint board of Control. In 2013, four commissioners with the Jocko and Mission Irrigation Districts voted to suspend joint operations between the Jocko, Mission and Flathead Districts. After the elections in May 2014, the newly elected majority board voted 9-2 to form a joint operation as the Flathead Joint Board of Control. There was nothing illegal about this.

Montana Code 85-7-1601 states the board of commissioner in one or more of the irrigation districts can vote for joint operations. In 1978, a petition was done. In 1982, a vote was conducted to form the original FJBC. This fits Montana code 85-7-1602: an election to form joint operations.

Question: was the dissolution of FJBC legal in 2013? Montana code 85 at 7187.11 states dissolution of districts will be done in the same manner as they were formed. A vote and hearing was not done. FJBC did a non-binding vote in the spring of 2014, and Irrigators voted to keep joint operations of the FJBC

Judge Manley dissolved the FJBC and directed each district to have a vote to form joint operations or the FJBC. We don’t have a problem with this and petitions are now flowing around. Camas Division has started the process to form a district. Camas has their own water shed and diversions.

One more division should request district formation: the division from Crow Creek, south to Post Creek, and the Pablo feeder to Charlo and Moiese. You have your own water shed and diversions. Your irrigation concerns and needs differ from the north Ronan area.

As done in the '70s, you need 10 percent of the Moiese and Charlo land owners to sign a petition, and the district has to bring it to a vote to the irrigators. You can vote to change districts. One more thing, get your voter designation form to your district secretary, and please vote when ballots are mailed.

Tim Orr
Mission District Commissioner

 

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