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To irrigators, water users

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Tuesday night at the County Community center in Ronan, a meeting was called by the Flathead Irrigation District with the Mission Jocko District attending and our Lake County Commissioners present. Subject in discussion was the collection of irrigation taxes levied twice a year on fee landowners. Our county commissioners gave their reason for the action they took, not to collect taxes after November 2022. I don’t think many people heard why this action was taken. 

1 - It was not the Lake County Commissioners who, in Washington, DC. at 2:30 a.m. in December 2020, attached the CSKT Compact to the Covid bill. Steve Daines was responsible for this action, and right after this Jon Tester added two amendments. This bill could have never stood on its own, and never did through its history in the Montana House and Senate. CSKT lawyers wrote both of these bills introduced by Daines and Tester. Language in this bill is why the county commissioners did what they did. Daines and Tester never once had a public meeting here in Lake, Sanders, or Missoula Counties. Things like collection of Irrigation fees should have been discussed before this outrageous bill was added as a rider to the Covid bill. Daines and Tester need to be confronted about this.

2- The threat on Flathead Irrigation not delivering irrigation water for 2023 was thrown out again, to cause alarm in the farming community. This is false, because all three irrigation districts will access you for the fall billing in December 2022. Remember you are always ahead six months in your irrigation bill. This means Flathead Irrigation will store and begin delivering water in 2023. For your knowledge, the BIA has over $10,000,000 of your money in their account, from over-charging for water since 2014, mostly from not being able to hire workers. This amounts to over $500,000 a year. If Daines and Tester want to help this problem, have them request an audit of the BIA. Mission/Jocko district tried for two years to get Daines to do this.

3- This and so much more is why all you project irrigators should object ASAP to the CSKT Compact. For more information contact

Tim Orr

St. Ignatius

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