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Five Island Lake Assessment Will Be Discussed In Des Moines

By Staff | May 7, 2009

After a $92,000 assessment on Five Island Lake was dismissed by a district court late last year, The Palo Alto County Supervisors, acting as trustees for Drainage District 80, have considered their options in the matter. In an attempt to resolve a standoff in the matter, the supervisors will travel to the state capitol next week to meet with government officials.

On Tuesday, May 12, members of the Board of Supervisors, along with Palo Alto County Auditor Gary Leonard and Deputy Auditor Carmen Moser will journey to the Statehouse in Des Moines to meet with Senator Jack Kibbie, State Representatives Marcie Frevert and Dolores Mertz, as well as representatives of the Iowa Drainage District Association, officials from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Attorney General’s Office and representatives of Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge. The group will meet in Senator Kibbie’s office to try and arrive at a solution to the dilemma.

The issue arose after Five Island Lake was annexed into DD80 during a reclassification and annexation on the district back in 2005. At that time, a legal notice of the annexation was mailed to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in Des Moines. The DNR did not file any notice of objection at the annexation hearing in 2005, but filed an appeal in the Palo Alto County District Court in 2006, contending that the notification the state received was not valid for various reasons, as well as claiming the state was exempted from paying assessments due to sovereign immunity.

Following the state’s original appeal, Palo Alto County requested a summary judgment in the matter and that case was heard in August of 2008, at which time the state’s objection was upheld. The county filed an appeal in December, requesting the original objection be reversed, but on January 14 of 2009, the assessment, totaling $96,633.83, was declared void by the District Court.

The Supervisors agreed in the past few weeks that the issue needs to be discussed in a face-to-face meeting of the parties involved in the dispute. Officials of the Iowa Drainage District Association, of which the county is a member, are also interested in the matter due to the possible impact on other member counties in the state.

Current plans are for the Palo Alto Supervisors to meet in regular session at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, May 12, in the boardroom of the Palo Alto County Courthouse and then adjourn to travel to Des Moines and reconvene in public session at 3 p.m. in the statehouse. The public is invited to contact their supervisors with questions or comments on the matter.