BY CATHY MALECHA
I think it is unfair for one individual to misrepresent information to the people of Pequot Lakes about a situation that happened more than 10 years ago. I would like to take this opportunity to state what actually happened with regard to the orderly annexation of Sibley Township into the city proper of Pequot Lakes.
I was the township clerk at that time in our history. Under Mayor Jack Schmidt, a portion of the township was annexed by the city in order for a developer to start Field of Dreams on County Road 17.
Another neighboring city took another parcel from the township, so the township decided it wanted to be a part of the community with whom it associated its residence. The township contacted a lawyer who was knowledgeable in this area of state of Minnesota law. The township was given information on how to proceed.
The city was approached and a committee was formed with equal members from the township and city. They met on many occasions and drew up an agreement according to state statutes. They were told that commercial areas would have to be gradually brought up to the city commercial rate.
At the time, as there was a difference in the tax rate of the city and the township, that difference would remain in place, but any tax increases would be applied equally. They were also informed that this agreement could not be reversed.
The township had an open meeting to inform its residents; I do not know how the city informed its people. A document was drawn up and presented to the township, which they signed, and then was given to the city.
If there were questions by city residents, these should have been addressed before the city signed the agreement. The township could not have gone forward with the annexation without the approval of the city.
To lay blame at this time on either party is NOT in the best interest of our community. All those involved did what they thought was best according to the information they were given.
Yes, Mr. Schmidt brought this agreement to the forefront. To lay blame on this council for not taking action is untrue. The present city council had to acquire the proper information to proceed in a proper and legal manner. Changing something of this nature cannot be done overnight; these things take time. The state of Minnesota has to be involved and proper steps have to be taken.
To publish the taxes of the present council and lay blame on them is ridiculous. These people were not even involved at the time of the annexation. The present council has proceeded in the appropriate manner to come up with a solution.
How can one person take a community, twist the truth, and split it in two instead of being patient and letting the current council do its work? Mr. Schmidt was assured that steps were being taken to resolve this issue; procedures must be followed.
Mr. Schmidt also stated in his guest editorial that I, Cathy Malecha, saved money on my taxes because of this annexation. This statement is false. I have resided within the boundaries of the original city of Pequot Lakes since mid-2002; my taxes were based upon the city rate.
Now, once again, because of Mr. Schmidt’s editorial, residents of the entire city have been misinformed — how unfortunate!
(Cathy Malecha is a Pequot Lakes resident.)