Representative Kurt Daudt and Senator Michelle Benson were right in holding a meeting regarding bills that would authorize taxing authority for the Isanti Fire District. There is confusion and the “problem” was not clearly defined here-to-fore. The proposals would have dissolved the present fire district joint powers agreement and turned taxing authority over to a non-elected board, leaving some townships to look for service elsewhere from another district or contract for services through the new entity. Such contracting would result in less local control.
To go back to contracting would eliminate the gains that joint powers have made for residents, one of which was to protect the citizens through monitoring their tax dollars.
In the past the joint powers members have been able to address problems through discussion, negotiation, and amending the agreement. This is the proper procedure. Joint powers provides representation for decisions and transparency more than a non-elected board with taxing authority. If relief association liability is the problem, then the joint powers board should discuss it and work out a solution. There is no benefit to the present fire district to add another layer of unnecessary governance, which costs more and lessens transparency.
The present joint powers board will preserve local control and more transparency. They will approve adequate levy for fire services to protect the people they serve as well as funding for the relief association.