Steve Johnson, Letter of the Week, Mille Lacs Messenger, finds cost of the Mille Lacs Reservation Boundary lawsuit to be relatively modest. He hopes ML County Commissioners will move forward through an APPEALS process.

PERM’s concern is that an expanded reservation puts a lot more natural resources–including hunting and fishing–under tribal management control.

Read more below

Mille Lacs Messenger
Letter of the week 12-21-22

Who’s suing who?

To the Editor:

The answer to this simple question seems elusive when conversation of the lawsuit Between Mille Lacs County and the Mille Lacs Band takes place.

One side (MLC Mille Lacs County) often neglects to mention it and the other side (Mille Lacs Band) probably appreciates that.

The Mille Lacs Band is suing Mille Lacs County, and as of this letter MLC has been vigorously defending itself from mentioned lawsuit. There are many of us who simply want answers about the reservation boundaries existence and the repercussions of losing the lawsuit and will back MLC through the process.

I often hear about the amount of money MLC is spending on the lawsuit (defending itself) and they should just stop it because their taxes keep going up every year. The lawsuit is not the only reason and actually a very small amount of your tax bill. Most property values in the county have increased significantly and our state government continues to mandate programs that MLC and other counties must fund.

Let me lay out a few money facts and observations:

MLC has had an overall average budget of around 40 million for the last six years. $240,000,000. Two hundred forty million.

MLC started lawsuit expenses in 2017 (defending itself).

Total dollars spent on lawsuit is approximately $8.7 million. Eight Million seven hundred thousand.

MLC has put an average of 3.6% of the budget towards the lawsuit. Three-point-six percent.

MLC spends on average 50% of its annual budget on PUBLIC SAFETY, this includes the sheriff, courts and jail.

I’m comfortable with the monies spent moving forward through an APPEALS process and I hope that’s the decision our commissioners make to move forward. Fight the lawsuit to the bitter end and hopefully we will all get the answers we seek.

Steve Johnson

Eastside Township Chair

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