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'Save Rice Lake Township' Voices Opposition to Annexation

Posted at: 12/10/2013 11:08 PM
Updated at: 12/11/2013 9:13 AM
By: Zach Hammer
zhammer@wdio.com



A group against the proposed annexation of a part of Rice Lake Township by Duluth packed Tuesday's town board meeting. 

Duluth has formally proposed the annexation of an area from Jean Duluth Road on the east, up to West Tischer Road on the north, Rice Lake Road on the western edge, and Martin Road as the southern border.

Duluth's Chief Administrative Officer David Montgomery said last month that this first came on their radar when the city began expanding utilities into the township. Montgomery says they began looking at utility rates and tax rates, and found that township residents pay more in taxes than Duluth residents. 

But a new group, called "Save Rice Lake Township," isn't buying it. They say they want to keep things the way they are.

"Us people in the township want to keep it rural. We like our government small, we like to be able to be able to come to our meetings and talk to our township board. We set our own tax rates." said Darrel Johnson, the group's founder. "It's just an easier way of life in the township than the big city of Duluth."

The "Save Rice Lake Township" group has a substantial following already, with scores of people voicing their opposition to annexation at the Rice Lake Town Board meeting. The group joined Facebook on Nov. 30th and already has 491 "likes" as of Tuesday night.

Going forward, the town board is awaiting an independent review of Duluth's findings on tax rates. That is expected to be completed by February.

The issue will then be put to a non-binding vote to gauge Rice Lake Township resident's opinion of the issue.