Thursday, December 27, 2012

Celebrating a New Addition to the Family

Lake Judy in Shoreview

We are proud to announce that the RWMWD family is growing!

The District has recently expanded its boundaries to include the land area of the former Grass Lake Water Management Organization (GLWMO). This action added 8 square miles to RWMWD’s existing 56 square miles of responsibility, including parts of Roseville and Shoreview, along with 7 major lakes: Snail, Grass, Wabasso, Owasso, Emily, Judy and Bennett.

Whether you're a resident in this area or not, this expansion may bring up many questions.

Why did this merger happen?  Both Shoreview and Roseville needed to change the way expensive water management projects were funded for the land area in the former GLWMO. Previously, money for planning and projects came from the general fund from each city. As bigger water issues came to the forefront, however, it was evident that there were not enough funds available to get these important projects and programs going. This presented a problem since cities have levy limits and moving forward with these clean water projects could mean other city projects wouldn’t be funded in future years. By merging with Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District (RWMWD), the funding source changed and the cities were able to tap into the already-existing programs at the District.

For an interactive map of the new boundary, click here.

Will this influence your property taxes?  If you live within the former GLWMO, which includes the northeast portion of Roseville and the southeastern portion of Shoreview, the short answer is yes.  These folks probably will notice a change in the estimated property tax statements mailed to them. The statement indicates an increase in the tax levy under the “Other Taxing District” section. This may look like a noticeable increase, but it's not just for the Watershed District.  If the statement included sub-categories, residents would see that it also includes other special tax programs including a levy to fund local housing and redevelopment authorities.

Residents were paying taxes to fund water management in past years, but it was not as noticeable because the funding fell under a general fund that residents were used to seeing on their tax statement.

What do these funds buy?  Understandably, residents may be wondering what they're getting with this 'changing of the guards.' Well, the increased tax levy buys us --RWMWD-- an organization with a proven implementation program and experienced staff to effectively and efficiently solve flooding issues, preserve and enhance wetlands, maintain or improve water quality and more. Without the merger, the GLWMO or cities would have had to develop another funding method to raise additional budget funds. Because $4 million would amount to an unreasonable amount of bake sales, cities would have had to cut important programs elsewhere just to raise the money.

We expect that adopting the former Grass Lake Watershed Management Organization’s lands and waters will be a beneficial addition to our family. We look forward to getting to know the residents in this new area, and are excited to help them maintain the beautiful waters they enjoy in their neighborhoods. Watch for new projects in this area in the near future! 

To get more details on the merger, please check out our Frequently Asked Questions page or feel free to contact us with your questions or concerns using the comment box below or calling 651-792-7950.

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