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County board approves increased landowner assessment on Big Pine Lake

The Crow Wing County Board on Tuesday, Oct. 8, voted to increase the subordinate service district (SSD) assessment taken from residents living on Big Pine Lake in Crosslake from $100 to $200 a year.

The board also agreed to pursue a study by Short Elliot Hendrickson to develop options for a water control structure to replace or improve the rock dam that forms Big Pine Lake.

The SSD assessment increase came at the request of the Big Pine Lake SSD and lake association. Nancy Rudberg is president of the association.

“We’re barely treading water with our three-year assessment of $100,” Rudberg told the board.

Since its creation in 2010, all funds the SSD has raised have been paid to the county for rock dam maintenance and repair.

The dam was created in the 1970s by the request of landowners. County attorney Don Ryan said it’s the county’s responsibility to maintain the dam.

There are roughly 96 property owners on the lake, Rudberg said. The board was provided with three letters against the increase from $100 to $200 a year.

Big Pine Lake is located in Crosslake downriver from the Corps of Engineers dam. Rudberg said that without the rock dam, the lake would turn to a swamp. The lake’s depth averages seven feet.

Rudberg said it’s in the interest of the landowners and the county to find a permanent solution to the rock dam. Landowners need the lake to keep their property values up, and the property values in turn provide tax income to the county.

The planning study the board approved will seek a permanent solution to the rock dam.

The dam washed out in early spring of this year and was given a temporary fix. County highway department engineer Tim Bray said the study will be a “desktop study” that will use data from the Corps of Engineers, Department of Natural Resources and the county to come up with potential plans.

Commissioner Paul Thiede said he wasn’t happy about the situation, but didn’t feel there were any other options. The board agreed unanimously to move forward with the study, which will cost $17,000.

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