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Tentative agreement reached between MRID and Horseshoe Bend

Thursday, July 14, 2005

(Photo)
meeting of the minds: Horseshoe Bend City Councilmen, Mayor Bob Spear and members of the MRID commission listen as Alderman Erv Metzinger voices his concerns during a July 11 meeting at City Hall.
The conflict between the Horseshoe Bend City Council and the city's MRID over who should patrol the city's lakes may be coming to an end.

The MRID and city council reached an tentative agreement July 11 to form a volunteer lake patrol on a trial basis.

A committee comprised of Mayor Bob Spear, MRID Commissioner Lee Mears and Horseshoe Bend Police Chief Fred Mitchell will oversee the formation of the volunteer lake patrol.

Al Comen, a Horseshoe Bend resident who has tried to form a lake patrol in the past, may also be added to the committee.

The agreement was reached at City Hall during a special meeting between the MRID, city council and Mayor Bob Spear.

"We need to have a better relationship with the city and they need to have a better relationship with us," said Mears. "Together we should be able to work out our differences."

Before the compromise was reached a lengthy argument took place between the MRID commissioners and the city council.

The city council and MRID have been at odds over the last several months over the MRID's refusal to pay for a law officer to patrol Horseshoe Bend's lakes.

According to an agreement that had been in place since 1997, the city provided a patrol boat, insurance, boat slip and maintenance and the MRID paid the officer's wages and gas for the boat.

"We can't do it anymore," Mears said. "We just can't afford it."

Alderman Erv Metzinger said the MRID could pay for the officer.

"You spend 1.5 percent of your income on the lakes, and the people who live on the lakes are entitled to as much protection as anyone else," an angry Metzinger said. "You mean to tell me you couldn't come up to us and give us $1,200 so we can patrol the lake?"

Recorder/treasurer Sally Pohl said the MRID paid approximately $1,400 last year for the lake patrol.

Metzinger said MRID should set aside a portion of the assessment taxes collected from the recent sale of property lots in Horseshoe Bend by the American Land Company to pay for an officer.

MRID Commissioner Barry Davenport said they were saving the money to fix the city pool in the fall.

"Why are you saving money when you have a need right now?" Metzinger said. "You have a responsibility. It's your lake and we would work with you."

Davenport suggested another solution to solve the problem.

"Cherokee Village has a volunteer lake patrol that patrols their lakes," Davenport said. "They call the police three, maybe four, times a year. I know there are people who live on the lake here who would be willing to do this for free."

Volunteers for the patrol will be screened by the volunteer lake patrol committee and will have to take a safety class instructed by Mitchell.

Mears said the purpose of the meeting, besides resolving the lake patrol problem, was to create a better relationship between the MRID and city council.

Besides the lake patrol, the the governmental entities have fought over budgets, assessments and shared responsibilities in the community.

Spear said the meeting may be the first step towards a better relationship between the MRID and city council, to which Mears agreed.

"We would like the city council to express to us their problems and what we could do to facilitate a better relationship between us," Mears said.

Citizens in the crowd who expected a bitter fight were stunned by the cooperation between the two sides.

"I'm so pleased that you guys got together," one man said. "This is going to generate a lot of enthusiasm in the community."

Spear also agreed to allow shooting animals such as skunks and possums on the golf course at night.

"It's becoming a huge problem and they are tearing up our golf courses," Mears said.

Mitchell and Spear will have to approve of the person or persons selected by the MRID to shoot the animals.



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