Lake Sutherland landowners OK weed control district

Peninsula Daily News

LAKE SUTHERLAND — Landowners have approved a 10-year extension of a management district to eradicate Eurasian milfoil.

Votes on continuing eradication of the invasive underwater plant from the 300-acre lake through Lake Sutherland Management District 2 were counted Tuesday.

Approving the district were 10,159 votes, or 88.19 percent, while 1,360 votes, or 11.81 percent, voted against it.

Property owners who have direct access to Lake Sutherland will be taxed $50 per parcel to fund milfoil control efforts for another decade. Assessment will begin Jan. 1.

Who received ballots

Ballots were sent to each landowner holding an interest in parcels within the proposed boundaries of the district.

By statute, one vote is allowed for each dollar of assessment proposed. Owners with fractionalized interests in parcels cast votes in proportion to their interest.

Of 396 ballots mailed, 240 were received. Out of a possible 18,809 votes, 11,519 were received for a voter turnout of 61.24 percent.

Original ballots were mailed July 11, with a due date of Monday.

A mistake on an Excel spreadsheet caused different ZIP codes and street numbers to randomly appear on some return envelopes, said Clallam County Noxious Weed Coordinator Cathy Lucero, who took responsibility for the error.

When the mistake was discovered July 14, a second set of ballot packets was mailed to those who had not dropped off a ballot at the courthouse, along with an explanation of the error, Lucero said.

Lucero said then that those who returned a duplicate ballot would be counted only once, as all ballots are checked against a master sheet.

Ballots were tallied by Trish Holden, clerk of the Clallam County Board of Commissioners, and Lucero and Stan Creasey of the Auditor’s Office read the votes and verified the count.

An ordinance renewing the district will be presented to county commissioners for adoption in the next few weeks.

Lucero has said that past efforts to remove the plant from the lake west of Port Angeles have been successful, but more control is needed to prevent the aggressive species from reinfesting the lake.

Last modified: August 14. 2014 5:37PM
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