ST. CLOUD -- Stearns County continues to consider whether to allow residents of the Big Fish Lake area to form a Lake Improvement District. But, now commissioners are putting the matter back in the hands of those residents.

The board has voted to allow for residents to vote on whether they want the LID through a referendum. For that to happen, supporters of the LID must get at least 26% of the property owners to sign a petition asking for a referendum.

The issue has been divisive because, while some property owners think it's needed to guard the Richmond area lake against invasive species, others see it as another layer of government and wasted taxpayer dollars.

Supporters of the Big Fish Lake LID have until July First to secure the required signatures and put the issue to a referendum.  If the necessary number of signatures are gathered on that petition, County Auditor-Treasurer Randy Schreifels ballots will be mailed out to the affected property owners.