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A letter in support of the Arbor Valley expansion

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012 11:56 a.m. CST

(Continued from Page 1)

By Kathy Kelly

Osceola

A petition with 255 names, now 323, was presented to the Clarke County Reservoir Commission at the Oct. 4 meeting. The CCRC grudgingly agreed to have D. Beck, project coordinator, look at preliminary data regarding an Arbor Valley expansion as a valuable alternative.

The petition recalled the local option sales tax (LOST) passed with city and county leaders promising, “no increase of property tax or water rates to fund a reservoir.” In regards to a potential property tax increase, Commissioner B. Trickey condescendingly said, it’s “only $58.” His remark, based on a possible 58 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuations, was not only ill informed, but wrong from the perspective of a farmer or business taxpayer.

After agreeing to look at preliminary data for Arbor Valley expansion, commissioners scheduled a Dec. 6 public hearing/meeting where they will pass the resolution to declare Squaw Creek Site 4B to be the chosen reservoir site. It is a formality required to move forward condemning multiple homes and farms. The commission’s true intent is to disregard the request of the petition signers and the many who have not had a chance to sign. It is an example of a government entity run amuck with desire and power to override the will of the people for whom they work. We pay their bills, approaching $2 million taxpayer dollars, but the CCRC does not have to answer to us. Truly, this is not our lake. It is “their lake” at our expense.

A petition presentation to Clarke County Supervisors on Oct. 8 met with utmost rudeness. A mere 45 seconds into it, and 10 feet away, Supervisor Reasoner answered his cell phone and continued talking on it for several minutes with the presenter finally stopping until he ended his conversation.

The county is asked in D. Becks financial plan to issue $13 million in revenue bonds payable with LOST proceeds. Bonds would not be written until 2014-15. There is no guarantee the currently low-interest rate will continue. If rates increase, LOST ability to pay would require less bonds being issued, making property-tax payers responsible for a general-obligation bond to complete construction began with a “conceptual” financial plan that can only be supposed in theory might work.

When questioned about funding for CCRC’s $35 million reservoir, Don Reasoner said “yes” he will vote to obligate property-tax payers, regardless of a potentially cheaper alternative rejected without proper study.

Jack Cooley refused to say what he will do, but as a “yes” man sitting on the reservoir commission, his position is established. Whatever it takes, he will do.

Myron Manley agreed those he represents can’t afford to pay higher property taxes, being already taxed at the second-highest levy rate in Iowa. Regrettably, two of three supervisors will override the will of the people.

D. Beck, B. Trickey, S. Kale, J. Cooley and D. McIntosh met with McClure Engineering Oct. 25. The engineers confirmed data that Arbor Valley expansion in Whitebreast Watershed will provide 2.2 mgd (millions of gallons per day). They expressed willingness to perform more detailed analysis documenting the 2.2 mgd output for $12,000 if given the go-ahead. Their information was seemingly met with closed ears as the minds of the CCRC and their well-paid project coordinator were collectively and decisively already set in stone. CCRC may formally reject the request to study Arbor Valley expansion and override the will of the people at their next meeting 9 a.m. Nov. 8 at CCDC, 115 E. Washington St. All are welcome.

A survey question was posted on the Osceola Sentinel-Tribune website following an Oct. 5 online article concerning the Arbor Valley expansion. Results near the end of the posting period were 95 percent of 319 survey participants favoring CCRC looking into Arbor Valley Lake as a feasible drinking-water source. One asks, “what about this survey?” Answer: The will of the people who pay the bills is of no importance to CCRC.

One option remains for us to gain control over our elected officials and the reservoir commission. Repeal the local option sales tax. A petition is required to be signed by eligible electors of the whole county in equal number to five percent of the persons in the whole county who voted at the last preceding state general election. Figured on the 2010 general election voter tally of 3780, only 189 signatures would force the supervisors to put the motion on a ballot.

Government that refuses to answer to the people must be stopped. If we take money away, they will begin to listen.

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