By Kathy Kelly
A petition filed Dec. 10, 2012, by 391 eligible electors of the county has resulted in a special election to be held May 7, 2013. The issue: “Shall local-option sales and service tax be repealed in the areas of Clarke County where it is imposed?”
The one-percent tax has been collected in Osceola and Woodburn since 2008 and Murray since 2010. Repeatedly defeated, it is not collected in the rural parts of Clarke County. Voters in Osceola, Murray and Woodburn will be given the chance to repeal this tax burden.
Proceeds fund Clarke County Reservoir Commission’s ambition of a large recreation/water source lake. Expenses on the April 4, 2005, through Nov. 8, 2012, treasurer’s reports have mounted to $1,410,309.90.
CCRC’s plan condemns nine home sites and will require eminent domain force against multiple unwilling sellers. Property and sales taxpayers are exercising their right to repeal the LOST tax before CCRC convinces the county to issue revenue and general obligation bonds to pay for their lake.
CCRC has recently refused to pay $12,000 for an unbiased engineer study to determine if an expansion of the current Arbor Valley Lake, in conjunction with West Lake, would meet the need.
Would an Arbor Valley expansion be a viable alternative with probably less overall cost? It promises that no homes would be condemned and land acquisition would be from willing sellers.
Approximately one-third of Osceola’s water furnishes residential need, one-third for Hormel, and one-third is sold to SIRWA. The 2010 census reveals statewide gravitation to larger metropolitan areas. This includes six of the eight counties served by SIRWA declining in population ranging from -2.67 percent to -10.11 percent. Is water need actually shrinking?
Why is Clarke County building a lake for SIRWA anyway?