By Kathy Kelly
The supervisors’ letter in the Jan. 17, 2013, Sentinel was written in response to a resolution enacted but not unanimously supported. Voted on in December, it was a desperate move before Jack Cooley, defeated, and Don Reasoner, retiring, stepped down. Myron Manley, the third supervisor who remains in office, voted against the resolution.
The letter becomes a part of a tentative financial plan for a proposed lake. It will be presented in a lawsuit against landowners. Clarke County Reservoir Commission (CCRC) must “demonstrate there is a reasonable chance the project can be carried out financially.” Disgracefully, a financial plan as good as a crap shoot may condemn homes, take farms and bury taxpayers in debt.
The original funding request submitted to the supervisors Nov. 14, 2012, said, “The Clarke County Reservoir Commission is requesting that the ... supervisors issue up to $3 million in General Obligation (GO) bonds as an essential county purpose ... property taxes would increase about 58 cents/$1,000 of taxable valuation.”
Jeff Hiel, Northland Securities, bonding agent for the county, said the project would not qualify under a portion of the Iowa Code that CCRC wanted to use to bypass a public referendum where opposition to an oversized lake might flare up. Hiel said his company could not commit quickly to write GO bonds for the project without thorough research and paper work.
The Jan. 24, 2013, Sentinel reported Gov. Branstad has earmarked $2 million in his proposed budget, thereby giving approval to “Osceola’s reservoir.” Overlooked amidst boasting, proponents fail to mention the earmark has little chance of surviving. Demand for GO bonds will resurface. CCRC has a meaningless letter of support. When the time comes to pony up, will it be overruled by current supervisors who may actually want what’s best for the county? We can only hope.