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Response to Doug Robins’ letter

Published: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 11:27 a.m. CST

By Dave Beck

Project coordinator Clarke County Reservoir Commission

I would like to correct misinformation contained in the letter from Mr. Doug Robins titled “Regarding the reservoir project” in the April 4 edition of the Sentinel-Tribune.

Mr. Robins claims the most recent reservoir project budget is relying on county supervisor approval to raise property taxes to help finance construction. He states this request was made in December 2012.

In fact, the summary of the project financial plan Mr. Robins cites states, “Board of Supervisors (BOS) issued letter to CCRC December 17, 2012, stating BOS intends to issue revenue bonds necessary to finance construction. Bonds to be paid with LOSST revenues.”

That clearly does not mention property taxes being involved. In case that isn’t clear enough, directly from the Dec. 17 letter: “At the appropriate time to finance construction, The Clarke Board of Supervisors intend to issue the necessary amount of revenue bonds, subject to receiving a pledge from the CCRC to finance the bonds with revenue from the Local Option Sales and Services Tax (LOSST) currently in place.” Emphasis is mine.

Mr. Robins also claims the project financial plan states that they may be asked for additional county funds in the future. It is unclear what part of that document he is making that claim on. It might be the explanation for the $2.5 million shown as “undecided.”

That statement is “Possible sources include corporate sponsorships, stretching installation period in order to accumulate cash from LOSST, additional bonds, private donations.”

Mr. Robins claims that recreation will not be allowed on the reservoir because of Iowa’s eminent domain law. He goes on to claim Osceola can easily get by with a smaller project if only water supply is constructed.

Here are the facts concerning those claims. CCRC legal counsel state there are no restrictions on use of water supply reservoirs for recreation in current Iowa law. I do want to make it clear that the project does not include any planned recreation facilities or costs for recreation. The CCRC removed those from the project in the summer of 2011 when potential federal funding for the project disappeared.

The reservoir size is based entirely on water supply. The amount of water planned for is based on the water needs study developed by HR Green Engineering. They follow the standards adopted by the state of Iowa.

If anyone doubts Clarke County needs a larger water supply, please consider this. At the February CCRC meeting, Dan McIntosh, general manager for the Southern Iowa Rural Water Association (SIRWA) showed SIRWA sold Clarke County customers over 24 million more gallons of water than SIRWA purchased from Osceola during 2012. Check out the meeting minutes on the archive tab at www.clarkecountyreservoir.com for more information.

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