Clarke County Reservoir Commission (CCRC) is going to be waiting longer than expected to get its day in court.
A court date in Clarke County was set March for 10 to determine if CCRC can authorize declaratory judgment in its watershed project.
“That’s obviously later than we would like, but that was what worked out with the court administrator’s schedule and the attorneys. That was the compromise, if you will,” said Dave Beck, the project’s coordinator, during a CCRC board meeting Sept. 12.
There is an ongoing CCRC watershed project that will provide a water supply for Osceola and Southern Iowa Rural Water Association (SIRWA) with an 816-acre lake in Clarke County.
The reservoir project could provide 2.2 million gallons of water per day. The total project cost for the reservoir is estimated at $37.6 million. Funding for the project includes many sources, especially funding from local option sales taxes (LOST).
Right now, CCRC is going through the process of declaratory judgment with the watershed project.
Declaratory judgment is a court review for acquiring land for a public project. It authorizes CCRC to purchase land from voluntary sellers and exercise eminent domain for involuntary sellers within the area of the watershed project.
CCRC members were hoping to have the declaratory-judgment court date scheduled in October.
However, it’s now going to be six months later than anticipated.
Beck said to expect three days in court, and a decision from the judge on declaratory judgment could come in the middle of May.
“From there, we can start moving forward, assuming we get the decision that the commission is looking for,” he said. “So, that’s where we’re at.”
With the court date scheduled in March, CCRC member and Director of SIRWA Dan McIntosh asked if there would be a lot going on with the project until then.
Beck said there is still work to do, but that doesn’t mean the commission needs to meet every month.
A decision was made for CCRC to meet every other month — for a period of time, at least.
The next CCRC board meeting is scheduled Nov. 14. The meeting after that will be held Jan. 9. However, if an issue arises within that time period, another board meeting could be scheduled.
West Lake issues
Commission members discussed the current drought in Iowa, and how it’s affecting West Lake, the current water source for Osceola and Clarke County.
CCRC member Sandy Kale reported the water level at West Lake was 18 inches below the spillway.
“Boy, when it’s down as low as it is, we just can’t get things accomplished,” said CCRC member Norm Lust. “Not that we’re not trying, it’s just the idea that Mother Nature’s got to help us. West Lake is in one of those areas, again, where it’s getting really touchy.”