County delays donation decisionSupervisors to visit Lake Darling before deciding on cabin support
The Friends of Lake Darling may need to work a little harder if the group hopes to receive a donation from Washington County for the four-season cabins project planned for Lake Darling State Park.
Discussion of the project opened Tuesday morning’s weekly meeting of the Washington County Board of Supervisors. Chairman Steve Davis said that the board has received a few phone calls and e-mails from people who are opposed to appropriating tax dollars for the project.
Fay Vittetoe of the Friends of Lake Darling spoke with the board about the donation on April 15. The Friends asked for a donation of $15,000 to $20,000 from the county. Three of a possible six cabins are funded. The Friends are trying to raise an additional $256,000 to build cabins four, five and six.
Supervisor Jack Seward Jr. said that the board has received supportive comments from the Friends group. However, he said that some of the people he has talked to don’t think the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has used its funding appropriately and that the condition of the lake went downhill under the DNR. Seward said he is in the position of being willing to listen to more opinions from county residents.
Supervisor Stan Stoops suggested putting the donation on the “back burner.” He said the board has most of the month of May to make a decision. He also recommended that the supervisors visit the state park before making a decision.
Supervisor Richard Young said that the road into the state park is closed.
Vittetoe said that people can get into the park with the park superintendent’s permission, and that she would be happy to help. She also supplied the board with documents indicating the amount of money individuals have donated and other supporting information.
Seward asked that the documents be placed with other paperwork from the day’s board meeting. He also said that it is important for individuals acting on their own to contact the board.
The board of supervisors phone number is 319-653-7711. E-mail may be sent to <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
In other business, county attorney Larry Brock prepared five documents the board will need to continue assisting property owners in Richmond and Rubio with installing septic systems. Three of the documents address property owners who will voluntarily go through the process of having the county pay for the installation of septic systems, and having the expense attached to their property.
Brock also outlined the paperwork needed to address the noncompliant property owners, through nuisance abatement procedures, and the costs associated with the nuisance abatement.
Seward asked Brock how soon the work could begin for the voluntary action.
Brock said that that could happen as soon as next week, after the property owners sign agreements with the county, and after the board approves the agreements during next week’s board meeting.
Seward asked Brock if the county could declare a dwelling uninhabitable, to which Brock said the county does not have the authority to do so.
Seward also said that Habitat for Humanity, in general, agreed to take donations from individuals wishing to help the property owners who do not have the ability to pay for the septic systems. The donated funds would be released to the contractors when appropriate.
Seward and Davis said that they met with the DNR last week, and the DNR is surprised with the progress made by the residents of Richmond and Rubio and the county.
Seward said he is very grateful to the people in Rubio and Richmond who supported the county’s efforts to comply with the DNR regulations.
At the end of the meeting, Riverside Casino and Golf Course manager Dan Franz thanked the county for its resolution to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission concerning the proposed Cedar Rapids casino. He said that the public comments sent to the commission made a big difference.