Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1059993

Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 25, 2014

No property taxes used for park projects

By Linda Wenger | Sep 24, 2013
County Conservation Director Steve Anderson passed out copies of the Washington County Conservation Board’s annual report for 2012-13.

After providing an update on the Richmond and Rubio sanitary sewer projects and receiving an update from the Friends of Bunker Mill, the Washington County Board of Supervisors received the Washington County Conservation Board’s annual report for fiscal year 2012-13. Conservation Director Steve Anderson presented a written report to the board during the board’s weekly meeting today.
Part of that report stated that the county conservation board’s certified property tax levy for fiscal year 2012-13 was 44 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The tax levy had decreased by 2 cents from the previous year.
Anderson said the conservation department finished two major projects without the use of property taxes. The projects were the completion of Phase 1 of the Marr Park Campground Expansion project and the Thomas Marr Lake, Kaufman Memorial and Ainsworth to Thomas Marr Lake Trails.
The report states that the campground project received a Washington County Riverboat Foundation (WCRF) grant of $79,800 — half the cost of the project. The campground increased from 27 to 42 sites.
One of the more challenging aspects of the campground project was the sewer system, which was finished for $51,638 below the estimated cost. Anderson credits dedicated staff and volunteer service for bringing the costs down.
The trails project was funded by a WCRF grant, an Iowa Department of Transportation grant, REAP (Resource Enhancement and Protection) funds, local contributions and a memorial donation. The estimated cost for the trails was $450,000. The net cost for the project came in at $375,205. The conservation board financial contribution was $13,073 from self-generated funds.
One highlight of the report included the Conservation Education Center’s annual report. From July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013, the total attendance was 7,588. The figure includes people who dropped in, people who came to participate in programs and people who attended events for which the center was rented. The total revenue for rentals was $5,320.
A second highlight was the work of naturalist Pam Holz and the conservation education programs she provides.
Anderson said that Holz goes “way, way above almost everyone” who provides programming like she does.
“We’re really blessed,” he said.
There were 318 formal programs and a formal attendance of 12,944. That is nearly 400 people more than in the previous year.
The supervisors approved the annual report.
Some representatives of the Friends of Bunker Mill Bridge attended the supervisors’ meeting. Member Tom Marsh said the group has raised the $5,000 it needed for bringing an engineer and an ironworker from Michigan to look at the bridge. The Friends group will come to the weekly meeting in two weeks.
Supervisor Jack Seward Jr. said he and volunteer Kay Ciha have been going through the invoices the county received from the Regional Utility Service Systems board and that there are no surprises so far.
In other business, the board approved a request from HACAP to apply for a WCRF grant of $40,000 to $50,000 to build a natural playground for the children who go to preschool at Orchard Hill.

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