Transfer of power in Lake Delhi organizations - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Transfer of power in Lake Delhi organizations

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DELAWARE COUNTY (KWWL) -

A shift in power among Lake Delhi organizations could mean increased transparency for taxpayers.

That's especially important as a recently-expanded Lake Delhi Association Board of trustees looks to secure more funding to restore the lake.

Ever since the Lake Delhi dam gave way on July 24, 2010, one question has been on many people's minds, according to newly-appointed trustee Steve Leonard.

"Is it ever going to come back? That is the buzz," Leonard said.

It's a question that prompted the formation of the Community Fund to Rebuild Lake Delhi, in which newly-appointed trustee Laurie Kramer is involved.

"We've raised $1.3 million," Kramer said. "Our goal is $3.5 [million], so we're a ways away."

That's just a portion of the estimated $12 million needed to fix the dam alone, not to mention the cost of dredging a lake bed now exposed and overgrown with weeds.

"The state giving part of the money and then the county giving part of the money, we're one big step in the right direction," Leonard said, "and then with the fundraising efforts we're doing locally."

Obtaining funding to rebuild is one of the tasks of the Lake Delhi Association Board of trustees, increased June 30 from three trustees to seven.

Delaware County supervisors appointed four more trustees on June 30, after a rigorous review of the 19 people who applied for those spots.

Supervisor Shirley Helmrichs said the increase in the number of trustees should boost transparency.

"This day and age, people are more conscious, very conscious, about where their money goes, and they deserve an explanation and they're going to get it," Helmrichs said.

The approximately 830 households that make up the Lake Delhi Combined Recreation Facility and Water Quality District pay extra taxes every year for the maintenance of the dam and lake.

"Four dollars per thousand," Helmrichs said.

The trustees used to hand off that taxing district money to the Lake Delhi Recreation Association, or LDRA, which privately owns the structure of the dam.

"The title is in their name," trustee Ed Schmidt said, "so that's another deal, that we have to transfer the title over to a public entity."

Residents re-elected Schmidt to the board Tuesday night. He has been on the board for about five years.

Now, all the taxing district money is in the hands of the trustees, not the LDRA.

"These seven people are going to be very diligent about doing their job and doing it in the right way," Helmrichs said.

Trustees say, if all the money comes in according to plan, work on rebuilding the dam could start as early as this spring.

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