Delaware County supervisors to move on bond for Lake Delhi - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Delaware County supervisors to move forward on bond for Lake Delhi



The fate of the Lake Delhi Dam could be decided Monday evening.
The Delaware County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing to get input on whether to authorize a property tax-funded loan of up to $3 million.
The cost of the entire rebuilding project is estimated at $12 million.

The supervisors unanimously passed a resolution in support of the county bond March 5, and set a public hearing on the matter for 1:15 p.m. Monday, at which time the supervisors are expected to formally authorize the indebtedness.


Flooding from heavy rain broke the dam in July 2010, sending the water and contents of Lake Delhi crashing down the Maquoketa River.

Shirley Helmrichs and her fellow Delaware County supervisors say they've done their research and listened to feedback about rebuilding the Lake Delhi dam.

"I think we're in a good place to move forward," board chairperson Helmrichs said Sunday.

At the March 5 meeting, Helmrichs said, the supervisors will likely move forward with issuing an essential county purpose bond, which some have referred to as an emergency bond, up to $3 million for the rebuilding of the Lake Delhi dam, which would cost Delaware County taxpayers money.

"Take your net valuation, divide by 1,000, times .14, and that would be your cost for a $1 million bond-- times two, times three for a two million or a three million," Helmrichs explained.

However, the supervisors will announce Monday whether they'll simply issue the bond or put the measure to a countywide referendum, which would require a 60 percent super majority to pass.

"There are safety issues being looked at and the long-term ramifications," Helmrichs said. "It's not that they're just going to be paying some extra tax to cover somebody's recreation. It will be long-term sound business practices in this county, economic development, jobs and hopefully some additional public access for that recreation."

Laurie Kramer is one of seven trustees of the Combined Lake Delhi Recreational Facility and Water Quality District.

"If we can secure the county funding, that's going to totally help us with the state as well," Kramer said.

Property owners within that taxing district of approximately 830 homes have been working to secure funding for the estimated $11.9 million dam rebuild, plus money for other lake restoration projects.

"The main goal is to get the dam built, and then the public access, the dredging, we'll be dealing with that once we know that the structure is starting to go up," Kramer said.

Helmrichs said she thinks restoring the lake would profit the entire county, even from the start of the rebuild process.

"There have been a number of people that are looking at adding on decks. There's going to be a lot of rebuilding of docks. There'll be a flurry in construction, which is going to help everybody in this area," Helmrichs said.

Property owners in the lake taxing district have already secured nearly $8 million for the lake restoration, not including county dollars. That comes from the $1.7 million in private donations, raised by the Community Fund to Rebuild Lake Delhi, and the taxing district property owners' vote to bond up to nearly $6.1 million dollars.

Proposed state legislation could bring in another $5 million over the course of two fiscal years ($2.5 million per year).

Several groups have raised concerns about the environmental impact of rebuilding the dam, ranging from fish populations to containing the watershed.

Kramer said trustees are working with the DNR and the final dam design is not yet finished.

During the first week of March, hundreds of people turned out for a public forum with speakers at the event supporting the bond. Helmrichs said about 600 people showed up, approximately 60 people spoke and, of those 60, only about two spoke against the bond issue.

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