After delaying a decision for several months, the Louisa County Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday to join the Lower Cedar River Watershed Authority, despite some misgivings over the authority’s membership.
Josh Spies, a Nature Conservancy representative who met with the board on May 23, had explained at that meeting the authority would be able to assess and reduce flood risk, improve water quality, monitor federal flood risk planning and activities, educate residents and allocate funds made available to the authority for water quality and flood mitigation.
The authority would not be authorized to assess taxes or establish any regulations, Spies said, explaining it would be able to apply for grants to implement water quality, flood reduction and other programs.
At the May meeting the supervisors expressed concerns the proposed authority only included Fredonia and Louisa County, and excluded Columbus Junction, Wapello and Oakville. They said those communities would be impacted by any water flowing down the Cedar River and should be included.
Spies said the authority was established by the Iowa Legislature. He said a future Iowa River Watershed Authority would likely include those communities and might be established in the future.
During Tuesday's meeting, Board members again expressed concerns about membership, but also said they were concerned about the authority’s cost.
“If it’s not a lot of money I can see us having a seat at the table,” Supervisor Randy Griffin said.
Board Chair Chris Ball quickly reviewed the proposal and said he did not see any provision for dues or other assessments.
“I think we need to be involved, as long as it doesn’t cost us anything,” he said.
“Let’s get in it so we can be involved,” Supervisor Brad Quigley said, adding he was still concerned the other communities below the Cedar River would be left out.
“We get all their mistakes,” he pointed out, shortly before the board voted to join.
In other action, the board accepted a $33,305 bid from Window World of Davenport to install 29 new windows in the first floor of the courthouse. The supervisors had sought bids for several months to replace the existing units, which are drafty and do not match the historical building’s original windows.
Officials said there were no other bidders, despite efforts to generate contractor interest.
The work is expected to begin this year.
The supervisors also accepted a proposal submitted by French-Reneker Associates, Fairfield, to monitor and inspect the installation of a four-inch Alliant gas line between Conesville and Columbus Junction.
Although counties are responsible for the inspection and monitoring duties related to gas line installations, the utility company must reimburse the county for those expenses.
The board also approved new homestead and military tax credit applications.
In final action, the board met with Treasurer Vicki Frank over a request by the U.S. Small Business Administration to abate property taxes on 602 Aspen Drive, Wapello, which the SBA has acquired.
The supervisors suggested Frank contact County Attorney Adam Parsons to determine if the SBA should pay pro-rated taxes from the date the property sold or from the deed date.