Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Carroll County Supervisors unanimously rejected on Monday an agreement to join the Raccoon River Watershed Management Group.

The agreement was to form a group that would “facilitate regional collaboration, identify strategies and goals, educate the public and leverage resources for improved soil protection, flood mitigation and water quality,” within the Middle-South Raccoon River Watershed.

The supervisors agreed the watershed program was a good idea but said they aren’t comfortable signing the agreement because of odd wording they feared would give the organization some of the county’s authority, allow private citizens to be voting members of the group and make it too easy for a member to be expelled from the group.

Supervisors chairman Mark Beardmore said he had a lot of people telling him to reject the proposal, however, a conversation with Tom Simons, of the Carroll Soil and Water Conservation District, was more positive.

Beardmore said Simons thought grant money that could come through the watershed could give the county a leg up.

Supervisor Dan Nieland said he attended the kickoff to the Black Hawk Lake Water Quality Project on Saturday and that more than 100 people attended, which means Carroll County residents are interested in pursuing watershed projects.

However, Nieland said, he doesn’t like the regulatory approach the Raccoon River Watershed is taking.

The Black Hawk Lake watershed is going with a monetary approach, and Nieland said it is having success with that.

He said the Black Hawk plan is a 30-year plan and that some of the programs have already been funded up through years four and five.

Supervisor Neil Bock said the decision came down to the supervisors either to table the Raccoon River agreement or reject it completely.

“I prefer to reject it,” Bock said. “We’re not rejecting this organization, we’re just rejecting this agreement. To get my approval they’re going to have to come up with a better agreement.”

Supervisor Gene Meiners agreed with Bock to reject the agreement because of the way it was written.

“I think we’re all in favor of clean water and want to participate, but I don’t like the way it’s written up,” Meiners said.

Nieland voted to reject the agreement but said he was still concerned about losing grant opportunities.

Carolyn Siemann, a Carroll City Council member who was in attendance at the meeting, said she didn’t believe the contract was good for the county or the city.

“The one we are being asked to sign onto is way more restrictive than the others,” Siemann said. “It makes it look like we’re comparing apples to oranges.”

In other supervisors news, the board voted to sign a tabulation system contract with Unisyn Voting Solutions Precinct Based System. The county last week approved a $118,850 contract to provide equipment, hardware, software, training and services to the Carroll County Auditor’s Office.

The Carroll County Conference board met briefly to approve closing the Special Appraisers Fund. The state voted to close the fund because some counties couldn’t generate enough money with the 27-cent levy in the assessment fund.