The Buena Vista County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 this week to appropriate $125,000 for lake restoration efforts in next year's budget.
Supervisors Lorna Burnside, Herb Crampton, Dick Vail and Jim Gustafson voted in favor of the funding. Supervisor Doug Bruns voted against it.
The Lake Preservation Association asked the county to consider providing $350,000 per year for 10 years to fund further dredging efforts and work in the Storm Lake watershed.
To fund lake efforts at $350,000 a year would have required a 48 cent levy per $1,000 of taxable valuation, said Supervisor Chair Burnside.
While the board will not provide the $350,000, it did decide to set aside $125,000 in the 2002-2003 fiscal budget in the form of a pledge. The $125,000 would come from the general fund.
Any expenditures of the $125,000 would have to be approved by the supervisors at the time it it is provided, though the possible uses are not limited, Burnside said. The funds could be used as a direct donation to the LPA or to purchase equipment or supplies. If the county provided an in-kind donation, such as equipment or labor from secondary roads, the $125,000 could be used to reimburse the secondary roads fund, which is primarily supported by rural tax dollars.
Also, if further lake restoration efforts do not materialize, the money will go back into the county general fund.
Before voting, the supervisors discussed possible ways for the county to support lake restoration efforts.
Bruns suggested using other county program budgets to fund lake efforts, from the county assistance fund to the county conservation board's land acquisition fund.
"I think that's where dollars for the lake should come from, instead of buying land," Bruns said.
Supervisors also discussed the possibility of using REAP funds to support lake restoration efforts, as well as further in-kind donations from the county.
Gustafson made the motion to set aside the $125,000. "Maybe it's too much, maybe it's not enough," he said.
"The judgment of what we do next year is a matter of what the city does, what the local efforts are and what corporations provide, and to see where we're at with water-taxing districts, " Gustafson said.
Vail said the idea of the county funding lake restoration or dredging is not popular in the entire county, but added it is important for the county's overall economy.
"Looking at the other side, this is economic development," he said. "If things aren't working, we can say hey, we won't fund it."
Also, the board of supervisors held its annual organizational session yesterday morning. Supervisor Vail was elected to serve as board chairman and Herb Crampton was elected as vice-chair.