County looks to give $560,000 toward lake project

Board of Supervisors
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     With a major project in the works concerning the future of Central Park Lake, Conservation Director Brad Mormann was at the Feb. 7 Board of Supervisors meeting to discuss the funding of roughly $569,000 toward the project. (The Conservation Board and Department are contributing $20,000 toward the total of $589,000.)

     Mormann prefaced this request by telling the board it would be a one-time consideration.

     While there are several funds from which Conservation could pull money for the lake project, Mormann told the board he did not want to drain the funds, no pun intended.

     The board approved appropriating a not-to-exceed amount of $500,000, plus $60,000 that has been built up in the county’s general basic fund, toward the lake project. (Subject to budget approval.) They directed Mormann to pull the remaining $9,000 (or any excess) from the county’s REAP fund, which contains roughly $90,000.

     Mormann said he wanted to keep the REAP fund going because it helps with matching project funds down the road with Mon Maq Dam and other conservation projects.

     Mormann said while he has figures from the DNR in terms of what the lake project will cost, he feel the estimates are not high enough.

     “We also use REAP to fill in funds for projects,” he said, should project costs come in higher than expected. “I’d like to have the REAP fund there when it’s needed; it gives us flexibility knowing it’s there. I’d prefer not to drain REAP because that leaves us with no flexibility.” He added that it takes several years to get the REAP fund built back up to a comfortable level.

     Supervisor Wayne Manternach urged Mormann to use those funds if he can for projects like the lake restoration.

     “We have to take care of the jewel of the county,” he said.

     Mormann said project matches typically sit at or around 20-25 percent. A million dollar project would mean a $250,000 match from Conservation.

     “There is only so much we can take away and stay viable,” Mormann said of the funds.

     Supervisor Oswald commended Conservation on the lake project, saying that people from outside of Jones County come here to visit and spend money locally.

     The board wanted to finalize a county contribution with Mormann for budgetary purposes. However, Mormann said the final figures are still up in the air.

     “I still think some money needs to come out of REAP no matter what,” said Manternach. “Hopefully this gets the project funded; it’s a great project.”

     The supervisors also asked Mormann to bring the final project costs back to the board before going out to bid. Mormann is anticipating an April 20 letting, consistent with the state bidding process.


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