County approves redefining watershed boundaries

Published 10:05 am Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Mower County Board of Petitioners has approved a petition to redefine the boundaries of the Cedar River Watershed District.

The commissioners heard Steve Penkava and Bev Nordby explain the request Tuesday afternoon.

Penkava is the CRWD engineer and Nordby, district manager for the Mower County Soil and Water Conservation District, is the CRWD’s administrative assistant.

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The petition proposes to enlarge the watershed district’s boundaries, but also to remove some parcels.

The redefinition comes at a time the CRWD is about to levy taxes on impacted property owners.

The watershed was created two years ago to tackle water management and flood prevention initiatives around Austin after the Sept. 14, 2004 flooding.

The petition will be forwarded to the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) who will then set the hearing date on the petition.

Second District commissioner Tucker asked if the out-county area was being adequately notified of the proposed boundary changes and Nordby said letters have been sent to all 20 townships apprising then of the pending changes.

Nordby also advised the hearing will likely be held in the Moscow Township Hall.

The increasing popularity of electronic photos of the county’s landscape has prompted the county engineer to ask the commissions to adjust prices.

Presently, the county is charging $160 a section for the photos.

Mower County Auditor-Treasurer Doug Groh brought to the attention of the commissioners how nine of 10 taxpayers are asking for abatement of penalties in a series of duplicate agricultural homestead exemption problems with the county.

Mower County Assessor Richard Peterson joined the discussion.

After a lengthy discussion, the commissioners unanimously agreed to abate only the penalties.

No one had any cost figures about what the taxpayers will be paying or how much in penalties will be forgiven.

Tucker, Lang, Richard P. Cummings, 1st District, and Dave Tollefson, 5th District, all voted “aye,” but Dave Hillier, 5th District, abstained. Hillier said he owns property within or near the watershed’s boundaries.

Shooting Star Trail

It was announced bids will be taken Aug. 21 on the Taopi to Adams portion of the Shooting Star recreation trail.

The trail now extends from LeRoy to Taopi.