CRWD levy trimmed down

Published 9:09 am Thursday, August 19, 2010


The Cedar River Watershed District’s Board of Managers agreed to trim the 2011 budget levy’s maximum amount by $25,000 on Wednesday night.

Following a public hearing, board members unanimously voted 7-0 to set the CRWD’s maximum levy at $225,000 for next year instead of the proposed $250,000. Now the 2011 levy only can be decreased by the CRWD board in December when it sets the final amount.

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About 10 citizens attended the CRWD board’s monthly meeting at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center’s Ruby Rupner Auditorium.

Several citizens attending the meeting voiced displeasure to about the proposed $250,000 levy, emphasizing that many people are on fixed incomes and can’t afford high taxes.

Mike Jones, treasurer of the CRWD board, said during the meeting that he thought the board needed to make adjustments to the proposed budget because constituents were upset about it.

CRWD officials have been setting aside “seed money” for future projects that hopefully will come to fruition after the watershed’s rules are finalized possibly this fall. The rules are about 75 percent complete at this point.

The CRWD’s proposed budget includes $80,000 for personnel and $70,200 for watershed projects, including cost-share and capital-improvement projects.

Approved by the state for creation in April 2007, the CRWD covers 278,540 acres that include much of western Mower County and parts of Dodge, Steele and Freeborn counties. Its purpose is to reduce flooding as well as protect and improve water quality in its streams. Earlier this year, a national nonprofit organization ranked the Cedar River fifth on its annual top 10 list of America’s “most endangered” rivers. Flowing about 300 miles overall, the Cedar River starts in neighboring Dodge County and connects with the Iowa River in southeast Iowa before emptying into the Mississippi River.

Recently the Cedar River was selected as one of four watersheds in Minnesota to become a focus area under the federal government’s Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative.