Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 24, 2014

Supervisors review Cedar Creek project

By NICOLE HESTER-WILLIAMS | Sep 02, 2014

Detra Dettmann, executive director of Pathfinders Resource and Conservation and Development, told Jefferson County Supervisors today that taxpayer dollars wouldn’t fund the Cedar Creek Partnership Project.

“It’s not going to be funded by the county or taxpayer dollars — it’s producer money,” Dettmann said. “When you’ve got some skin in the game, you have to take care of it better.”

The project, which is a partnership between the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Local Soil and Water Conservation District, works with landowners to implement practices that reduce sediment delivery and loss of nitrogen and phopherous from agricultural fields.

As those macronutrients are used in crops, issues can arise once those elements run off fields into watersheds.

Dettmann said that, so far, the state funded 13 priority watersheds.

“We’re creating a project that works with priority watersheds,” Dettmann said. “Skunk River was a priority river named by the state, and the Cedar Creek Partnership is working within the Skunk River watershed.”

According to the Clean Water Iowa website, the Water Quality Initiative was established in 2013 to begin implementation of the science and technology based measures detailed in the Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Wapello County is the lead SWCD and is working jointly with Jefferson County on the project.

“Detra has been doing this for nine years; she’s a pro at it,” Supervisor Dick Reed said. “We really appreciate what you do.”

It will take $837,650 to complete the project. It has received $288,000 in grants. However, landowners will add another $309,400 while other shared cost programs foot the remaining $240,250.

“It doesn’t require county money, “Reed said. “It’s providing economic development, saving some soil.”

In other news, Supervisor Lee Dimmit nominated Brian Messer, who works closely with County Engineer Scott Cline, to accept the role as plan administrator for the county— specifically, those employees who contribute to ING Financial Services.

Dimmitt said that Messer currently administrates the program for the road crew and was interested in accepting the position. However, Reed mentioned County Auditor Scott Reneker who has also been involved, but may not be interested in taking on the position.

“I don’t know how many folks are contributing to ING,” Dimmitt said. “But we have two administrators and it just needs to be one. If you’re going to be a plan administrator, it’s not just part-time.”

Reed said he wasn’t sure how many employees actually contributed to ING but that plan administration shouldn’t be too difficult, as he said he was under the impression that only a small number of employees were contributing to ING.

“It’s not that complicated,” Reed said. “You put the money in and take it out at retirement, unless something comes up.”

Dimmitt disagreed. “You have to have somebody that’s available for all facets of it,” he said. “An employee may need to draw funds on a qualifying event.”

Supervisor Becky Schmitz said she wasn’t ready to make a decision on it.

“I think there should be a meeting with the department heads to see if there are any other ideas on the subject,” she said.

Reed agreed, saying that he didn’t think they had enough information on it and that they would also discuss the matter with both Messer and Reneker.

County Engineer Scott Cline said road construction crews should begin work on 185th Street early this month.

He said that a road construction sign is already up at the project, “so they might start on it today,” he said.

Supervisors decided against using TIFF funds to pave of Osage Avenue. Deciding instead to do a debt levy at $2.2 million to complete the project.

The project is projected to begin and end during the 2016’s construction season.

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