Polk to run “missing link” water line from Green Creek to Mill Spring

Published 2:13 pm Thursday, June 20, 2013

Polk County Finance Officer Sandra Hughes said the county’s current fund balance is approximately $6.8 million with the water line project bringing the county’s fund balance to $4.8 million, or approximately 23 percent of the county’s general fund.

“This is a significant draw down of the fund balance,” said commissioner Ray Gasperson. “But I can see the long-term benefit. I would have preferred it be broken down into three fiscal years.”

Commissioner Ted Owens said Odom will bring the board maps on how the water line will connect other water systems.

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Owens said some Polk residents have been around during droughts and that’s why he’s so adamant on water. He said the county would have to pardon him if he pushes too hard on having water sources but remembers times in the county when it was dry.

The only citizen comment came from Renée McDermott who said when the comprehensive plan committee the Hwy 9 waterline should be a priority, it didn’t know that a waterline would be built on Hwy 108 first, taking care of the water needs of the Mill Spring area.

“So what’s the hurry?” McDermott asked. “It can’t be Polk Central. Based on the request of the school board and the school superintendent, Polk Central’s well was upgraded at a cost of about $40,000, rather than spending what was then thought to be $1 million of the taxpayers’ money to put in an unneeded waterline.”

McDermott said even after the school board and superintendent asked commissioners not to run the line, commissioners Tom Pack and Owens lobbied for the waterline. She said she has suggested instead of having taxpayers pay the whole bill for the waterline, the county should wait until someone came up with a development plan for the area so proposals could be made for grants to pay most of the costs.

“I suggested that again back in February, when the board of commissioners spent $100,000 of taxpayer money looking into what people are now calling ‘the William Day waterline,’” McDermott said, who she went on to say was a political contributor to commissioners and the domain owner of the liberty ads during the last election.

“Now that there’s already municipal water to Mill Spring, there’s no rush,” she said. “There’s no longer a priority.  Why not slow things down just a bit, and do what’s right for all of Polk County’s taxpayers?”

Richard Day stood to speak at the end of the meeting saying he wanted to speak about the “William Day Memorial water line.”

William Day did not know he was speaking on his behalf, Richard Day said. Richard Day said William Day did not buy a special favor.

“Gosh if I could buy a commissioner for $200 that would be a pretty good deal wouldn’t it?” Richard Day said. “But that’s how ridiculous it is.