WAHOO – At the Sept. 14 meeting, Lower Platte North Natural Resource (LPNNRD) District Board was able to approve their annual tax levy rate of .03383 per $100 valuation and maintain the same property tax request of $3,480,715 for the fifth consecutive year.
According to LPNNRD General Manager Eric Gottschalk, because the property valuation for the district’s counties went up 5% from 2019’s valuation of $9,801,620,624 to this year’s valuation of $10,288,708,813, the tax levy went down 5% compared to last year’s rate of .035511.
Gottschalk also said that the NRD has been able to maintain the taxpayer money at about 44% of the $7,782,546 total budget because of other state and federal money that can balance the rest of the budget.
In other action, the board chose to table the LPNNRD’s annual Long Range Plan due to those in attendance via Zoom requesting more time to look over the draft presented, which was unexpected according to LPNNRD Assistant Manager Tom Mountford. The Long Range Plan is a one and five year plan that helps keep their district on schedule for the future.
“It keeps track of the direction we’re headed as a district,” Gottschalk said. “Some of the accomplishments that we’ve got and some of our goals that we’re planning to take care of over the next few years.”
Mountford said the plan is basically completed but will have a few minor changes in the water-related areas of the plan. Gottschalk said that it will likely be taken off the table at the October meeting so that the board can take action on it.
With the Hazard Mitigation Plan due to the state on Nov. 10, the board learned that the plan they had been working on throughout the LPNNRD’s eight-county region has been approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
Mountford said that FEMA and NEMA will pay for 75% of the costs from JEO Consulting Group for the plan which has totaled out at $4,491.50. JEO has also helped LPNNRD to use the grant dollars received from FEMA and NEMA as best as possible.
Mountford said that this is not something that every natural resource district is required to do but he feels it’s important because it allows communities and counties in the region to tell the LPNNRD what they want to include in the plan including flood risk assessments for Fremont and Schuylar and the Dam Breach Overlay for the 15 dams in Saunders County.
The board also heard several updates in regards to projects the Operations and Management Committee is working on including the Lake Wanahoo Auxiliary Spillway cracks, Cottonwood 21-A Emergency Spillway refurbishments and the Clear Creek Levee fuse plug at Camp Ashland.
When going east on Nebraska Highway 92, the Lake Wanahoo Auxiliary Spillway is located to the right side of the highway. Since its installation, the spillway has formed small cracks that are a half-inch thick or less that run from the top of the spillway to the bottom, Operation and Maintenance Manager Bob Heimann said.
These cracks are due to the type of concrete that was used called roller compacted concrete. It is a wet, powdery mix with bits of rocks and is laid down by large rollers. After 10 years, the cracks have begun to settle and show, Heimann said.
According to Gottschalk, this is the first time any updates have been made to the spillway and it will be somewhat of an ongoing repair job as the years go on.
While they have bids out to a few companies, Heimann said he hopes the project can be complete by spring or summer 2021.
Heimann also hopes to have the updates to the Cottonwood 21-A Emergency Spillway near Malmo completed by June 2021. This particular spillway is considered a high hazard dam because of its need for refurbishments due to its close proximity to Malmo. It has not had any refurbishments in the past several decades, Heimann said.
Heiman said it was built by the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) but the Department of Natural Resources Dam Safety agency has found that while it met standards when it was first built, it no longer meets the current standards for dam safety.
LPNNRD has been working with Saunders County so they can meet the required standards in regards to the roads near the spillway and dam.
“If that dam would potentially overtop or fail, water would go downstream, and could possibly flood parts of Malmo and threaten infrastructures like people’s homes,” Heimann said.
The LPNNRD, NRCS, Saunders County and Mainelli Wagner all plan to work together to add a berm to the south shoulder and ensure that the spillway will not only be up to date but so will the roads.
LPNNRD has also received FEMA funding for the work they did on the Clear Creek levee fuse plug at Camp Ashland after the 2019 floods, Gottschalk said. During the floods, the fuse plug was completely washed out so in December 2019, the LPNNRD repaired it and applied for aid from FEMA.
The district received 75% of the cost of damages ($87,750) and will receive 50% of the remaining cost, $14,641.66, from Lower Platte South Natural Resource District since they share the levee.
According to Heimann, the goal of the fuse plug is to help relieve any flooding from nearby creeks. Generally, in the summer they leave it open but plug it with sand for the winter because of ice jams causing backups.
The LPNNRD will hold their next meeting Oct. 12 at 6 p.m. at the Lake Wanahoo Education building.
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