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The $30 million Johnson County Conservation Bond will be on the ballot in November



Iowa City, Iowa – The Johnson County Board of Supervisors has given its stamp of approval to the language that will be included on the November ballot for a $30 million conservation bond.

The Johnson County Conservation Board claims that it can use the funds from the bond to acquire and develop publicly accessible land for the purpose of protecting natural areas, wildlife habitats, water quality, and forests. In addition, parks and trails are accounted for.

Spending on the proposed bond would be audited by an outside party once a year for 20 years.

Here is the bond language that has been approved:

“Shall the County of Johnson, State of Iowa, be authorized to acquire and develop lands with public access provided, to be managed by the Johnson County Conservation Board, in order to protect the water quality in rivers, lakes and streams; protect forests to improve air quality; protect natural areas and wildlife habitat from development, and provide for parks and trails, at a cost not exceeding $30,000,000 and issue its general obligation bonds in an amount not exceeding $30,000,000 for that purpose, to be repaid in not more than 20 years. All expenditures will be subject to an annual independent audit.”

This bond will be up for vote on November 5th in Johnson County.

If the bond is approved, the committee has estimated that the maximum increase in taxes would be $5 per $100,000 of valuation per year over the current taxes. The board has stated its expectation that, for the majority of years, there will be little to no increase compared to the existing rates.

The bond is not a free pass for the board, according to Pat Heiden, who is also the co-chair of the Our Land, Our Water, Our Future group.

“Funds are allocated as projects develop,” Heiden said. “Therefore, the minimal taxation will fluctuate over the next 20 years.”

Heiden praised the 2008 $20 million bond as an investment for generations to come and listed several of the projects that benefited from the funding.

“There are 15 major successful projects we can point to since 2008 that have benefited the natural environment within the county,” Heiden said in a release. “We want to continue to build on that success.”

Among the initiatives funded by the conservation bond of 2008 are:

• Clear Creek Conservation Area
• Clear Creek Trial (Coralville to Kent Park)
• Ciha Fen Preserve
• Kent Park Shower Jouse & Campground Entry
• Sutliff Bridge Access
• Cedar River Crossing
• Hoover Trail
• Pechman Creek Delta
• Kent Park Lake Restoration
• Iowa River Trail Mehaffey Bridge
• Cangleska Wakan
• Malinda Reif Reilly Fen & Prairie
• Two Horse Farm