Delaware County will contribute money to help rebuild the Lake Delhi dam.
Monday, the county board of supervisors authorized a loan agreement and up to $3-million for Lake Delhi, which vanished with the dam collapse in 2010.
More than 150 people crowded into the Delaware County Courthouse courtroom to hear the supervisors vote on the issue.
The unanimous vote means Delaware County will provide funding to help rebuild the dam and spillway.
The amount will not be given all at one time. Instead, it will come step by step as bills for the work on the dam come in and are reviewed.
It’s possible the county may not issue the entire three-million dollars, but if it does, Supervisor Chair Shirley Helmrichs says they’ve received news that the loan will be relatively simple to secure.
Five Delaware County banks have committed to that full amount with letters of intent and they’re offering the bonds at one-percent interest, which Helmrichs says is “huge.”
Prior to the board’s decision, the county held a public hearing that allowed anyone objecting to the loan agreement to speak before the board. Several residents addressed the board with concerns about tax increases and how the money could be used.
Earlville resident Bruce Rafoth believes Lake Delhi is going to be an “endless money pit” and asked why everyone in the county had to help pay for it. Helmrichs says there have been a number of valid points raised.
She says, “Those questions that people gave to us are things that we’re all going to look at very seriously and I would bet some of those will make their way into our list of conditions.”
Helmrichs says this loan agreement is something Lake Delhi residents have waited to see for over a year and a half. Now, they can start to rebuild, knowing the nine-mile lake will be restored.
“People will move ahead and hire contractors,” she says. “Now they can go ahead and get their work started. They won’t have water back this spring or this summer, but the other entities will be moving ahead from here. It’s a positive step toward the future.”
With Delaware County now officially on board, the state is expected to follow suit this session with a $5-million dollar commitment to Lake Delhi over a two-year period.
By Janelle Tucker, KMCH, Manchester