WATERLOO — Black Hawk County will use money saved by selling the Country View care center to help replace a Cedar River bridge.
Members of the county Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Tuesday to approve a $4 million spending plan for replacement of the Cedar-Wapsi Road bridge north of Cedar Falls.
The plan includes $1 million each in federal bridge funds and local secondary roads dollars along with $2 million the supervisors had budgeted this year to subsidize operations at Country View.
County Finance Director Susan Deaton said original discussions involved selling $2 million in general obligation bonds for the bridge. But the county sold the nursing home to a private company Dec. 31, freeing up dollars in the current budget.
“We had included $2 million in the (current) budget for Country View because if we were going to continue with Country View we were going to need to support the operations,” Deaton said.
“We haven’t used any of the $2 million that was budgeted,” she added. “That seems like a good, logical choice to use those funds for this project.”
Supervisor Linda Laylin said it had been the board’s goal to avoid bonding this year, which raises money for projects but increases the county’s debt and tax levy to repay the bonds.
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Board chairman Tom Little cast the lone dissenting vote but said he supported the funding alternative.
“I’m still opposed to the extra money that we’re spending for the bridge staying up while the other one’s being built,” Little said. “Other than that, if we have to go for it, this is a reasonable way to do it.”
Little had previously opposed a decision to build the new bridge first before tearing down the existing bridge. That phasing increases the cost of the project but prevents lengthy detours for motorists and farm equipment.
The Cedar-Wapsi Road bridge was built in 1961 and is one of the longest spans maintained by the county’s secondary roads department. It’s condition was downgraded to “structurally deficient” in 2014 following routine inspections.
Peterson Contractors Inc. of Reinbeck has already been awarded the construction contract for the project expected to start this spring and be completed by December 2020.
Black Hawk County is still expecting to net more than $2 million from the sale of Country View when the books are closed. The supervisors have not earmarked those dollars to any specific purpose yet.