Renewal Process for Lake Panorama RIZ Underway

By Susan Thompson

The process to gain a 20-year renewal of the Lake Panorama Rural Improvement Zone (RIZ) is moving forward. An engineering report supporting the renewal request was presented to the Guthrie County Board of Supervisors February 7. A public hearing on the RIZ renewal will be held March 28 at 9:30 a.m. at the Guthrie County courthouse. 

The Lake Panorama RIZ has existed since 1997 and is responsible for funding erosion control and water quality at Lake Panorama. The RIZ funding source is a portion of property taxes resulting from growth of the Lake Panorama development. RIZ also has the ability to levy a stand-by tax for bond repayment. 

RIZ law is governed under IA Code Chapter 357H, which was significantly amended in the 2015 legislative session. The law outlines a process by which RIZ districts can apply for renewal. Key to that process is the development of an engineering report.

The Lake Panorama RIZ report by Shive-Hattery, the engineering consulting firm that has worked with the Lake Panorama RIZ for many years, provides analysis of Lake Panorama’s past, present and future. It covers 13 key points required by RIZ law. Iowa Code requires the board of supervisors to grant renewal if the RIZ district has demonstrated a continued need for the next 20 years.

RIZ anticipates receiving $1.87 million in revenues in the 2017-18 fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018. This amount is similar to what RIZ will receive in the 2016-17 fiscal year. Over $600,000 will be used to retire debt, while the remaining amount will be used to fund the dredging operation, silt basin development and water quality efforts.

The Lake Panorama RIZ is managed by a five-member board of trustees. Current trustees are Doug Hemphill, Dale Grotjohn, JoAnn Johnson, Bill Dahl and Corey Welberg.

In 2016, RIZ completed the Cory Sediment Basin and the Helen’s Cove/Donahey Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) wetland. Work now is underway on the Hughes Cove/Elmquist CREP project. These two wetlands will help prevent sediment and excess nutrients from reaching Lake Panorama.

 The 46-page report from Shive-Hattery is a public document. It’s available under the “Archives” tab on the Lake Panorama RIZ website: