The state gave the district $28,000 in stimulus funding in 2010-11 — which was used to clear some of the sites — he said, but no funds have been allocated for the current biennium.
In addition, the PCSWCD is taking advantage of a mowing contractor’s discount this year by mowing all the cleared sites at once, he said, reducing the funds available for labor, mileage and supplies.
In 2014 — with mowing costs estimated at $7,700, only $13,000 will be available for payroll, Harms told the court, enough to fund 10.5 hours of work per week.
He said the district’s two part-time employees need more hours, so they can repair fences, maintain drainage structures, control regrowth, and deal with critters: gophers, which burrow into the structures; beavers, which work tirelessly to keep running water still; and wild hogs, which cause erosion by wallowing in the spillways.
The district has also fallen behind on a USDA-NRCS five-year plan, he said, adding that more funds would help the district continue to clear and maintain the sites.
Harms also asked the county for help with replacing rusty outfall pipes and other projects.
Carter said the PCSWCD, a non-taxing entity that depends on the county, has asked for more money every year for the past few years; Riley said commissioners once boosted the budget by $10,000 some eight years ago.
“It’s important to the whole county to keep these structures like they’re supposed to be,” Harms concluded. “I think we do a good job, but we need some help.”