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Supervisors Receive Drainage Petition

By Staff | May 22, 2008

Palo Alto County Supervisors acknowledged the receipt of a petition for a drainage ditch cleanout during their weekly board meeting on Tuesday, May 20. The board also approved a contract for services with Seasons Mental Health Center in Spencer during the session, held in the boardroom of the Palo Alto County Courthouse.

Dick L. Coffman of Sioux City submitted the petition to the Palo Alto County Auditor’s office on Thursday, May 15. Coffman, of the Coffman Farm Agency, represents the Maurania Corporation, an entity that purchased farmland in the northeast corner of the southeast quarter of Section 10 of Nevada Township, southeast of Emmetsburg.

According to the petition, Coffman stated that the farmland was purchased in 2006 and that during the 2007 crop year, several problems with the drainage were noted. There were two occasions when field tile were determined to be broken, but could not be repaired by contractors due to the fact that water levels in the drainage ditch, DD21, kept the outlet of the tile submerged.

“This old tile is less than 18” deep in the field and needs to be replaced, but if its outlet is submerged, a new tile at a lower depth would not be effective, either,” Coffman wrote in a letter accompanying the petition for repair.

Coffman went on to note that there were delays in planting and harvesting crops on the farmland due to the land being very slow to dry, and that another tile is broken at the current time, and a contractor says it cannot be repaired until the water level in the ditch is lower than the tile outlet.

“I looked at the drainage ditch on several occasions during the 2007 season and there was always water standing in it,” Coffman wrote. “I expect that the ditch has silted in and that the silt is restricting the water flow to the west of the Maurania farm.

According to Coffman, he has discussed the situation with drainage engineer Don Etler of Kuehl and Payer of Algona, who indicated that the ditch was designed to give an adequate outlet for any existing tile or new tile, that would be installed on the Maurania property.

Coffman’s petition requests that the drainage ditch be cleaned out to the original design depth.

“In the past, we’ve always turned these over to the county engineer, and he’s looked at them, too,” noted Supervisor Ron Graettinger. “He’ll tell us if we need to hire Don Etler to look at it further.

John Wright, Assistant to the Engineer, took the petition and assured the supervisors the engineer’s staff would check on the situation and report back.

With that, Supervisor Ed Noonan moved to acknowledge receipt of the petition, and the motion was approved unanimously.

Palo Alto County Mental Health Director Maureen Sandberg presented the board with a copy of a contract for the county’s participation in the Integrated Service Pathways program with Seasons Mental Health Center. The contract is a temporary measure to keep the ISP program operating locally while waiting to see if the program can receive grant funding to continue operations longer-term.

The contract, in the amount of $525.55 per month, will be in effect from May 31 to July 31, 2008, and may be cancelled with 60 days notice by either party. The board also approved an identical contract with the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office, for the same amount.

The supervisors also approved a salary adjustment for Connie Krough, a part-time employee in the County Recorder’s Office. With the successful completion of her probationary employment period, Krough’s salary was raised from $9 and hour to $10 an hour. The salary adjustment received unanimous approval from the board members.

In their final item of business, the board met with Emmetsburg Community Economic Development Director Steve Heldt, who advised the board of a request for the voluntary annexation of a 9.5-acre parcel of land on the outskirts of Emmetsburg into the city limits. The triangular shaped parcel is located in Section29 of Freedom Township, east of the AGP plant.

“You should be receiving a certified letter to formally notify the county of this voluntary annexation request,” Heldt explained. “The owner of the land has filed a letter with the city requesting voluntary annexation into the city.”

According to Heldt, the city will have to hold a public hearing on the request, allowing comments to be submitted for or against the annexation. After the hearing, the final process could take about a month and a half to complete.