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Supervisors Approve Repair Project For Drainage District

By Staff | Dec 11, 2008

After several weeks of discussion and a public hearing, Palo Alto County Supervisors approved a repair project for a drainage district in Emmetsburg Township at their Dec. 9 meeting. The Supervisors also gave tentative approval to the county’s no-snow removal plan for the winter months with some minor changes during the meeting at the Palo Alto County Courthouse.

Earlier this Fall, landowner David Girres had approached the board concerning drainage problems in Section nine of Emmetsburg Township, involving the Later Three tile of Drainage District Seven. Girres had found several sections of an old eight-inch tile that had been crushed, as well as tiles filled with dirt, that no longer allowed waters to flow from his property.

Girres discussed the matter with a contractor, who estimated costs to replace 2,360 feet of tile with dual-wall plastic 10-inch tile or 10-inch concrete, wire-reinforced tile. Cost estimates for the work ranged from $18,880 for the plastic tile to $27,140 for the concrete tile. The problem facing the board, acting as trustees of the district, was a section of Iowa Drainage law that requires a drainage project to be engineered if the cost of the project exceeds the original cost of the district. With the original cost of the district amounting to $20,000, the board had concerns over the project.

A public hearing was held on Dec. 2 with the landowners in the district. With just five landowners, assessment amounts were a major concern for the landowners. One absentee landowner expressed reservations about allowing the work to be done, claiming there would be little if any benefit to his property by the work.

Because the non-functional tile is shallow in Girres’ property, the supervisors had concerns that cement tile would be better able to withstand the weight of farm equipment, but Girres preferred the plastic tile option, and offered the suggestion that it could be moved to allow for more cover.

The Board tabled action for a week on the issue, to allow the absentee landowner more time to study the proposal, and on Tuesday, received a call from the landowner indicating they still had reservations, but would go along with the project, with a condition that Girres be responsible to repair any damage to the tiles on his property in the future, a provision Girres was agreeable to.

With the issues resolved, the board moved to move ahead with the installation of the dual-wall plastic tile at a cost of $18,880 by Schany Construction of Graettinger. The motion was approved unanimously.

In other action, Palo Alto County Engineer Joel Fantz presented the supervisors with the map of no snow removal roads in the county for the winter months. Fantz pointed out the addition of three and a half miles of roads being dropped to no snow removal in the northern half of the county, upon recommendation of Roads Foreman Jim Hughes.

“Our purpose in doing this is three-fold,” Fantz told the board. “First, its for wise stewardship of public funds, as well as providing for better snow removal overall by not having to work on roads that are unused, and it also allows for better recovery of the roads in the spring.”

Fantz noted that the four school districts in the county had not finished their reviews of the proposed maps, but he expected their responses in the next few days.

Supervisor Ed Noonan asked about two and a half miles of 370 Avenue, west of Ayrshire, between 420 and 390 Streets. “I’ve just got a concern out there for a direct route for grain haulers around Silver Lake and Virgin Lake. Could we change those two and a half miles from level B to Level A?”

“It could certainly be done, but it would be against my recommendation,” Fantz said. “Remember, we’re trying to be good stewards of the public’s funds.”

“I don’t see changing them as a major problem,” said Supervisor Jerry Hofstad.

“Me either,” Supervisor Keith Wirtz spoke up.

Hofstad moved to make the change and give tentative approval to the map, pending input from the school districts, and the motion was carried unanimously, against Fantz’s recommendation.