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Discussions Continue On Drainage Tile Repair Policy

By Staff | Apr 5, 2011

Palo Alto County’s Supervisors continued to talk about a policy for the repair of drainage tile during their weekly meeting on March 29. Determining a procedure for the repairs was the topic of the latest discussion on the subject.

Earlier this year, the supervisors arrived at a policy of turning drainage tile repairs over to private contractors, relieving the county’s Secondary Road Department workers of the responsibility for work in areas other than county-owned right-of-way. At that time, the idea of having an individual be responsible to check on repairs and confirm what action was taken on repair requests was discussed, with the possibility of having Clem Joynt fill that role. However, the board agreed to request other applications for such a position.

On Tuesday, Board Chair Keith Wirtz broached the topic, noting that no applications for the tile supervisor’s post had been submitted. “No one else applied for the job,” Wirtz said. “Clem is not all that crazy about doing it, but he did say he would. The only other person who expressed an interest in it was Bill Ellingrod, but he changed his mind.”

According to Wirtz, Ellingrod, the former County Engineer, questioned the need to have someone check on a drainage problem before having any work done. “Bill’s suggestion was to just have the landowner or tenant file the work order and call a contractor to fix it, When it was fixed, then have someone go out and verify the work was actually done,” Wirtz noted. “As I think about it, that isn’t such a bad idea.”

Talk then turned to where work order requests could be obtained. Wirtz wondered if having them available at the various county maintenance sheds might be the way to go, but County Engineer Joel Fantz suggested that the work requests be obtained through the Engineer’s office to aid in record-keeping.

“I’d go along with that, to have guys pick the work orders up at the Engineer’s office,” said Supervisor Ron Graettinger.

Wirtz repeated that Clem Joynt had said he would help out in the process, and that he would visit with Joynt once again. “But really, we trust these local contractors, they’re going to do the work, and really all we need to do is just verify what they did.”

As the discussion wound down, it was suggested that Wirtz and Graettinger possibly act in that capability of checking and verifying the work if need be, to which both supervisors agreed.

In other business, the board met with the four county maintenance foremen to review any ideas for Spring road maintenance. Galen Dykstra of West Bend noted his crew was going to work on a different method of cutting shoulders to try and eliminate dirt being spread into the roadway creating muddy conditions. “It seem like when you cut the shoulders, the dirt gets drug across the road and you get mud when it rains,” Dykstra explained. “We’re going to scarify the edges then use the retriever at the edge and then pack it to see if it reduces the amount of mud on a road.”

Mike Flaherty from Graettinger noted his crew was going to cut some edges to eliminate the gutters on some gravel roads to allow rain water to drain off the roads. “We’ve already started doing this south of Ruthven.”

“Those sound like good ideas,” Wirtz said. “If the people see you out doing these things, at least they know we’re trying to maintain our roads, and that’s all I want to do.”

“I’m not hearing any complaints, so you guys must be doing a good job,” Supervisor Ed Noonan said.

“The frost isn’t all out yet,” Foreman Mike Hartman answered. “But, our embargo is a good program and it does help. I’d say it needs to be on at least another 10 days or so.”

“I would say that our bonding program did a good job of educating the people about our roads,” observed Engineer Joel Fantz. “We have folks stopping into our office to tell us about things and ask about things, and that didn’t used to happen. People understand the costs of good roads and they’re being very protective of the roads now.”

“Well, I want to say thank you for the jobs you and your men are doing,” Wirtz told the foremen.

“Yes,” Supervisor Jerry Hofstad spoke up, “Keep the graders going.”

“A good job on the roads this Spring will save us time this Summer,” Wirtz said as the discussion ended.