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Brush Control Plan Earns Supervisors’ Nod

By Staff | Aug 18, 2011

A plan earmarking drainage ditches for tree and brush control for 2011 received a nod of approval from the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors during its weekly meeting August 9. Board members also opened bids on a repair project for a drainage ditch during the session as well.

Don Reffer, owner of B&W Control Specialists of Algona, informed the supervisors that his crew had finished their work on DD63 last week and that all had gone well with the project. B&W was engaged by the supervisors earlier this year to take over the brush and tree spraying of the county’s drainage ditches in an effort to allow Secondary Road Department Employees more time for routine road maintenance duties.

“What I have for you today is our quote for tree and brush control in the open ditches for this year,” Reffer told the board. “This is a tentative schedule, but we will do this work on a time and materials basis, not to exceed what is quoted for each ditch, with your approval.”

A total of five open ditches are earmarked for treatment, including DD106, DD923, DD41, DD98 and DD98 Sub lateral ditch 1. The total quoted price for tree and brush control was quoted at $27,750.

Reffer explained he had surveyed all of the open ditches and identified these as the ditches in the greatest need for spraying at this time. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to work around to a three-year rotation, covering every ditch once in a three-year cycle, Once we’ve gotten all of the ditches treated at least once, your costs should drop to a maintenance level.”

“That sounds good to me,” noted Supervisor Ed Noonan.

“Me too,” added Supervisor Ron Graettinger.

“I think everyone’s glad that the spraying is getting done,” agreed Board Chair Keith Wirtz, as the board approved Reffer’s plan for spraying.

Kent Rohde of Kuehl and Payer opened four bids for the repairs to Drainage District 132, located along U.S. Highway 18 on the west edge of Emmetsburg. Plans for the repairs call for straightening the ditch along the north side to alleviate overruns of rip-rap that occurred when the Iowa Department of Transportation made repairs to the south side of the a year ago, and riprap rolled into the bottom of the channel. Due to the situation, the DOT agreed to pay the costs of the repairs to the ditch.

Rohde opened bids from Valley Contracting of Estherville for $103,547.50; L.A. Carlson Contracting of Merrill, IA for $93,397.20; Peterson Contractors, Inc. (PCI) of Reinbeck, IA for $112,282.50 and Reutzel Excavating of Burt, IA for $107,079.30.

“We are waiting on a letter from the DOT in regards to your request they commit to a long-term maintenance agreement,” Rohde told the board. “It is my understanding that they are not agreeable to that request.”

“Their actions are what caused this repair,” Noonan said. “They should be held accountable for the large points that stick out into the center of the ditch. If they aren’t addressed, the water will just cut into the north bank again.”

Lynn Carlson, the apparent low bidder, noted that to remove the most severe points would add perhaps an additional $15,000 to the contract price, but could be done with the work.

“Could we have them do that?” Noonan asked Rohde.

“It could be done with a change order,” Rohde answered.

With that, Graettinger moved to accept the bid of L.A. Carlson Contracting in the amount of $93,397.20 to make the repairs to DD132 and the motion passed on a unanimous vote.