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Supervisors Approve Grant Resolutions

By Staff | Nov 8, 2011

‘Tis the season for grant requests as the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors were asked to approve several resolutions for Palo Alto County Gaming Development Commission grants during the Nov. 1 meeting. Board members also conducted an informal drainage hearing on DD 17 in Vernon Township during the session at the Palo Alto County Courthouse.

Ron Askland and Jennifer Meyer of Horizons’ Unlimited appeared before the supervisors to present a total of six resolutions of support for Gaming Grant applications. Horizons submitted four grants, including grants for a new 12-passenger van, as well as a new telephone system, a pickup and trailer for recycling and improvements to the workshop area for full grants, along with two mini-grant requests for conference room presentation equipment and wall partitions in the workshop area.

The supervisors approve all six of the resolutions on unanimous roll call votes.

Board members then met with seven landowners in Drainage District 17, located in Section Eight of Vernon Township for an informal hearing on proposed improvements.

In his preliminary report, Drainage Engineer Rick Hopper of Jacobson-Westergard and Associates of Estherville noted water drains slowly in the area due to heavy pressure on the main from connections of a sub-main and sub-lateral A, which combine to restrict drainage to the whole district.

“What we are proposing is to replace the line from its outlet point in the east road ditch of 460 Avenue back east to the first sub lateral that goes south,” Hopper explained. “We would pick up the flow from sub lateral A and take it to the ditch, which would aid all of the drainage out there because it would remove the sub lateral from the main and reduce the load on the main.”

Hopper continued, “There are two options both call for a new outlet for sub lateral A, with one offering a half-inch drainage coefficient and the other a one-inch drainage coefficient.”

In his cost estimates, Hopper indicated the one-inch coefficient option would cost $38,665, or an average cost of $49,19 per acre, while the half-inch coefficient option would cost $33,495, or an average of $42.61 per acre. The work would require the installation of approximately 500 feet of new pipe, plus connections, a junction box and trench stabilization.

“My recommendation to you would be to go with the one-inch coefficient option, as it will help both the main and the lateral to better drain the entire district.”

“I’d like to see something down on the outlet,” noted landowner William Voigt. “I lose about 20 acres out there annually, so I would be all for the outlet.”

“This would help take acres off of the main,” agreed Hopper. “I think everyone will get a benefit of $40 to $50 an acre off this improvement, based on their benefits.”

“Some of our lands do not drain that way into that district,” noted Tom Stillman. “But, we’d support the work for the lands that actually do drain into it.”

Hopper noted that the district was originally established in 1906 and was built in 1908, so that by today’s standards, it is not adequate.

“I’m surprised that this tile has held up all these years,” agreed Voigt.

“Actually, some of these old tiles are still in good shape after all this time,” Hopper agreed.

“I think this is a good deal and we need to do it,” added landowner J.R. Brown, bringing the informal hearing to a close. A formal hearing on the proposed improvements will be at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

In other business, County Engineer Joel Fantz updated the supervisors on proposals for a 10-cent gasoline tax increase and possible effects for road maintenance and construction statewide.

“A 10-cent gas tax increase would generate $250 million yearly,” Fantz said, “but, putting such a tax increase into place would be politically tough. Realistically, it would be a user fee for roads across the state, but it is still a gas tax and any tax is hard to sell.”

According to Fantz, one of the reoccurring themes of a possible increase in road use taxes is that any additional funding should be directed to areas of the state where the population is. “That’s the idea of the metropolitan area lawmakers, and they see no reason to send funding to rural areas to keep up the roads that are crumbling.”