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Supervisors Discuss Annexation Report

By Staff | Jan 12, 2016

During their first meeting of 2016, the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors considered the recommended proposal of the potential annexation of additional acres into Drainage District 175. Other business on Monday, January 4 included appointments of a new Supervisor Chair and Chair Pro-Tem, secondary road business and an update on General Assistance.

Don Etler, Drainage Engineer from Bolton and Menk of Spencer, brought an annexation report for Drainage District 175 to the Supervisors for consideration. The report recommends the annexation of an additional 6,442 acres.

“The Board received a petition for DD 175. The open ditch starts just East of Ayrshire and flows down Northeast to the Des Moines River and down is an understatement cause there is a very steep grade through here,” Etler began.

“Is the grade relatively consistent through here or is it steeper in some parts than others?” Supervisor Craig Merrill asked.

“I’m not sure about that but I do know this is the ditch that we have had huge repairs on the whole way,” Etler responded.

“So, this is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) thing that we are having issues with also. There’s a big bill on this on,” Merrill said. “The FEMA is just to repair right, if we do get the FEMA money that’s just to repair to the state that the ditch was in before.”

“No not really, that’s part of the issues. This district has received a tremendous amount rip wrap funding,” Etler said. “DD 175 has, I think received three times FEMA funding for damages.”

“Is that part of the reason we are having trouble getting the money?” Merrill asked.

“No,” Etler responded.

“Do you have any idea why we are having such a hard time getting this?” Merrill questioned.

“I think it is bottled up inside of an agency that the person who has it doesn’t know what he is doing,” Etler replied. “It has really started with the people they sent to the field to review the application. One guy was from Puerto Rico and the other Polish.”

Etler went on to say that the FEMA representatives questioned everything, including how the calculations of the footage for rip wrap was determined, because they had no prior experience with drainage. Although the two are no longer involved, the many questions they posed became the issue.

“Is there something that can be done as far as like steps or something to slow the water down?” Merrill asked.

“If this is going to keep going and in another 10 years we need to ask for money again, what’s the way to start solving this thing,” Supervisor Chair Linus Solberg added.

“That would be an improvement, but to put grade steps in the ditch below the dam,” Etler said.

“But isn’t it the big 100 year storms we get that does all the damage?” Supervisor Ed Noonan asked. “Is it really going to help that much in the end?”

“Everywhere we have put rip wrap has held but the next section has not,” Etler said. “So the fix for DD 175 would be some step structures.”

“Since you are asking all these farmers to begin paying when they have never had to pay before, can work be done in that creek as far as tree removal and be paid for by the district when they come in?” Noonan asked.

“Only if you make it a district facility.”Elter said.

“There is a 40,000 acre water shed that right now DD 175 is paying all the cost. At this time roughly 12% of the watershed is being assessed. What is being proposed is the annexation of adjacent acres that have common outlet to the open ditch in DD 175,” Etler stated.

“I have a question for you Don cause it’s personal, because all my land is within the proposed area. There’s areas that has a county tile that comes into it and a county tile that leaves it. Between the two county tiles is a private tile, with several farms connected to it. There’s no district there, so when this tile needs replacement, a single landowner is responsible for that replacement,” Noonan said. “That’s not uncommon in this area. There’s a lot of stuff that was done with handshakes between farmers over the fence, tile was added and it’s a patchwork of all different things.”

“The easiest way to do it would be to annex everything in the watershed,” Etler commented.

“It just seems like you are taking an unfair situation and moving it out to other people,” Noonan observed. “It’s not fair that DD 175 has to bear the total cost of repair for something that many benefit from and fair may not be the correct word.”

“I’m glad the Board sees the controversy here,” Etler said.

“Who makes the final decision on the annexation?” Merrill questioned.

“You do, the Board,” Etler replied.

“So, where do we go from here?” Merrill said.

“I think we should have an informal hearing with DD 175 so that they can see the report,” Noonan said.

With the final thought, a decision was made to table this issue and an informal hearing for DD 175 was set for March 1 at 1:00 p.m. at the election center.

In other business, a new Supervisor Chair and Chair Pro-Tem was elected for 2016. In a unanimous decision Linus Solberg is the new Supervisor Chair and Keith Wirtz is the new Chair Pro-Tem.

Palo Alto County Engineer Walter Davis-Oeth was on hand to with resolutions for the New Year. The Board unanimously agreed to authorize the County Engineer to close roads for maintenance and repair and to certify the completion of work on farm-to-market construction projects. In final business Davis-Oeth requested and received approval to hire Matt Fandel as the new equipment operator at the Cylinder Shed on a probationary period of six months at a starting wage of $18.39 per hour.

Supervisors Discuss Annexation Report

By Staff | Jan 12, 2016

During their first meeting of 2016, the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors considered the recommended proposal of the potential annexation of additional acres into Drainage District 175. Other business on Monday, January 4 included appointments of a new Supervisor Chair and Chair Pro-Tem, secondary road business and an update on General Assistance.

Don Etler, Drainage Engineer from Bolton and Menk of Spencer, brought an annexation report for Drainage District 175 to the Supervisors for consideration. The report recommends the annexation of an additional 6,442 acres.

“The Board received a petition for DD 175. The open ditch starts just East of Ayrshire and flows down Northeast to the Des Moines River and down is an understatement cause there is a very steep grade through here,” Etler began.

“Is the grade relatively consistent through here or is it steeper in some parts than others?” Supervisor Craig Merrill asked.

“I’m not sure about that but I do know this is the ditch that we have had huge repairs on the whole way,” Etler responded.

“So, this is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) thing that we are having issues with also. There’s a big bill on this on,” Merrill said. “The FEMA is just to repair right, if we do get the FEMA money that’s just to repair to the state that the ditch was in before.”

“No not really, that’s part of the issues. This district has received a tremendous amount rip wrap funding,” Etler said. “DD 175 has, I think received three times FEMA funding for damages.”

“Is that part of the reason we are having trouble getting the money?” Merrill asked.

“No,” Etler responded.

“Do you have any idea why we are having such a hard time getting this?” Merrill questioned.

“I think it is bottled up inside of an agency that the person who has it doesn’t know what he is doing,” Etler replied. “It has really started with the people they sent to the field to review the application. One guy was from Puerto Rico and the other Polish.”

Etler went on to say that the FEMA representatives questioned everything, including how the calculations of the footage for rip wrap was determined, because they had no prior experience with drainage. Although the two are no longer involved, the many questions they posed became the issue.

“Is there something that can be done as far as like steps or something to slow the water down?” Merrill asked.

“If this is going to keep going and in another 10 years we need to ask for money again, what’s the way to start solving this thing,” Supervisor Chair Linus Solberg added.

“That would be an improvement, but to put grade steps in the ditch below the dam,” Etler said.

“But isn’t it the big 100 year storms we get that does all the damage?” Supervisor Ed Noonan asked. “Is it really going to help that much in the end?”

“Everywhere we have put rip wrap has held but the next section has not,” Etler said. “So the fix for DD 175 would be some step structures.”

“Since you are asking all these farmers to begin paying when they have never had to pay before, can work be done in that creek as far as tree removal and be paid for by the district when they come in?” Noonan asked.

“Only if you make it a district facility.”Elter said.

“There is a 40,000 acre water shed that right now DD 175 is paying all the cost. At this time roughly 12% of the watershed is being assessed. What is being proposed is the annexation of adjacent acres that have common outlet to the open ditch in DD 175,” Etler stated.

“I have a question for you Don cause it’s personal, because all my land is within the proposed area. There’s areas that has a county tile that comes into it and a county tile that leaves it. Between the two county tiles is a private tile, with several farms connected to it. There’s no district there, so when this tile needs replacement, a single landowner is responsible for that replacement,” Noonan said. “That’s not uncommon in this area. There’s a lot of stuff that was done with handshakes between farmers over the fence, tile was added and it’s a patchwork of all different things.”

“The easiest way to do it would be to annex everything in the watershed,” Etler commented.

“It just seems like you are taking an unfair situation and moving it out to other people,” Noonan observed. “It’s not fair that DD 175 has to bear the total cost of repair for something that many benefit from and fair may not be the correct word.”

“I’m glad the Board sees the controversy here,” Etler said.

“Who makes the final decision on the annexation?” Merrill questioned.

“You do, the Board,” Etler replied.

“So, where do we go from here?” Merrill said.

“I think we should have an informal hearing with DD 175 so that they can see the report,” Noonan said.

With the final thought, a decision was made to table this issue and an informal hearing for DD 175 was set for March 1 at 1:00 p.m. at the election center.

In other business, a new Supervisor Chair and Chair Pro-Tem was elected for 2016. In a unanimous decision Linus Solberg is the new Supervisor Chair and Keith Wirtz is the new Chair Pro-Tem.

Palo Alto County Engineer Walter Davis-Oeth was on hand to with resolutions for the New Year. The Board unanimously agreed to authorize the County Engineer to close roads for maintenance and repair and to certify the completion of work on farm-to-market construction projects. In final business Davis-Oeth requested and received approval to hire Matt Fandel as the new equipment operator at the Cylinder Shed on a probationary period of six months at a starting wage of $18.39 per hour.