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Informational Meeting Held On Drainage District 180 Lateral 1

By Staff | Dec 19, 2017

The Palo Alto County Supervisors held an informational meeting with 16 landowners and residents from the northeast area of the City of Emmetsburg on Wednesday, Dec. 13.

Drainage Attorney Jim Hudson of Hudson Law Office in Pocahontas began the meeting explaining in great depth the policies and procedures of drainage law and how it pertains to the project in question.

“This project is a combination of agricultural land as well as urban and so there are some differences to the drainage process,” Hudson began. “Landowners are the most important people in a drainage project because they will be paying for everything by assessments to properties.”

Hudson went on to explain that since this project recommends an improvement and so a remonstrance can halt the project. A remonstrance is when more than 50% of the landowners owning more than 70% of the total acres in the project area file objections with the Palo Alto County Auditor’s office.

“Discussions for this area began in 2005 when the casino came in and at that time this area was looked at with no decisions being made,” Don Elter, Drainage Engineer from Bolton and Menke in Spencer began. “In 2014, there was severe flooding after heavy rains, which caused extensive damage and a petition was filed by for the City of Emmetsburg by John Bird, who was City Administrator at the time and several residents in the area with the worst flooding in the northeast area of the town. There were three reasons that the project did not continue at that time: 1) objections were filed, 2) the report looked at a different open ditch and 3) the Supervisors were looking for the City Of Emmetsburg to participate in the cost.”

Jon Rosengren, Drainage Engineer from Bolton and Menke of Spencer, explained the engineer’s report that was filed as well as an amendment to the project.

“What we have proposed for improvements would serve more as a storm sewer system on the east edge of Emmetsburg instead of simply an agricultural drainage system,” Rosengren explained. “What we are proposing will help get rid of the considerable amounts of water within a few hours instead of the current flooding, which lasts days at a time.”

Rosengren went on to explain the proposed cost construction of the project is estimated is $1,156,000 with other Finance, Interest and Contingencies being added which will then bring the total estimated cost of the project to $1,407,000. This gives an estimated cost of $3,032 per acre based on 464 acres. This can be spread out into payments overtime if the Supervisors so choose. The estimated average cost for 10 years is $387 per acre per year and for 20 years estimated cost would be $231per acre per year.

“I live on Lakeshore Dr. and lost everything that was in the basement because five feet of water came up through the sewer pipe,” Kristine Hatch, Emmetsburg resident stated. “I cannot use the basement at all and was told by the City to get flood insurance. After talking to my insurance company, I can’t get flood insurance because I don’t live in a flood plain. Will this project guarantee no water will back up into my basement?”

Another city resident questioned the trouble with the sewer system at the new campground wondering if it does not connect to the drainage tile.

“I cannot guarantee that it will keep water from getting into your basement,” Rosengren answered. “but it will prevent the water from standing for days in your basement.”

Hudson responded to the question regarding the new campground stating that the City is responsible for the sewer system, not the County.

Rosengren also explained that the project proposed annexation of benefited agricultural land by the proposed improvement.

With some further discussion, it was decided that Bolten and Menke would put together a Pre-Classification report so that each landowner will have an estimated amount of what the proposed improvement may cost before any action is taken.