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Supervisors Discuss FEMA Drainage Districts

By Staff | Mar 15, 2018

Drainage Engineer Don Etler from Bolton & Menk of Spencer, met with the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors during their regular meeting on Tuesday, March 13, to discuss the final two drainage districts that were severely damaged during the 2014 disaster.

Drainage Districts 84 and 175, are the final two drainage districts that are still in need of repairs from the heavy rains that pummeled the area in June 2014. It was considered a 100-year event. These two drainage districts as well as nine other drainage districts that were denied FEMA funding. Prior to 2014, drainage districts that were damaged within a federal disaster area were submitted separately. Unfortunately, a FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) representative compiled all twelve districts into one application, with a cost of $1,230,000. This figured triggered a special review by FEMA. The first review resulted in a complete denial for funding.

With the support of the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and the hiring of an attorney to argue the case in Washington, D.C., two appeals have been filed and denied. A filing for Reconsideration has been submitted and is under review by FEMA; however, no decision has bee made at this time.

Should the Reconsideration be approved, 75 % of the total cost will come from federal funding, 10 % will come from state funding, with the remaining 15 % being the responsibility of the landowners.

Drainage District 84, which is in Booth Township, received severe damage and 19 sites were identified as needing repairs. The damages include: Channel Excavation 300 linear feet, Riprapped Banks 1,420 tons, Tile Outlet Pipes 260 linear feet, Surface Water Pipes 538 linear feet plus other miscellaneous work.

The estimated total cost of the repairs is $171,00. If only the land currently located in DD84 is assessed (8,353 acres), then the estimated cost per acre is $20.00. However, there are a couple of drainage districts that are eligible for common outlet, increasing the total acres to 23,580, lowering the cost per acre to $7.00.

Unanimous approval was given (absent, Roger Faulstick), to set the Bid Letting and Hearing for DD 84 on Tuesday, April 27 at12:00 pm at the Election Center.

Drainage District 175, located in Great Oak and Silver Lake Townships, received the most extensive damage in the 2014 Disaster. Seventy-nine sites along the open ditch were identified as needing repairs. Damages included: Channel Excavation 5,520 feet, Riprapped Banks 8,300 tons, Tile Outlet Pipes 200 linear feet, Surface Water Pipes 456 linear feet plus other miscellaneous repairs.

The estimated total cost of the repairs is $652,000. Using only the acres within DD 175 (11,309 acres), cost would be $58 per acre. However, using common outlet acres (27,762 acres), the cost would be $23 per acre.

“When was the last time DD 175 was looked at?” Supervisor Craig Merrill questioned.

“June or July 2014 was the last time it was looked at,” Drainage Engineer Don Etler replied.

“If no one has looked at it since 2014, I think someone should go out and look at it, Supervisor Linus Solberg stated.

“What is the time frame for DD 175 if the construction company goes right away and we pay damages, can we have it done by Fall?” Merrill asked.

“It might take two months or more,” Etler responded.” There was no right-of-way purchased during the organization on DD 175, the best thing to do is to let the company begin right away and pay for any damages that occur.”

With some little discussion, unanimous approval was given (absent, Roger Faulstick), to set the Bid Letting and Hearing for DD 175 on Tuesday, April 27 at 2:00 pm at the Election Center.

Reclassification is currently underway in both drainage districts.