Do You Want Your Taxes Raised?Editor’s Note: Due to the length of this letter, it is being printed in two parts. The conclusion of this letter will appear in the August 30 issue of The Democrat. To The Citizens of Emmetsburg The former City Manager, one
Editor’s Note: Due to the length of this letter, it is being printed in two parts. The conclusion of this letter will appear in the August 30 issue of The Democrat.
To The Citizens of Emmetsburg
The former City Manager, one City Council Member and two Emmetsburg property owners filed a petition in June 2014 for improvements to Drainage District 180, which includes land in the eastern part of the City as well as farmland east of town.
The County Board of Supervisors as Trustees for this Drainage District hired an engineering firm to study the situation and present a proposal. We attended the hearing on this proposal in December 2017 and again on August 8 of this year. Estimated assessed costs for each owner were presented at this last meeting. The engineer’s estimate is $1.5 million for improvements. While there is no question there are drainage problems with some of the property owners in the eastern part of the City, we feel this cost is far too costly for the citizens of Emmetsburg and the farmland owners to pay.
In 2006 there was a similar proposal presented. The City of Emmetsburg administration supported this proposal for future development in the area of the Wild Rose Casino. We have yet to see that development. We and Phil Stillman represented the farmland owners and addressed the City Council, saying if the City would provide an additional $100,000 towards the project, the farmland owners would allow it to proceed. We were flatly rejected and told the City would provide no additional funds. We opposed the proposal and the two who signed the petition for improvements withdrew their petition and the proposal was terminated.
The engineer of the proposed project estimates that the cost of the proposed improvement has now doubled in the past twelve years. Emmetsburg’s share is now estimated to be over $225,000 and the engineer at the hearing August 8 admitted that even if this project is completed, some people in the City might still have water in their basements after periods of heavy rain.
Most of the farmland owners are opposed to this project as it will provide only minimal relief to them and feel they will be assessed for drainage problems in the City that could have been remedied twelve years ago at half the cost. With the cost of raising corn, soybeans and hogs now below the cost of production, this is not the time for such huge assessments.
(signed)Larry J. Neppl
(signed)Ruth A. Neppl