The construction of a waterway will lead to some improvements to a drainage district, following action by the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors on Oct. 9. Additional discussion on the pending state mental health redesign also took place during the session.
Tim Moran and Jeremy Thilges of the Natural Resource Conservation Service brought the board a proposal for a waterway construction project in Section 20 of Vernon Township. The area is located two miles north of Five Island Lake and lies in Lateral P of Drainage District 64.
"Basically, we have 800 feet of eight-inch tile that lies one to 1.3 feet deep, right where the waterway needs to be," Moran explained to the board members. "What we are proposing, with your approval, is to relocated 825 feet of Lateral P with 10-inch plastic, three and a half feet deep for a 1.5 percent grade. And, this will be done at no expense to the drainage district."
A few questions were asked by the board, but in short order Supervisor Ed Noonan moved to authorize the NRCS plan, which was approved on a unanimous vote of the board.
In other business, the board visited with Mental Health Director Maureen Sandberg about developments in the ongoing state mental health redesign.
Several weeks ago, Sandberg asked the board if it would favor joining a mental health regional group of some 11 counties in the northwest corner of the state. At that time, the board indicated it would support such a move. But on Tuesday, Sandberg informed the board that in the last week, Woodbury, Plymouth, Sioux and Cherokee counties formed their own mental health region for the redesign.
"While I was at my meeting in DesMoines last week, I visited with other CPC's from the Seasons' counties, and they are all looking at setting up a region of their own, like we've talked about," Sandberg said. "I don't want to join the region to the east, because they already have 22 counties there."
"How are the counties make a decision on all this?" Board Chair Keith Wirtz asked. "We don't know what the rules for these regions are or anything. This is the time when we need to be jumping all over the Legislature to get these rules and such decided. The levy rate isn't set, so how are we supposed to think about budgeting?"
"We brought this idea up at the last Seasons meeting about forming a region and no one said anything," noted Supervisor Jerry Hofstad.
"Well, I would certainly be in favor of that," Wirtz said.
While the board agreed that the region idea was worth pursuing, the lack of guidance from the state in terms of the region's rules of operations, levy rates and the like were making the decision difficult, at best.
"You know, I'm really starting to feel sorry for this dead horse," Noonan quipped. "We just keep beating this over and over and we're not getting anywhere."
The discussion ended with the board agreeing with Sandberg that a region of the seven Seasons member counties would be the best option for the county.