"There are so many trees on the ditch that we couldn't evaluate what dirt work would be needed."
With those words, drainage engineer Rick Hopper of Jacobson-Westergard explained the problems with Drainage Ditch Five for the Palo Alto County Supervisors on April 2.
A petition for repair to the ditch had been filed in 2012, and Hopper was appointed by the board to look into the district. At the same time, petitions for repairs to DD159 and DD160, which feed into DD5, were also filed, and Hopper was directed to look at all three ditches, which are located northwest of Emmetsburg.
"Looking at DD5, it was created in 1911, and had a small cleanout in 1950,"?Hopper noted. "Now, we saw 2-3 feet of silt, but couldn't really survey it properly for all of the trees."
Hopper recommended complete tree removal along the ditch, which ruse through sections 4,9 and 10 of Emmetsburg Township and sections 32-33 of Walnut Township.
"We found similar tree growth on DD's 159 and 160, so we recommend that all the trees on all three ditches be removed as stage one of any work,"?Hopper recommended.
As far as a cost for the tree removal, Hopper estimated costs at $137,000 for DD5 alone, an average of $20 per acre. For DD159, the cost was estimated at $3,557, or roughly $7 per acre, and in DD160, the cost was estimated at $11,000, roughly $18.50 per acre.
"One the trees are out of there, we can go in and put together the estimate for the dirt work for all three ditches,"?Hopper noted.
"Would there be a chance on the two smaller ditches that we could do that with our long-stick excavator program?"?Board Chair Ron Graettinger asked. "It could keep the costs down to the landowners in those districts."
"That's a good idea,"?Hopper agreed. "They don't look like they'd require as much dirt work and are relatively short in length, so that might work out much better."
With that, the board accepted Hopper's reports on the three districts and set a public hearing for 11 a.m. on Tuesday, June 4 on the project, with a bid opening at 11:30 for the tree removal on the ditches.
In other business at the April 2 meeting, the Supervisors were informed that the bids for the final $5 million road construction bond had been received.
"The bids were due at 10 a.m. and the county received five bids total for the bonds,"?Palo Alto County Engineer Joel Fantz reported. "The low bid for the bonds was submitted by FTN Financial Capital Network, who submitted a bid of an interest rate of 1.410745 percent."
Tabulation of the bond interest bids ranged from the low of 1.410745 percent to a high of 1;665686 percent.
"These bids were very good,"?Fantz said. "We weren't really sure what we would see, but these bids look very, very good."
The supervisors approved the bid for the bond interest, which will finance the construction and paving of the north and south bypass road projects.