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Palo Alto County Supervisors Discuss Drainage

January 10, 2020
Emmetsburg News

The Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors held two hearings on Drainage District 23 and set a completion hearing for Drainage District 23 during their regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 7.

The Supervisors went into closed session for a conference call with Bob Goodwin, attorney for the Supervisors regarding litigation on Drainage District 180 per Iowa Code Section 21.5(1)(c) at 8:09 a.m. and returned from closed session at 8:44 a.m.

A completion hearing for Drainage District 23 has been set for Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 9:00 a.m. in the Boardroom of the Courthouse.

Rick Hopper, Engineer from Jacobson-Westergard of Estherville, as well as 10 landowners, were on hand to discuss Drainage District 23 Lateral 19 Extension.

"Last summer, Mary Greene was in and requested that the Supervisors take over a private tile that several landowners had put in in the early 1900s," Hopper began.

According to Mary, the Greene family had been maintaining the tile and other areas that were using the tile to drain lands were not helping maintain the upkeep.

Mary asked that the Supervisors takeover the private tile and handle the upkeep going forward.

"The Supervisors had asked that I do a study," Hopper stated. "I am recommending that the Supervisors take over the private tile and become the trustees. Across N28, new tile has been put in and the existing tile can be hooked into the new tile giving the lands which are already drained by the existing tile better drainage going forward."

Hopper also presented an appraisal report for the cost of permanent right-of-way for ingress, egress and maintenance of the tile. The report has an appraised cost of zero dollars per acre.

"The reason there is no payment for the right-of-way easement is because nothing really changes," Hopper explained. "The landowner will still use the surface round as it has always been used, farming over top of the tile."

"Is this just for an easement or is there any cost?" Roger Williamson, landowner questioned.

"This is just for the easement," Hopper replied.

"Wouldn't this be the time to add the rest of this tile to the county tile?" Williamson asked.

"Now is the best time," Hopper said.

Hopper was asked by the Supervisors to look in to the two miles of tile farther to the west.

The next drainage hearing was the annexation of 110.78 acres owned between three landowners into Drainage District 23. An objection was filed by Judith Garrelts, with Mike Garrelts representing Judith at the meeting.

"Years ago, a private ditch was dug through the sections you are proposing be annexed into DD 23," Garrelts began. "Where the blue line stops on the paper is exactly where the private ditch starts, and it runs south into Silver Creek. The ditch was put in to pull water away from DD 23."

Hopper is going to look at the lidar pictures of this area again and is going to get to the area in question as soon as he can.

The annexation of the 110.78 acres was tabled and a continuation date was set for February 4.

Landowner Kip Fehr was in to discuss Drainage District 80 and the possible clean out of trees from the West Fork of the Des Moines River.

According to Hopper, the Army Corp of Engineers has given the go ahead to remove trees that have fallen into the river or are ready to fall.

"By taking out the trees, the river should correct itself," Hopper said. "We really cannot do anything until a reclassification is complete so that there is a way to pay for all of the work."

Kip Fehr is going to share a letter he has received from the Army Corp of Engineers stating the river is the open ditch of DD 80.

The sandbars can be removed and since the river is considered the drainage ditch, they have no jurisdiction over what it done.

In other business Jamey Whitney, Upper Des Moines Opportunity presented the annual update and request for FY 20-21.



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