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Counties make changes in ditch repairs

April 4, 2013
By Fritz Busch - Staff Writer , The Journal

NEW ULM - The Brown County Board amended a Joint Ditch Authority resolution on Tuesday that increased the amount that can be spent on ditch repairs.

A joint work session between commissioners from Brown and Redwood counties worked out the details.

The proposed resolution raised repair amounts to $20,000 (up from $10,000) per occurrence and $30,000 (up from $20,000) per ditch, per calendar year and stipulated each county shall notify the other county's ditch authority of repairs in excess of $10,000 before repairs are made.

Redwood County commissioners, Ditch Inspector Brent Lang and County Attorney Steve Collins recommended the proposed resolution be amended to include only notifying the other county's ditch authority of such repairs but not stop such repairs from being made without JDA due notice and authorization.

"I don't want to look over the other county's shoulder (regarding ditch repairs)," Schueller said.

Lang said contractors need to keep busy when they are working in the field or they will move to other jobs if they have to wait for ditch authority meetings and approval.

"Brown County saved $12,000 on a joint ditch rip rap job last year when a contractor used material that was removed from another job," Lang said.

Discussing common concerns of the two county boards, Brown County Commissioner ??? Potter asked about how Minnesota Department of Natural Resource (DNR) state-owned land is valued in Redwood County re-determination projects.

Potter said he posed the question to the DNR Commissioner recently and was told such land was exempt, according to a Cottonwood County Court case.

The issue is a complex one in Brown County, regarding DNR property near Wood Lake, several miles east of Comfrey, where private property owners have complained the DNR controls the lake levels that are so high, they often flood driveways and farm fields.

Redwood County Commissioner Lon Walling said in a somewhat similar situation in Lincoln County, the DNR paid for cleaning out a double-wetland restoration and adding lift pumps that pushed water back into the ditch system.

Redwood County Commissioner John Schueller said it was important that property owners are assessed for the property ditch system, which is not always the case.

In turning to another issues, Redwood County Coordinator Vicki Knobloch said six townships have adopted garbage pickup programs that provide barrels at drop sites which are usually at township halls. Redwood County also provides township recycling.

"The more you recycle, the less (garbage) you dump or burn," Schueller said. "Lincoln County also has township recycling and garbage service. They installed a video cameras at site and illegal dumping stopped."

 
 

 

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