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Nov 20

Tax and Assessment Time

Posted on November 20, 2017 at 4:01 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 11/20/2017


Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

On Tuesday, November 21, the County Board of Commissioners, as the County Drainage Authority, will review and act upon the 2018 proposed assessments. For more information, read below and review the board's agenda.


Project Updates


  • CD28 (Lincoln Twp.)  Crews are just about finished with the final checklist things.  Televising the new pipe was completed last week.  No major issues were seen from the videos and things seem to be flowing great.  I expect crews should be finished this week and completely done with this project. Our new notch weir is completed.cd28 new notch weir



  • CD12 (Mankato Twp.)  Brunz Construction has all of the open ditch cleaned and all new crossings installed.  It’s amazing to see how much difference this cleaning project has made.  The contractor is still working on installing some WASCOB’s at strategic points along the open ditch.  These new WASCOB’s should help prevent large amounts of unwanted sediment from entering the ditch.
  • JD34 (LeRay Twp.)  The contractor on this improvement project is doing very well with installing the new pipe.  The Contractor also has the new sediment / retention pond installed and storing water.  Photo below of new sediment pond.JD34 2017 impr 3


Drainage Budget Season:

Well it’s that time of year again…tax and assessment season.  As many of you know, taxes and assessments are necessary in the drainage world to pay for improvements and/or repairs for public drainage projects.  Cities/towns, the county, and schools also use taxes to pay for operating costs, repairs, and general operations. 

When it comes to public drainage at Blue Earth County, we try to budget to keep our public drainage accounts in the positive.  For multiple reasons, we (Drainage Authority) try to keep each of our ditch systems separate and the balance in those separate accounts positive.  This helps with reporting and auditing.  

ow do we go about achieving that positive balance?  Each individual ditch system has a watershed boundary.  We use the total benefitted acres inside that watershed boundary and multiply that number by $8 per benefited acre to come up with a target amount.   So as an example, say ditch system CD999 has 1,429 benefited acres in the watershed…we take 1,429 X $8 = $11,432.  The $11,432 is the minimum balance we like to keep as available funds in the account.  We do this for every single ditch system's spending account. It is our general rule of thumb.

What happens if we have repairs costs that exceed what’s available in the account or have a system that falls below our targeted amount?  We then will have to put levies on the individual ditch system to replenish that money spent for repairs.  This becomes an assessment. 

What happens if we have a really large unexpected repair and not enough money in the account to cover?  We can borrow against the County's general fund account to pay for repairs during the season. The general fund dollars are a loan that needs to be paid back.

As we get ready to set the next year's assessments, we look for potential repairs and operating costs for the next year.  We try to figure out what systems will have upcoming costs to them so we can levy ahead of time, trying to keep that drainage system's balance positive.  Most of the time these potential costs are an estimate, but we do our best to not overcharge either.  It's like trying to predict the weather when we try to predict potential repairs, but I feel the staff and the Blue Earth County Drainage Authority does an excellent job of trying to keep reasonable system account balances. 

After the board makes its final decisions, those assessment will show up on the 2018 Property Tax Statements, to be mailed in late March 2018. 


Recent Drainage Inspections – week of November 13 – November 17:


  • CD76 (McPherson Twp.)  Preparing for televising this system.  I go out ahead of the contractors, marking spots that we want to dig out and get access into the tile line to televise to see what issues, if any, are going on.
  • CD28 (Lincoln Twp.)  Inspecting final checklist things from the improvement project.  We also have a separate repair petition on a portion of CD28 on an all-tile area.  We will be televising this area of concern also.
  • CD66 (Beauford Twp.)  Televising this tile system.
  • JD45 (Mapleton Twp.)  We will be televising a smaller portion of this all-tile system that’s just south and west of the city of Mapleton.
  • CD12 (Mankato Twp.)  Inspected the new crossings that were installed earlier in the week.  New WASCOB’s are being installed as we speak.
  • JD49 (Sterling Twp.)  I was called out yet again for another issue with beavers.  I confirmed two different spots in the open ditch that have active beaver dams on them. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone...enjoy the holiday with your friends and family.


Please call with issues you observe on our public drainage system, as there is a lot of open ditch and tile in our county and only two of us in the drainage department.  We will do our absolute best to service your issues and concerns as we receive them.


We require that all repairs to a county drainage system (tile or open ditch) be authorized by one us in the drainage office, either Craig or myself, before any repairs are made.




Ryan Hiniker

Drainage Management Specialist