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Jun 10

Buffer Strip Tax Update

Posted on June 10, 2019 at 5:42 PM by Ryan Hiniker

Drainage update 6/10/2019


Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

  • No upcoming major hearings or meetings.                                                                                                                 

Project Updates:


  • CD48 (Cambria Twp.)  Two contractors have been on-site installing new HDPE tile trying to get this improvement finished up.  One crew is working on the north side of MN Highway 60 and the other is working to the west, on the south side of MN Highway 60.  If the weather cooperates, hopefully after another couple weeks all tile will be installed.    
  • JD09 (Le Ray Twp.)  No new updates to add at this time. 
  • JD34 (Le Ray Twp.)  Almost all checklist items have been repaired.  There are a few final items to complete and then some final televising.  Hopefully we can close this improvement project out yet this year. 
  • JD51 Waseca (Danville Twp.)  Multiple contractors have been busy on this ditch cleaning/repair.  We have one contractor doing some hydro-seeding and another making some final repairs to the open ditch.  I expect that this repair should be finished in the next couple weeks.  The water is flowing better than it has in a long time.  Things are looking really good on this open ditch system at the moment.  Photo below of hydro-seeding.                                          blog pic 3 hydro

Buffer Tax Relief:

In case you missed the information about buffer vegetative strips and tax credits,  I have an update that I came across over the weekend.  The tax relief for the buffer strips was not approved this last session, but representatives are hopeful for a new push with the next session of the Legislature. 

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz had proposed a $50-per-acre tax credit to farmers who were giving up land due to the buffer mandate.  Representatives from the state also came up with an idea of buffer strip tax exemption.  The difference between the two plans is around $7 million.  The property tax credit would cost the state around $15 million, where the tax exemption would only cost $8 million.  The loss of tax payments on the buffer lands would be paid out to the local tax jurisdictions by the state, which was part of the $8 million cost.

It seems like a “win-win”; landowners wouldn’t have to pay taxes on the buffer lands and counties would still get reimbursed for the lost taxes.  Some Minnesota agricultural groups aren’t overly concerned with which plan passes, so as long as there will be a plan in place.  Buffer land relief may have to wait until next year, but agricultural lands will be seeing relief from school bonding referendums in the form of tax credits that will increase over the next few years.                                                                                

Recent Drainage Inspections – week of June 3 – June 7:

  • JD15 (Jamestown Twp.)  We did some minor cleaning on the Blue Earth County portion of open ditch.  We are still hearing that a possible improvement is coming yet this year.  The improvement would be to make the current open ditch deeper and possibly wider and replace some road crossings and culverts.
  • CD35 (Mapleton Twp.)  We have finished with spot cleaning some areas of sloughing.  Some hydroseeding was done last week in an attempt to get some grass growing in the slough areas to help further support crumbling side banks.  
  • JD51 Was (Danville Twp.)  There are a few more tile outlets to fix and installation of a new area with a toe drain and things should be pretty well wrapped up for this repair.  Hydroseeding should be finished up also.
  • CD50 (Lincoln Twp.)  The finishing touches have been made to CSAH 32.  We had an old concrete county tile that had collapsed below the county road causing a large sink hole, and subsequently shutting the road down.  The new tile is installed and the road is open again.  There is a bump in the area of repair until the new asphalt is laid.  Photo below of road almost fully repaired.               blog pic 2
  • CD28 (Lincoln Twp.)  We are hoping to get a major tile repair job starting soon.  We also have a FEMA repair to complete that I looked at this week.
  • JD20 (Lyra Twp.)  Multiple areas of sink hole issues.
  • JD17 (Garden City Twp.)  Reports of two small sink holes.

We are seeing a fairly large amount of tile repairs coming in this time of year.  The unfortunate thing is we are still trying to work through our repair list from last year, 2018.  Please report issues you see on our public drainage systems, whether it’s a tile system or an open ditch system.  The repairs are usually fixed in the order they are received, so please don’t wait to let us know about issues you observe on public drainage systems, as the list grows daily.

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