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Nov 23

Gobble, Gobble...

Posted on November 23, 2016 at 5:52 PM by Michael Stalberger

Drainage update 11/25/2016


Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:

*Two informational landowner meetings on the same day, December 8, 2016.

JD34 (LeRay Twp.) 10am at City of Eagle Lake - City Hall, 705 Parkway Avenue, Eagle Lake, December 8th.  Informational meeting about upcoming repairs to system.

CD12 (Mankato Twp.) 2:30pm in the 3rd floor meeting room of the Blue Earth County Historic Courthouse, 204 S. 5th Street, Mankato, December 8th. informational meeting about changes to system.



Project updates:

·        CD34 (Judson Twp.)  This project is done; the contractor for this project is finished with installing new pipe, and is finishing up a few last small items on the punch list.  They did a great job this year with less than great working conditions.  We thank you, Cooreman Contracting, for your hard work.

·        CD28 (Lincoln Twp.)  Geislinger and Sons Contracting has been working on this project for little over a week now.  As of November 22, the crews had in a little over 1,000 feet of new pipe installed.  There currently are three crews on site working independently of each other, trying to get enough pipe in the ground to start draining the standing water over winter.  Conditions had been somewhat decent lately, until the rains and sleet moved into the area, causing the crews to shut down for a few days.  Crews are starting to get into areas of existing old pipe, so some cross connecting of old and new are expected. This will keep dewatering efforts going.


End of Year Budget Crunching:


Hard to believe, but 2016 is almost over; what a blur of a year.  Record-breaking rains all across the county this year left us with a record-breaking number of repairs to deal with.  Some of these were large scale projects, but most are smaller one or two day repairs all over the county.  Along with doing all these repairs comes a cost.  How do we, (the county) manage these costs or budget for them?

By state law, we are obligated to maintain the public drainage systems - open ditch or tile system.  We are also statutorily obligated to set levies to pay for these repairs on the public drainage systems. 

We have a small group that meets annually to try to estimate what the repairs or costs will be associated with each and every ditch or county tile system.  We also try to maintain a small balance in each drainage system account for unforeseen repairs or instances.  If we know we will have some bills or costs coming to a particular drainage system, we try and get a solid estimate of what it will cost to make repairs or improvements. This group meets to go through drainage systems, one at a time, to analyze what costs will be and have been to attempt to make accurate levy recommendations for the coming year.

We propose a levy for those costs on that particular drainage system. A levy is an amount we will collect as part of the next year's property tax bill. Each property owner on the drainage system pays their share based on their share of benefited acres within that system.

Our small group, made up of Taxpayer Services Department staff, County Administration, and County Commissioners, are the ones that meet to decide how we set the levies to pay back the drainage system accounts.  We don’t like operating our drainage system accounts in the negative, because there would be no funds to make needed repairs.  We also don’t like having too much money sitting in an account because we recognize it’s taxpayer funds that statutorily can’t be refunded.  

The county's Drainage Authority - through the County Board of Commissioners - will officially adopt these levy recommendations at a later board meeting.

Each county has a different way of doing their levy process.  Each county can create their own levy formula to make sure their drainage accounts are not operating in the negative.  This process also helps to make repairs and improvements a more efficient process by preventing systems from operating with a negative account balance.  It’s just a necessity to provide a public drainage system.



Recent Drainage Inspections – week of November 21 – November 25:


No inspections this week really, other than stopping in on current projects or repairs.  With the record-setting rains of this year, it’s only natural that we also have record-setting repairs to make.  We have had a lot of repairs from this season's storms, and trying to get them all done before the end of the year is no easy task.  I currently have five different contractors working on different projects or repairs all at the same time.  We have actually considered adding a sixth contractor to try to get the list of repairs done.


Upcoming Drainage Inspections:

·         CD56 (Garden City Twp. & Lincoln Twp.)

·         JD38 (Sterling Twp.)

·         JD49 (Sterling Twp.)

·         CD78 (Vernon Center Twp.)

·         CD01 (McPherson Twp.)

·         CD93 (Decoria Twp.)

Please call with issues you observe, 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.


Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!
Hope everyone has a safe holiday season with their families and friends.  I know I’ll be looking for my comfortable sweatpants for two days of eating.
turkey 2



             Ryan Hiniker
Drainage Management Specialist