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Tree issues causing county ditch headaches

By Staff | May 20, 2012

The Faribault County Board of Commissioners met May 15 and talked ditch projects.

County ditch inspector, John Meyer, came to the meeting to discuss ongoing projects concerning ditches with the commissioners at Tuesday morning’s meeting.

One hot topic was spraying the trees which then fall into the ditches and affect drainage and erosion.

“The problem is, we are spraying these trees and then not following up,”?commissioner Tom Loveall says.

The issue at hand is that Meyer works on inspecting the ditches for these issues, but there are so many ditches he alone is unable to keep up with them all.

“Maybe we should come up with a general maintenance policy for areas with trees,” commissioner Bill Groskreutz adds.

The policy would include that the property owner takes on a certain amount of responsibility for the maintenance of the trees in the ditches on their land.

County Commissioner Tom Warmka brought up the fact that a couple of the neighboring counties have switched to treeless policies.

Loveall didn’t think that was necessary for Faribault County but he did feel that they need to come up with a more efficient way to handle the situation.

“This seems like something we need to work through during a work session,” Loveall adds.

Although, he did feel they should only spray trees that need it most, making it easier to follow up with the fallen trees.

“With an approach like that we need to make sure we avoid favoritism amongst landowners when we decide which trees we’re going to look at,”?commissioner Groskreutz adds.

Meyer also updated the board on the status of the budget for all of these projects.

“We’re at about $86,000 in our ditch repairs,”?Meyer says.

His concern was whether or not they would have to hold a hearing if they had intended on spending anymore money to finish.

“There are only a few limits and we would only really need to get bids for anything over $100,000,” County Auditor John Thompson says.

Some of the commissioners then had concerns that not all the ditches that needed attention were going to receive it.

“We need to be diligent about this now,” Warmka says. “We need to get our ducks in a row when it comes to projects like this.”

Meyer agreed and added that he was asking advice on how they should continue.

“I?think we should take care of where ever needs the most work first,”?Warmka says.

Other business;

The comprehensive plan with Region Nine was on the meeting agenda to be considered.

The contract had been approved, however, some commissioners still had questions regarding the cities involved.

The board members wanted to have another look at the contract again taking into consideration which cities are going to participate and which may not.

John McDonald came to the board of commissioners with public works department business .

The work on County Road 126 bridge is finished.

“The bridge looks good,”?Loveall says.

The contract for this project also included the work that will be done on the bridge on CSAH 2 which is west of Hwy 169. The contract covered a total of $977,358, the bridge on 126 cost $579,134.41 and the work on CSAH 2 cost $386,308.06.

The total for both projects came out to $965,442.47, which was 1.3 percent under the contract amount.

McDonald asked for a motion to approve the final payment amount of $31,124.27 to M & K?Bridge Construction.

Public works also took bids on seal-coat oil. The highest bid came in at $414,880. The lowest came in from HG?Meges, of Eau Claire, at $357,342.30

“I was worried the costs would sky rocket from last year,”?McDonald says.

However, costs had only increased by 5 percent over the last year.

The board of commissioners voted and awarded the contract to HG?Meges, which came highly recommended from Dodge and Olmstead County.