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Posted on September 17, 2019 at 11:58 AM by Ryan Hiniker
Drainage update 9/17/2019
Upcoming Drainage Hearings or Meetings:
Repair V.S. Improvement (6):
We left off last week with the engineer giving their final engineer’s report along with a new determination of benefits for the improvement. With an approved final plan and approved benefits listing, it is time to put this improvement out for public construction bid.
We publicly bid all improvement projects. We also publicly bid large repairs as well. There is a monetary threshold that we use to determine whether we need to publicly bid repairs or not. The public bid notices go out for a minimum of three weeks. The drainage authority, along with the appointed engineer, will open bids and make sure all bids are satisfactory and legal. After reviewing all bids, the winning bidder will be awarded and notified. The general contractor does have a certain window of time to complete the awarded project.
Compensation is paid to landowners who experience damages due to the construction of the project. Typically, damages are paid in a one-time payment. The damages take into consideration the reduction and loss of productivity for two years. These damages are calculated and tracked by the engineering firm. Damages can also include crop damages to current season crop or areas that exceed the easement area of construction.
Our project is bid and the contractor is awarded, hopefully breaking ground soon. What about the assessment for this project? We, Blue Earth County, start our assessments before the project is completed. We try not to run our drainage system accounts in the negative, and assessing ahead of time helps us keep on-top of those costs.
Once the project is completed and we have final costs submitted, we can then calculate damage payments. Typically damage payments come in the form of an assessment reduction, not an actual check. However, there are situations where the damages will outweigh the benefits of the project. In these situations, landowners are paid via check.
Now the project is complete, including televising if new tile was installed. The drainage authority will hold a Final Acceptance Hearing. This is the last of the series of improvement hearings and the final part of the improvement process. The public is invited to attend and make comments about the project. The engineer is also required to give their professional opinion on whether or not the project was constructed to their standards and specifications.
This concludes our educational journey of Repair vs. Improvement. Hopefully everyone learned a little bit from this brief explanation.
Recent Drainage Inspections – week of September 9 – September 13:
Just as a friendly reminder with the grass buffer areas along our county ditches, we ask that people please do not place rocks or any debris that may damage our contractor’s mower or sprayer equipment. We also ask that no equipment or permanent items be parked or left in this buffer area. We are completing the mowing and spraying as part of maintence and preserving the overall health of the ditch system. Please call or email with questions or concerns.
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.
Drainage Management Specialist