Le Sueur Co. board transfers ditch to Montgomery

Jake Keohen

Staff Writer

The Le Sueur County Board of Commissioners, acting as drainage authority for County Ditch #22, has transferred control of a major portion of the waterway to the City of Montgomery.

The action was taken following a public hearing on the matter held during the regular county board meeting Tuesday, Sept. 27.

County Ditch #22 is located primarily in the City of Montgomery, originating in the area of the Seneca Foods plant, following a course to the west, with a spur to the southwest, and then proceeding north under County Road 26 on the west side of Highway 13 to a point north of County Road 142 when it joins another ditch system. The transfer includes the the entire ditch with the exception of Spur B.

Speakers at the public hearing included Attorney Kurt Deter of the Rinke-Noonan law firm of St. Cloud, legal counsel for the county in ditch-related matters, who explained that the city petitioned the county for the transfer of jurisdictional control of #22, with the exception of Spur B; Doug Parrott of Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc., engineering firm for the city; City Attorney Tim Warnemunde; City Administrator Mike Martin; and Charles Richter of Montgomery, who owns land in the area of Spur B and was concerned about maintenance of the ditch.

There was no opposition to the transfer.

Parrott said some of the positive aspects of the transfer included increased efficiency since the ditch is located in the city, access to city staff, local responsibility, local monitoring, access to state and federal funding, and protection of the rights of all. Both he and Attorney Warnemunde stressed that the city's petition for transfer is no reflection on past management of the system. Warnemunde also commented that Spur B was not being included in the transfer since that is the least developed area of the city.

The order for transfer indicates that the city would pay $15,000 into the County Ditch #22 fund, with a portion (approximately $4,000) to be used to eliminate existing debt in the fund, with the balance to be divided between the city and county on an 80-20 basis for future maintenance and repair.

Also at Tuesday's meeting

• County Engineer Darrell Pettis reported that work on Le Sueur CSAH 28/Rice CSAH 2 has been delayed because of the wet conditions, but the contractor hopes to start paving on the Rice County side by the end of this week.

• John Zimmerman of the parks committee presented a request for the county to accept donation of a small piece of property in downtown Waterville for park usage. Following discussion the board agreed by consensus the property should remain under city jurisdiction.

• The board accepted a repair request for County Ditch #40 in Montgomery Township.

• Commissioners Bill Stangler and Joe Doherty were appointed to serve on the joint Mankato Airport Zoning Board.

• County Coordinator Roxy Traxler said the Le Sueur County Emergency Operations Plan was being sent to the state for approval.

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