Le Sueur County Commissioners continue ditch lien hearings

Jake Keohen, Montgomery Messenger

The Le Sueur County Board of Commissioners held three additional county ditch lien public hearings during its regular meeting Tuesday, June 27 at the courthouse in Le Center. Following individual proposals presented by County Auditor Ron Germscheid, the board set liens on the ditches to clear up old debt and provide a cushion, or pad, for future expenditures as follows:

Ditch #44, which begins west of Lake Pepin in Lanesburgh Township, will have a five-year 30 percent lien against properties on the system, providing a pad of $9,000. All owners of properties benefitting from the ditch were listed in a handout from Germscheid.

Ditch #48, starting north of Richter’s Woods County Park in Montgomery Township, will get back to financial stability with a four-year 50 percent lien, which will allow for a surplus of $7,300.

Ditch #35, beginning in Montgomery Township and flowing to Lake Pepin, has a large debt which Germscheid proposed clearing with an eight-year 100 percent lien, allowing for a pad of $3,400.

Concerning the overall situation with ditch expenses and benefits to property owners, Germscheid commented, “We hope to get the ditch account in the black by next year — we cannot continue to borrow against the general fund for ditch expenses. The ditch account is currently in the red by about $100,000 and the state auditors do not look favorably on that situation.”

Members of the county board complimented Germscheid for his expertise in working with the ditch systems and the property owners who benefit from the waterways.

Property owners may pay ditch lien assessments in full or have the balance applied to property taxes.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting:

• Bernie Baumann, representing the Waterville Lakes Association, was given approval to make application to the Three Rivers Resource Conservation & Development Council for help with weed control in lakes Tetonka and Sakatah.

• The board approved the Le Sueur County 2006-2015 Local Water Management Plan as presented by Lauren Klement, environmental resources specialist. The plan lists priority concerns such as impaired waters (Volney, Tetonka, Sakatah), wastewater treatment, stormwater management, protection of undeveloped shorelines, drinking water protection, drainage management and reducing contamination from agricultural sources.

• Jail Administrator Larry Sycks presented the repeater site agreement for using space on the City of Montgomery water tower, which should improve communications between New Prague, Montgomery and Waterville on the county’s east side. Sycks said Montgomery is not charging the county for leasing the antenna space.

• Victim Witness Coordinator Vicki Walecha was given approval to accept a $45,000 grant to fund her department for the next year.

• The board acknowledged receipt of the German Jefferson Advisory Sewer Board Engineering Cost Analysis Report.

Next meeting July 11

The next meeting of the county board will be Tuesday, July 11. The courthouse is closed for the Fourth of July holiday Tuesday, July 4.

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