Commissioners debate future drainage moves“Drainage problems are like a house with a leaky roof,” Davison County Drainage Administrator Dan Sudrla told the Davison County commissioners during their regular Tuesday meeting at the courthouse in Mitchell. “It’s only a problem when it’s raining.”
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
“Drainage problems are like a house with a leaky roof,” Davison County Drainage Administrator Dan Sudrla told the Davison County commissioners during their regular Tuesday meeting at the courthouse in Mitchell. “It’s only a problem when it’s raining.”
For many residents with water issues, it’s raining.
Sudrla, who also handles zoning and 911 issues for the county, said only four drainage permits have been issued in the county in recent months, but appeals to some county drainage boards have increased dramatically elsewhere in the state and drainage issues are here to stay.
The commissioners set 9:30 a.m. June 21 as the time and date to discuss revisions to the county drainage ordinance.
The current ordinance, Sudrla said, requires all permit applications to go through the county drainage board, which consists of the county commissioners. He said a revised plan, in part, will allow for quicker administrative issuance of simple permits, which could potentially speed the permit process for residents.
A major drainage precept is that any water that is drained should not aversely affect downstream properties. Determining the extent of that effect can be the tricky part, Sudrla said.
Sudrla presented the commissioners with letters sent to area residents to determine the amount of interest in doing a county drainage project in land east, west and south of the of 407th Avenue and 249th Street intersection.
The water table in that area is extremely high, he said, and has posed problems for at least one building project. In his letter, Sudrla estimates a professional study will cost about $4,500 to $5,000.
“I wanted to let people know that there may be costs involved and they may have to participate in cost-sharing,” he said.
A similar letter was sent to residents who live near flooded property east, west and south of the 406th Avenue and 248th Street intersection. That area is smaller in size, Sudrla said, so any study would probably cost less, but no estimate has been determined.
Commissioner Denny Kiner doubted the need for expensive studies. He said drainage issues can get complex, “but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to determine that water runs downhill.”
Sudrla said a professional study could help the county determine who benefits most from a drainage project. Those who receive the most benefit would be charged the most for any remedy. He also pointed out that the commissioners could also authorize a study and allocate the expenses to property owners.
Commission Chairman John Claggett said the county needs a drainage plan, which could be a better guide for future development.
Kiner said appealing to the Drainage Board should be a last resort.
“All people affected need to talk before it even comes to us,” he said. “Neighbors need to talk to neighbors.” A plan should not be so cumbersome that people refrain from using it, which is often the case with the current drainage ordinance, Kiner added.
Sudrla said many current drainage woes arose when people built on wetland areas.
“There are wetlands all over the county and that’s the reason people are having trouble with water,” he said. Permits are required when doing any work in a floodplain, he said.
In other business, Harry Redman, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) coordinator for Planning and Development District III in Yankton, showed the commissioners how GIS innovations could make real estate and mapping and planning information more readily available to the public.
Redman said the proposed new system would allow people to search and view maps of properties throughout the county by owner name, address or parcel number. The system would also allow anyone to view aerial or oblique street-level photographs of city streets throughout the county.
By entering basic information, the system has the ability to call up and outline a queried property on a map in a matter of seconds.
The advanced GIS system can also incorporate tax assessment and other information and allow researchers to download data to Excel files for future use.
Auditor Susan Kiepke said the new system would prove valuable during the periodic redrawing of voter districts.
Redman said the system would allow real estate and other professionals to access needed information without going to the Equalization Office. Limited information on property deeds could also be included.
It’s not clear at this time whether a subscriber fee would, or could, be charged for business access to more detailed information.
The county’s initial cost to participate in the program would be about $9,500 Redman said, and subsequent annual fees to Planning and Development District III would be $3,500.
The commissioners will consider the proposal further in an upcoming meeting.
In other business, the commissioners:
• Heard from Highway Superintendent Rusty Weinberg, who reported that the repaving of County Highway 16 (West Havens Avenue) from Ohlman Street to Betts Road (403rd Avenue) will be completed this week. Final restriping of the road will be completed later this summer.
• Approved the purchase of a 1987 fuel truck from Schmidt’s Oil Company of Tyndall for $7,500. The truck, which has a 2,000-gallon capacity, will be used to fuel county road equipment more efficiently, Weinberg said. The current refueling system requires multiple trips with a pickup.
• Approved the transfer of $150,000 of the State Transportation Improvement Program funds to the county road and bridge fund.
Weinberg wanted to use the money to put a 2-inch lift of asphalt on 247th Street from Highway 37 to Loomis, but that would require an additional $370,000 the county doesn’t have.
• Approved the low bid of $3.38 a gallon for 3,000 gallons of unleaded gasoline and 7,300 gallons of No. 2 diesel fuel from Meyers Oil.
• Approved a low bid of $67,552 from Danko Emergency Equipment of Snyder, Neb., for four AC/DC emergency sirens for Yankton County and two DC emergency sirens for Hutchinson County. Davison County is the lead county for the administration of area Homeland Security funds.
• Opened bids from Weathercraft Roofing, of Chamberlain, and Pro-Tec Roofing and Sheet Metal, of Watertown, for roofing the courthouse and the county highway shop on the Highway 37 bypass.
The county received just one bid, from Paulson Sheet Metal, of Mitchell, for the installation of a new heating system for the highway shop.
Maintenance Supervisor Mark Ruml will review the bids and make acceptance recommendations at next week’s commission meeting.
Ruml recommended re-bidding a contract for replacement windows for the highway shop after multiple questions from prospective bidders about contract specifications.
No bids had been received on the windows; Ruml said prospective bidders were OK about waiting until more detailed specifications are published.
The major cost of the improvements will be covered through an energy conservation block grant administered through the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.
• Designated as surplus some old unused desks and the old counter in the Register of Deeds office — once that item is replaced with a new counter — and approved their sale for $1 to CASA for use in its new offices.
• Spent about two hours in closed executive sessions with Treasurer Brenda Sanders and her employees. No discussion followed and no commission action was taken, and The Daily Republic’s requests for further information were refused.
• Approved the use of a Bluetooth telephone system for Sudrla. Sudrla moved to offices on the main floor of the courthouse recently, but his zoning work often takes him downstairs to research properties in the Equalization Office. County residents often don’t leave voicemail messages on zoning or drainage issues, he said. The new headset was offered to give Sudrla telephone access wherever he might be in the courthouse.