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James River district awards nearly $193,000 in grants

Hutchinson County reclamation projects totalling $42,958 were among $192,958 in grants awarded Sept. 12 by the James River Water Development District board of directors at its Sept. 12 meeting in Aberdeen.

Three Hutchinson County projects qualified for the JRWDD funding, which was awarded as part of the JRWDD's cost sharing assistance program.

A $20,000 grant to the Hutchinson County Highway Department was used to replace culverts damaged by floods in Kassel Township, about seven miles north of Menno on public access land. The area is marked by steep terrain.

Hutchinson Highway Superintendent Joel Baumiller was attending a state meeting of county officials Monday in Spearfish and was unavailable for comment, but highway department employee Darrell Mehlhaff said the recently completed project slid smaller culverts inside damaged larger culverts. Concrete was then injected between the pipes to bond old and new units together to ensure against washout.

The development district awarded a total of $22,958 to two other Hutchinson County projects. They included:

• $22,394 to the Tschetter Colony, of rural Olivet, for the installation of "rip-rap" or loose stone.

• $564 to Lynn Harnisch, of Foster Township, in northern Hutchinson County, for dam repairs to extend the life of the spillway and slow water releases into the James River.

In both cases the funding amounts will be matched by the landowners.

Other funded projects included $100,000 to the town of Yale for wastewater improvements; and $50,000 for the city of Aberdeen to construct a filter berm on the Elm River north of the city's water plant.

In other business, the board approved a 2014 operations budget of $964,793, after a brief public hearing. No public comment was received at that hearing.

The development district will request $958,893 in property taxes, which are payable in 2014. The JRWDD has requested the same amount for the past five years, District CFO Judy Smoyer said, and will not ask for any of its allowable increases this year, for inflation or estimated growth.