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Supervisors hear drainage update

July 25, 2012
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer , Estherville Daily News

The Emmet County Board of Supervisors Tuesday heard an update on legislation impacting Iowa drainage districts.

John Torbert, Iowa Drainage District Association executive director, in his annual update with the board recapped an Iowa Supreme Court decision favoring a dispute between a railroad and drainage district. Torbert said the court ruled that the railroad had improperly sought compensation from the county and that the railroad was responsible for maintaining its own right of way.

Torbert said he believed the railroad would appeal the decision.

In another case, Torbert noted a judge had ruled that the Iowa Department of Natural Resources had withheld evidence that weed spraying had not led to a fish kill.

And on the federal level, Torbert said the U.S. Supreme Court had told the Environmental Protection Agency that it could not regulate wetlands. However, he said the EPA was trying to use the rules process to get jurisdiction of all waters in the U.S. - which would include farm ponds and drainage ditches. Torbert said counties would then have to go to the state to do any drainage work.

In other business Tuesday, Nancy Danielson of Blum Leonard Agency Inc. presented the board with a Workers Compensation insurance dividend of $2,605.

The board approved making Aimee Devereaux, county environmental health specialist, a county employee rather than contracted services consultant. County nurse Kathy Preston made the request and said Devereaux's salary would still be under budget.

The board approved the change, pending approval by the board of health.

The board also approved the Public Health Emergency Response Plan. Also approved was appointment of Mary Ann Hoffmeyer to the zoning board.

The board also approved utilities construction permits to Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative in Denmark Township and to Oak Hill Consulting, Inc. of Burnsville to install fiber optic cable in Armstrong Grove Township.

Penny Clayton, City of Estherville administrator, requested and received a utility easement along the Eagle Lake Building on the fairgrounds.

The board also discussed concerns regarding snow removal on the county museum grounds. The city is installing new sidewalk on both the north and east sides of the museum.



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