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Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

Drainage district off to good start

Wednesday, June 5, 2002

BENTON - The formation of a consolidated circuit court drainage district for Scott County east of Highway 61 appears to be off to a good start.

The meeting held Monday evening at the courthouse to discuss forming the drainage district was reviewed by county commissioners during Tuesday's county commission meeting along with other flood-related topics.

Martin Priggel, presiding commissioner, estimated more than 100 people including representatives from the city of Sikeston attended.

During the meeting a drainage district committee was formed with about a dozen members from around the county but officials hope to see a few more members added from unrepresented areas. "We've come up with a real good core group to start the drainage district," said Commissioner Jamie Burger.

Bob Laseter of Blodgett will serve as chairman and John Felter of Benton will be co-chair.

Priggel said the next step for the committee will be determining boundaries for the proposed district.

The drainage district "would be a big help to Mini Farms and other county subdivisions that are built in these low, flood-prone areas," according to Priggel. He added that it would not help right away, however. "It would take a few years to get it up and in operation enough to make a difference."

Looking at other options, some Mini Farms residents reportedly volunteered to pitch in and haul dirt for the construction of a four-foot high levee running along the north side of County Highway 472 to divert water to the St. John's Ditch. Water is crossing the road to enter Mini Farms.

Mini Farms residents were encouraged to also look into the possibility of forming a neighborhood improvement district which may provide a solution sooner. Commissioners offered to help organize a meeting to begin that process as well.

A neighborhood improvement district, which could be formed by a petition of two-thirds of the subdivision's residents, would enable residents to tax themselves and use the money to build a private levee around the subdivision and pump water out, according to Priggel.

Presently Mini Farms residents pay taxes to the Sikeston Special Road District but do not have any drainage taxes, according to officials. The only subdivision in Scott County commissioners found that actually pays a drainage tax was in a 25-acre subdivision which pays a total of 2 cents each year.

Commissioners also encouraged Scott County residents to add their support for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' St. John's Bayou and New Madrid Floodway Project which would close the remaining gap in the levee and install a pumping station. "We just can't send all this water down there to flood them," said Priggel.