CHARLESTON -- Mississippi County officials believe they have found what is keeping the water too high in Ditch 23.
Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said during the regular County Commission meeting Thursday that Richard Wallace, road and bridge superintendent for the county, took a boat down the ditch recently to seek out obstructions south of the culverts at County Road 320.
During his investigation, Wallace reportedly found a ditch bank sloughed into the ditch.
"He could barely get through with a boat," Commissioner Martin Lucas said. "That's why we've got two feet of water in the culverts."
Commissioners said the slough occurred because the Natural Resources Conservation Service declared land on the east side of the ditch a wetland and would not let them spread spoil dirt there during the last excavation of the ditch.
Lucas said he doesn't know if the other side of the ditch has also been designated by the NRCS as a wetland.
"I'm hoping we can put it on the west side of the ditch," he said. "If wetlands are on both sides, we've got a major problem with the material."
Commissioners said the slough must have happened recently as the culverts were dry this spring.
In other business:
* Lucas said he was approached by Col. David Holland about heavy trucks that are damaging County Road 520, which is located at the bottom of the levee, on their way to the granary.
Holland recalled how Cargill donated a significant amount of money to Scott County to help repave a county road leading to their facility south of Highway 77 several years ago.
Lucas said the county road and bridge budget is too strapped to address that road this year but suggested "if someone would buy the materials for us, we could put it down."
Blumenberg estimated the cost to put a 2.5 inch asphalt cap on a road is presently between $65,000 and $75,000 per mile.
* Commissioners approved letting the county's Senate Bill 40 board use the County Commission meeting room to hold their monthly meetings instead of the library. They also agreed to let the SB-40 board keep a fireproof filing cabinet in the room to store their records.
* Commissioners will send a letter to a county landowner advising if he wishes to use his land to store used poly pipe on, it must be enclosed with a fence.
The land is located south of the Armer Cemetery near Dogwood, according to commissioners.
"We have no problem with it as long as he puts a fence around it so it doesn't affect other people," Blumenberg said.
* Other than the road and bridge fund which "is just hurting," according to Blumenberg, "the (county) budget overall is in good shape."