Mississippi County Commission news
CHARLESTON -- Funding a ditch improvement project in Charleston may mean the city taking over the ditch -- if they want it.
County Clerk Junior DeLay reported during the regular Mississippi County Commission meeting Thursday on information he has gathered so far for funding options for a drainage improvement project on the portion of Ditch 14 that runs through Charleston.
During the regular May 17 County Commission meeting, Charleston City Manager Dan Gruen asked commissioners about the possibility of the county and city working together to improve the ditch for aesthetic and general health and safety purpose. "They want to address all the ditch within city limits," DeLay said.
The proposed project would concrete the ditch bottom and a small portion of the ditch banks near the bottom and reslope the rest of the ditch banks.
Estimating that part of the ditch stretches about two miles, "you are probably talking about a $2 million project," DeLay said.
DeLay said he contacted Joe Lane, director of community planning for the Bootheel Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission at Dexter, regarding community development block funding but the maximum available funding would be $400,000.
DeLay said Cathy Walters, community development specialist for Rural Development, advised that because the county can issue bonds to fund an improvement project for the ditch, the project would not qualify for RD grants or loans.
He said Walters suggested the county could vacate that portion of the ditch and turn it over to the city which could then use its non-profit corporation to secure a grant or loan.
DeLay said such an arrangement would also be likely to include an agreement that the county would maintain the ditch following the project.
Commissioners noted Ditch 14, which has a total of about 13 miles, only brings in $18,000 in tax revenue each year.
"It would be a good deal as far as maintenance is concerned," Commissioner Homer Oliver said of the proposed project.
Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said the first step will be to contact the City Council, "see if they want it or not."
Commissioners also noted they need to ask Richard Wallace, Mississippi County road and bridge superintendent, to spray the ditch in the meantime.
Commissioners also discussed a cleanout of about 1.5 miles of Ditch 30 planned for the fall.
In discussing the cost of various options, Commissioner Martin Lucas suggested "a drag line would be cheaper in the long run because it won't tear that bank up like an excavator."
"It might be better to get some specs and bid it out," he later added.