CHARLESTON -- Mississippi County will not install any more pipes on private property.
Commissioners discussed county policy for installing culverts and drainage pipes during their regular meeting Thursday.
Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said he recently got word that there have been a few exceptions made to the county policy of only installing pipes that drain into county ditches.
"We can't even take care of what we've got," Blumenberg said. "We're on a budget that we can't make ends meet."
County officials have already committed to installing three field drainage pipes that are on private property, but those will be the last, commissioners agreed.
The exceptions were made in connection with a Natural Resources Conservation Service cost share program. The NRCS determines if there is the need for a pipe to address an erosion issue. If they determine there is a need, they will reimburse the land owner 75 percent of the cost of a NRCS-designed pipe along with 75 percent of the average county price for the installation of the pipe.
"That's when it started," Commissioner Martin Lucas said.
Many of the NRCS projects involve "drop pipes" which include an elbow to lower the discharge end near water level to prevent the water leaving the pipe from eroding the bottom of the ditch.
As the NRCS will not reimburse public entities for installations, county crews "don't have any business" being on private property for pipe installations, Blumenberg said. "We're sitting on a budget that's getting thinner every year."
He said county employee time spent on those projects is better used doing maintenance on the county's roads.
Commissioner Homer Oliver said there is a road ditch he knows of that drains into a drainage ditch that he believes needs a NRCS pipe, a project which does comply with county policy.
In another drainage issue, commissioners agreed to send a letter to a land owner who has five field ditches draining into Ditch 25 without culverts.
The letter will advise the land owner that he must install culverts to prevent further erosion in the county ditch.
In other business, Blumenberg asked Richard Wallace, county road and bridge superintendent, to look over a catalog for information about a piece of equipment that heats cold-mix asphalt up for road patching.
Blumenberg also asked Wallace to check on prices for a traffic counter as blacktopping operations need to begin soon.