Heavy equipment operator's actions will be investigated by commisioners
CHARLESTON -- Mississippi County commissioners will look into actions by a heavy equipment operator which have caused drainage problems for a county landowner.
Don Laughlin of rural Bertrand asked commissioners during their regular meeting Thursday if the county hired a heavy equipment operator to cut down trees on the north side of Highway 62 near Highway O and push them into the ditch last spring.
"There was no reason for all of that wood to go into the ditch," Laughlin said.
He said the wood must have been pushed into the ditch as there is no way it could have fallen in and that his main concern is to avoid that from happening again in the future as he has already cleaned the ditch out.
Laughlin said about four or five years ago, he cleaned out the ditch and removed 13 beaver dams so the ditch was dry but now it is full of standing water. He said this is the first time in the eight years he has been here than water has stood on that property and that the standing water has ruined pastures there.
He said in addition to the tree trash blocking the ditch, runoff from Bertrand's lagoons has fertilized the weeds and grass in the ditch to the point where vegetation is also impeding drainage.
Commissioners said any work done on the north side of Hwy. 62 couldn't have been done under their contract as that is Scott County, not Mississippi County.
Commissioner Martin Lucas said the county had contracted for mowing the ditch on the south side of Hwy. 62, however, in 2005.
"I've never seen us north of 62 highway," Commissioner Homer Oliver said.
Laughlin said tracks indicate heavy equipment did come across Hwy. 62 to the north side from the south side.
Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said the contractor may have been asked by someone else to cross Hwy. 62 and do some additional work.
Laughlin asked commissioners "to try to get him not to do it anymore. It didn't accomplish anything -- it made things extremely worse." He said there was "absolutely no reason to cut those trees down."
"We'll find out who did that," Oliver said.
Blumenberg said if the county did create the problem, they are willing to contact Scott County to get permission to clean it up.