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Ditch improvements noted by county commission but more work needed

Friday, August 3, 2007

CHARLESTON -- Drainage is beginning to improve on Ditch 23.

Mississippi County Commissioner Homer Oliver provided an update on efforts to correct drainage problems in the ditch during the regular County Commission meeting Thursday.

"To date, we've spent about $2,000," Oliver said.

The water level is falling now but there is still water in culverts that had usually been dry as of this spring, according to Oliver.

One problem that needs to be addressed is waste concrete from previous bridge work and other junk in the ditch at the Ironbanks Road bridge. He said there are also foot-high pilings remaining from an old railroad bridge there.

All those obstructions need to be removed, Oliver said, "and it's a good time to do it."

Without permission to spread excavated dirt along one section due to the adjacent land being designated a wetland, the best thing for now may be to "leave slides alone on the east side," Oliver said, as he predicted they will stabilize.

Oliver said it is odd that the land is designated as wetland when it is adjacent to a bean field.

"Anything with timber on it they designate as wetland," Commissioner Martin Lucas said.

Commissioners also agreed to send a letter to a landowner whose pipes drain into the ditch collapsed advising he needs to replace them.

"I really think the water's going to drop more," Oliver concluded, "but it needs to drop faster."

In other Mississippi County news:

* Cheryl Morris of Brown and Thomas CPA of Jackson advised commissioners her firm is beginning work on the single audit of the county for 2006.

"They've done it the last two years so this is their third year," County Clerk Junior DeLay said.

The audit will consist mainly of financial information through the County Clerk's office, according to Morris.

Morris said her firm started their audit with the county health department due to DeLay's absence over the last few weeks. "Basically we're done with our field work there," she said.

A single audit is required for every year more than $500,000 in federal funding goes to the county, according to DeLay.

A state audit is required under Missouri statutes every four years.

DeLay advised commissioners that, according to a letter from the state auditor's office, a biennial audit will satisfy the requirement for the state audit and that the state will will pay half the cost of the audits if this option is selected.

* The county road and bridge department has finished blacktopping Russell Road, according to Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg.

Commissioners agreed the road looks good.

Commissioners also agreed a bridge on County Road 408 needs to be replaced but the county can't afford it. They said the county may not even be able to replace it with pipes.

"One pipe won't carry that load," Blumenberg said.

"I hate to put pipes in but we need to do something," Oliver said.

Blumenberg suggested for the time being, they might have the posted load limit for the bridge reduced.

* Blumenberg said the county has been holding an average of 34.7 federal detainees for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to a recent report from the Mississippi County Detention Center.

"That's not a bad average," he said. "That's a good report from the jail."

* Used irrigation poly pipe is already being brought to a piece of land near the Armer Cemetery near Dogwood, according to Blumenberg, but no fence has been erected yet.

Blumenberg said he has received a complaint from a resident who lives a half mile from the land who has concerns about rats being attracted by the poly pipe.

During the regular meeting July 19, commissioners agreed to advise the landowner he could keep poly pipe on the land as long as he fenced in the area.

Lucas said his understanding is the land is only being used as a "staging area" to collect the poly pipe before sending it off to a recycling company.

Blumenberg said the poly pipe probably won't be there any longer than 120 days.

"Honestly, that's a good deal because there's poly pipe laying in fence rows all over," Oliver said.