Board approves ditch assessments

NEW ULM – Brown County commissioners approved ditch assessment amounts for taxes payable in 2014 without interest Tuesday.

Recommended assessments/liens range from $2,000 to $75,000. If a ditch assessment for one ditch system is under $1,000 per parcel, the amount goes onto the annual tax statement. Interest rates were set at five percent for any liens that may be filed.

For ditch assessments of $1,001 to $2,999, letters will be sent to owners giving them the option of a three-year ditch lien with interest plus a $46 filing fee. For assessments $3,000 and up, letters will be sent to owners giving them the option of a five-year ditch lien with interest and a $46 filing fee.

Regarding county ditch repairs within road right-of-way, the Eden Township Board, Dennis Wildt chairman, answered earlier discussion points in a letter received at the courthouse on Oct. 18.

The letter stated that the township board thinks the ditch system should pay for right-of-way repairs. If a ditch system is responsible for damage, then all beneficiaries in the watershed should pay for related repairs and expenses.

The ditch system should manage county ditch repairs within the road right-of-way but have adequate communication with township authorities including problem notification, what repairs will be done and when, according to the letter. It added that private tile lines are handled the same as county tile within the road right-of-way.

The board approved:

New Ulm Soldiers Rest columbaria preliminary designs and allowing Brown County Veterans Service Officer (CVSO) Greg Peterson to seek bids from Brown County monument companies. Two firms, Heritage Memorial and Stone Creation, New Ulm; and Borth Memorials, Sleepy Eye, returned designs to review.

Peterson said Heritage Memorial and Stone Creation owner Leroy Zander would donate a bronze fallen soldier on a granite pedestal in his columbaria project design with all granite and no concrete dividers or aluminum framework, which he said could sag or deteriorate.

Appointing Justin Kitzberger as full-time deputy sheriff at $44,135 (Grade XV, entry), contingent on pre-employment evaluations and physical. He was one of seven candidates interviewed. The position had an entry to mid-range annual salary of $44,135 to $51,909. Sheriff Rich Hoffmann said Kitzberger has related experience and is working in East Grand Forks.

Authorizing purchase of a highway department pickup at $31,702.33 state bid price, including sales tax and trade in of a 2005 Ford F250 with more than 200,000 miles. The budget allows $29,500 for the purchase. State bids for GM and Dodge are currently not available, according to the RBA.

Authorizing purchase of a router to replace a 2005 Marathon pavement cutter that is showing wear, at the low state bid price of $7,028.37 by Marathon, including sales tax and trade-in. The other bid was $8,241.13 from Cimline.

A five-year road and bridge construction program. State Aid funding has remained somewhat flat, even with the new transportation funding bill. Construction costs continue to rise significantly. The focus of the five-year plan continues to be maintaining highway surfaces, which usually means overlaying within 20 years of a road’s last surfacing.

Major changes from the 2013 five-year program are adding CSAH 16 cold in-place recycle (CIR) and overlay from TH 14 to the North County Line to 2014, CSAH 29 CIR/mill and overlay from CSAH 12 to New Ulm to 2014, adding CSAH 5 railroad crossing lights and gates in Springfield to 2015 (part of a federal project), Moving CSAH 6 and 13 shoulder widen/grade south of Hanska from 2017 to 2018, adding CSAH 29 overlay from TH 4 to CSAH 12 to 2017.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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