Townships OK publishing ditch encroachment policy

SLEEPY EYE – The Brown County Township Association unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday at its annual meeting at the Eagles Orchid Inn, to share printing costs of ditch encroachment policy notices with Brown County.

Pending approval by Brown County commissioners, the resolution called for townships to share encroachment policy public notice costs in all Brown County newspapers.

Brown County Highway Engineer Wayne Stevens said landowners that encroach on county ditches are subject to prosecution of misdemeanor violations, in accordance with state law, plus pay for reseeding ditches. Stevens said the County has a form to send to ditch encroachment offenders.

Road budget

Brown County Administrator Chuck Enter said $10 million of the county’s $30 million annual budget is spent on road repair and maintenance. “Please help us get the word out about not overloading trucks on county roads,” Enter said.

Re-monumentation

projects

Regarding the current re-monumentation projects going on in the County, Enter said half of the costs come from the County tax levy and half from the County Recorder’s Fund.

“Call us if you have any questions,” Enter said. “If I can’t help you, there are department heads who can.”

Enter said Brown County is meeting with Redwood, Watonwan and Nicollet County officials regularly to find ways to reduce service costs, sometimes by sharing personnel, which is being done with Watonwan County Family Services.

Enter said the recently-added $10 per vehicle county wheelage tax generates about $280,000 a year, which would pay for about 1 1/2 miles of road construction. He added Brown County receives about $4 million annually in gas tax funds for roads and bridges.

Septic systems

He urged landowners with failing septic systems to apply for $177,000 in loans available through the Brown County Planning & Zoning Office.

Gas tax

Minnesota Association of Townships Director 2 Director Sandy Hooker of St. Michael said a state gas tax hike is needed. She asked township board members and county commissioners to support legislative action for it. Hooker said such measures were unpopular with many legislators because they are up for re-election and don’t want to raise taxes.

Milford Township Board member Fred Juni said vehicles are getting more and more miles per gallon and generating less gas tax. “We need to avoid turning over paved roads to gravel due to lack of funds,” Juni said.

Home Township Board member Tom Hirsch said townships repair “bad” roads when they see them and said the county should have funds to do the same.

Township Convention

Hooker said the Orchid Inn would host the annual District 2 Township Convention for eight counties and all their townships on Aug. 4, 2014, the night before Farmfest begins at Gilfillan Estates.

“Staff aides will be at the meeting to talk about legislative issues and attorneys will be available before the meeting,” Hooker said.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at fbusch@nujournal.com).

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