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County to work on better monitoring of ditch work, bills

McLeod County will be looking at better ways to monitor ditch maintenance and the subsequent bills, board members indicated at the annual ditch hearing Tuesday morning.
Marian Moy and Steve Moy, who have property along County Ditch 11 near Winsted, both asked the board to justify an $87,000 bill the county received to clean out trees from about 3,000 feet of ditch. Steve Moy, in response to a question from County Attorney Mike Junge, said he had consulted with other contractors who said the bill should have been around $30,000.
The clean-out of ditches is assessed to benefiting property owners.
And, the Moys said, the work wasn’t of the best quality, with debris being left in the ditch.
County Environmentalist Roger Berggren said the county had contracted with Central Applicators to clean county ditches. The company has changed ownership, Berggren said, and bills have been coming in higher than expected, primarily because the company is billing more man hours and more hours for equipment use.
County Administrator Pat Melvin said that after the bills started coming in, the county cancelled its contact with the company. The county is now working on a policy to set a cap as to how much a company can charge before getting additional authorization from the county.
Commissioner Ron Shimanski said the original bill for the Ditch 11 work had been $105,000. After the county challenged the bill, it was reduced to $87,000.
Commissioner Doug Krueger said he had a similar issue on a ditch in his district.
“I don’t know what we can do to go back and fix it,” said Krueger. “But I do know that in my district, it won’t happen again.”