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Sibley landowners encouraged to attend hearing

To the Editor:
Sibley County landowners who own land on county ditches 40, 55, 56, 61 and 67 have received notices that the ditch system your land drains into has had a redetermination of benefits. What this means is that a viewing group has viewed your land and determined the increase in value that the ditch has on your land.
What most Sibley County landowners are unaware of is that County Ditch 18, Judicial Ditch 18, County Ditch 56, County Ditch 61 and County Ditch 67 have substantial outlet benefits proposed to be levied on them. Indirectly, Judicial Ditch 17, and county ditches 40, 56 and 65 will pay into the main ditch that they are outletted into when an outlet benefit is levied from County Ditch 55. The auditor’s office is not required to notify landowners in regards to outlet benefits. The landowners who have outlet benefits are landowners on County Ditch 56 into County Ditch 67, County Ditch 61 into County Ditch 55 and County Ditch 67 into County Ditch 55. Landowners on County Ditch 55 have the outlet benefits for County Ditch 18, Judicial Ditch 18, County Ditch 61 and County Ditch 67. They are on the last page of the benefit sheets of your report.
As proposed, the outlet benefits on County Ditch 18 are $5,146,229.74, Judicial Ditch 18 are $8,830,157.50, County Ditch 61 are $2,154,457.70 and County Ditch 67 are $2,516,769.29. Between these four county ditches, when a repair is made on County Ditch 55, 69.5 percent will be paid by the four systems. The breakdown is 19.18 percent by County Ditch 18, 32.91 percent by Judicial Ditch 18, 8.03 percent by County Ditch 61 and 9.38 percent by County Ditch 67. County Ditch 55 will only pay 30.5 percent of its ditch expense. The four ditches also will be paying for 69.5 percent of the redetermination cost of viewers, acquiring land and seeding the buffer mix. Estimated cost for this is $800,000.
There are a number of other issues that I feel need to be reviewed. I will touch on one. The city of Gaylord is currently benefitted at the rate of 6 percent of the current benefits on County Ditch 55. On the new redetermination of benefits, the city of Gaylord has a benefit value of $203,511.42, which is reduced by 69.5 percent to $62,070.98, which is .002313 percent of total benefits. The city of Gaylord has 665 acres in County Ditch 55. Makes you wonder if the city of Gaylord stopped draining water into County Ditch 55. I feel that without County Ditch 55, the city of Gaylord would be an extension of Lake Titlow.
I want to stress that these redetermination of benefits and outlet benefits are very important. This will be the means by which repairs for your ditch will be levied and paid for. They will be with your land for many, many years.
The hearing for the various county ditches is Tuesday, June 27, at 1 p.m., in the Commissioners Room in the Sibley County Courthouse. I encourage all landowners involved with land on these ditches to be at the hearing to ask questions and follow the proceedings.
Remember, once approved, it is nearly impossible to make changes.
If you have any questions or something you would like to discuss, feel free to call me at 320-510-1783.
Allen W.  Kerber
Landowner on County Ditch 18