Proposed legislation could aid drainage work

Proposed legislation could make issuing payment warrants for drainage work easier in the future.

John Torbert, executive director of the Iowa Drainage District Association, presented an update to the Webster County Board of Supervisors before its regular meeting Tuesday.

“We had a request come forward that talks about raising the maximum warrant amount that can be issued from $1,000 to $5,000,” Torbert said. “We’re getting that bill out and drafted as we speak.”

Warrants are issued to a company for the total amount of work to be done at the start of a project, and paid off at a later date. The low limit means a high number of warrants must be issued for a single project, adding to the paperwork.

The rule originally made it easier to pay off warrants, said Webster County Drainage Clerk Doreen Pliner, but the low limit is now outdated.

“Originally the districts were probably – a big one was $50,000, a regular one was $20,000 or $30,000,” she said.

A recently completed project cost $750,000, she said, “so we had to issue 750 warrants, and then you have to figure interest on each individual warrant.”

Torbert briefed the board on possible changes in EPA regulations, and on a recent court decision affecting the relationship between railroads and drainage districts.

The IDDA also has new books on drainage regulations available, as the previous book had not been updated for years.

The dues for the association will increase on July 1, from 2 cents per acre to 2.5 cents per acre, or $8,000 per year for Webster County, Torbert said.

In other business, Supervisor Bob Singer reported that he and five individuals from Webster County, including Webster County Engineer Randy Will and Fort Dodge City Councilman Kim Alstott, will attend Transportation Day today in Des Moines.

“We continue to encourage the state to address the problems we have in terms of roads, and funding roads,” said Singer, who serves on the U.S. 20 Corridor Association board.

The gas tax in Iowa has not gone up since 1988, he said. The Iowa Association of Counties will ask the legislature for an increase of 10 cents per gallon, over a period of time, to pay for roads.

Singer said he will bring a similar resolution for the Board of Supervisors to vote on at next week’s meeting.