Sixth Street Ditch residents offer concerns

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Residents along the Sixth Street Ditch property in Monticello were present at the Sept. 8 city council meeting for the official public information meeting.

     The city was required to have the informational meeting due to the city’s intent to file a USDA grant application. The city is requesting grant funds to assist with the Sixth Street Ditch Waterway Storm Water Improvement Project. The scope of the project is from N. Chestnut Street and Sixth Street and everything in between.

     City Administrator Doug Herman is seeking $543,000 through the application process. He warned the council that USDA could either offer the city a grant or a low-interest long-term loan for the project.

     Mayor Brian Wolken said if the city were successful with the application, it would help lower the project costs, perhaps impacting property assessments.

     “This would reduce the city’s cost-share,” noted Council member Tom Yeoman, “not the overall cost of the project.”

     “It would lower the cost to the city, to taxpayers, and to the people on the ditch,” added Wolken.

     The city is working with Snyder & Associates on the project, which has been in the works for a number of years.

     Dave and Tina Ries own a rental property on N. Sycamore Street. They questioned why their property would be impacted by this project when the waterway is 5 feet from their property.

     “We’re concerned because these costs could get passed on to the residents,” Dave said.

     Dave also asked if the city would proceed with the project if the grant were unsuccessful.

     “That’s something we’ll continue to discuss,” Wolken offered.

     Herman said once the city knows how successful the application is, they can then work on a firm timeline associated with the project.

     “This will help guide the council’s discussion on assessments,” Herman said.

     Council member Brenda Hanken asked if they would have to modify project plans based on how much funding from the USDA was awarded.

     “That’s up to the council,” said Herman. “You could work the engineer to do a cheaper project. The expertise really lies with the engineer because they know the best way to design it.”

     Bud Coyle, who lives along the ditch, asked why it was just the Sixth Street Ditch property owners who would be assessed and not half the town or more.

     “Half the town dumps in that ditch,” Coyle said. “Half the west part of town.”

     Herman clarified that water from half the town does not end up in that ditch.

     Council member Dave Goedken noted that a lot of brush and trees are seen growing out of the ditch. Before the city hears on the grant application, he would like to see the area cleaned up first.

     “This has been going on a long time,” he said. “Is it possible to do some cleanup so the ditch doesn’t get plugged again? There are a lot of issues up and down that ditch.”

     Herman said the council could direct Public Works to do some cleanup.

     Wolken said some of the issues stem from property owners who haven’t maintained the area over the years.

     Keith and Janice Tackett said they are not physically able to maintain their portion of the ditch, which has gotten worse in the last 20-plus years they’ve lived there. Wolken said if the city could easily access property easements along the ditch, the city would provide that maintenance and not the property owners.

     Wolken attributed current issues associated with the ditch to increased significant rain events and the growth of the community.

     “That ditch is a causality of growth,” he explained.


Subscriber Login