Some area counties are experiencing higher than normal issues with regards to drainage while still others see a slower number of projects develop. Each of the county boards are dealing with the projects as they come, but some are left in limbo while larger projects are completed. None of the county Drainage Clerks that KIOW News spoke with had work that at least was not assigned or destined for assignment by the county supervisors in an upcoming meeting.
This is the way of drainage issues in the area as drainage districts and some private owners struggle to try and get their issues resolved. In Worth County, some projects have been on hold for quite some time, in part due to the contractor and in others, due to the drainage district itself. The boring under a road in Worth County remained on the agenda for several weeks as county officials tried to get an answer on costs and a timeline for completion. Still other work remained in limbo even after it was bid out because of either the planting or the harvest season.
Winnebago County has taken action on all of its drainage issues and most recently reclassified some districts for a more fair and accurate levy of the district. One in particular, Drainage District 1 had not seen a reclassification in over 50 years. Now Larson Contracting will take up the task of determining proper usage by all residents within the district. Very few projects remain outstanding and are currently being acted on by the county drainage office. Contractors have been assigned and now it is a matter of time before the work is completed. One such project that has presumably been completed, Drainage District 5, will have a Completion Hearing today at 10am in Winnebago County.
Hancock County has taken a very proactive approach to its drainage issues. If the project is under $30,000, the county road crews will go out and complete the cleaning or repairs. This saves the process of bidding out the work while contractors can focus on the larger jobs. There have been murmurs by some with the county that this process takes away from business for local contractors. Others argue that the process is efficient and work is done in a timely manner.
Contractors that KIOW News spoke with have a large range of activity. One Forest City company and two located outside of the city stated that the farm economy has hurt the industry. Because of the expense involved, some farmers go about doing the work themselves or vote to wait on getting it done until it becomes mandatory to do something. Regardless, these companies would like to see the farm economy get back on its feet again so that farmers and landowners won’t be so hesitant about paying for drainage cleanout or repair.
Another contractor in the north Iowa area admitted that he is very busy, but has to work around the growing season which further limits the amount of time to get the work done. His company is seeing a steady amount of business from small to large jobs. Almost every one has to be weighed with regards to farming schedules.
Regardless, there is always work to do according to all contractors who admit that their competition is becoming smaller in numbers, as they are leaving drainage cleaning and repairs for more lucrative work in another part of the construction or landscaping industry. While their departure leaves more work for other area contractors to do, drainage clerks collectively agree that they see slow downs in completion rates and a burdening of those area companies that remain with higher project numbers.