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Debate over drainage in southwest Humboldt

They say a rising tide lifts all boats, or in this case canoes and kayaks. Sixty-seven boaters took advantage of gorgeous weather and a steady but gentle current Sunday for a canoe float hosted by the Humboldt County Chapter of Pheasants Forever. The group left the Dakota City Park and traveled the East Fork of the Des Moines River to Gotch Park. A different kind of water was on the minds of citizens attending Monday's Humboldt County Supervisors meeting. Humboldt Independent photo.

Much of Monday’s Humboldt County Board of Supervisors meeting concerned county drainage, and the new system that was run on the west side of Humboldt, including agricultural and residential properties in and around the Forest Estates Mobile Home Park on the city’s west side.
In addition to the Forest Estates area, the Blackbird First and Second Additions, the Wildwood Addition and portions of the new Eagle Ridge Addition were part of the drainage assessment.
The purpose of Monday’s meeting was to have a reclassification hearing on the Drainage District known as No. 59.
Drainage engineer Rick Hopper with Jacobson-Westergard and Associates of Estherville, reported that there was just short of 400 acres in the district.
And while $143,000 of the $190,000 total project assessment was for residential properties and city streets, the few farmers that are subject to the assessments, who attended Monday’s meeting, did not feel the charges were fair.
Tom Gillis, owner of Gillis Farm Inc., said this is the third time within the past half dozen years he’s been hit with large drainage assessments. In addition to Drainage District No. 59, part of this ground fell in the DD 16 and 55 improvement five years ago, and he also had land in the newly established DD 126.
“I own 160 acres south of the housing development. There is 18-inch tile there that is more than adequate to drain my farm. Then they put in a housing development in a flood plain, and then charge me to drain the water. This assessment ($30,000) is the third in five years, totaling $100,000 on my property. It’s totally unacceptable,” Gillis said.
Paul Lynch, owner of the Forest Estates Mobile Home Park, agreed that the classification process did not seem fair, believing the mobile home park was assessed too much for relatively little benefit.
“We are trying to make decisions that are good and fair as can be given the current conditions,” Hopper said.
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