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Railroad wants answers from county on drainage

From left: Attorney Brad Epperly from Des Moines and Humboldt County Supervisors Jerry Haverly and Harlan Hansen, all spoke Monday at a meeting between the county board and representatives of the Union Pacific Railroad, at the courthouse in Dakota City.

Six representatives of the Union Pacific Railroad or their legal representatives from the Nyemaster/Goode Law Firm in Des Moines, were in attendance at Monday’s Humboldt County Board of Supervisors meeting, asking several questions about the county’s drainage tile repair project in Drainage District No. 114, at the southwest edge of Livermore.
Under the project, which was completed in 2012, collapsed tile lying under the Union Pacific Railroad track that runs through the south central part of Livermore was replaced.
According to Drainage Engineer Rick Hopper with Jacobson-Westergard and Associaties of Estherville, the county’s drainage engineering firm, two borings, about 200 feet apart were conducted under the railroad bed. Neither the railroad track bed nor any appurtenances associated with the railroad were disturbed in the replacement of tile in Section 18 of Humboldt Township.
The total cost of repair turned out to be $94,810.47. The total amount assessed to the railroad was $86,514.34.
“That is (more than) 91 percent of the repairs, and I have no idea how it was assessed, who did it and what formula was used,” Brad Epperly, an attorney representing the railroad, said.
A representative from Union Pacific wanted to know what legal statute the county used in determining the assessment costs.
Hopper explained that since much of the repair occurred on right of way of property owned by the railroad, they had to shoulder the majority of the cost of the project.
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