Berger Ditch to be put on county maintenance

PLYMOUTH — A tabled hearing will move on to action for the Marshall County Drainage Board.
A month ago, the board tabled action on the Harley Berger — also known as the Snyder — Ditch in south east Marshall County. The board had tabled action during that meeting to allow members to visit the area and ascertain what if any action was needed on a petition to put the drain on public maintenance assessment.
Local residents had asked that they be offered the opportunity to do the work themselves to keep from being assessed the amount of $5 per acre to raise the money necessary to repair the ditch. Drainage Board members Randy Glingle, Jack Roose and Kevin Overmyer visited the area along with County Surveyor Larry Fisher and did not like what the saw.
Unauthorized work had been performed on the ditch — an excavation of nearly 1,000 feet — that in the opinion of the board had left the situation in a much worse condition than it had been in. Piles of “spoils” left along with work that wasn’t to specifications prompted Fisher to take action even before the meeting to stop any further work in the area.
Fisher sent a letter to stop any further unauthorized work in the area and ordered that the dirt already excavated be evenly spread rather than piled up along the bank of the ditch.
“Whoever did that work did a great disservice to drainage in that area,” said Overmyer. “Everything is going to be disrupted now. Erosion is going to be a major issue and the condition they left it in, it’s going to be a long time before anything will grow along that bank to stop it.”
Fisher concurred saying that it was necessary to study the entire ditch to determine how work will affect the entire watershed before any work in a particular section should be undertaken.
Petitioners at the hearing were in favor of the county taking over maintenance of the area. Of particular concern is an area near the railroad tracks in the watershed that has caused concern. Tim Thompson, a resident nearby, said he didn’t mind the assessment if it would clear up the problem along the railroad.
David Stults, the resident who initiated the petition, said that he felt the work on the ditch “…should be done with some uniformity.”
The board voted to do an initial assessment of $5 per acre to build up funds for maintenance, then dropping the assessment to $3 per acre — hopefully within three to four years. The first assessment for the watershed will begin in 2012.