Carroll Perkins to supes – ‘I’m just a farmer’

~by Janice Harbaugh for GreeneCountyNewsOnline

The Greene County board of supervisors heard from landowner Carroll Perkins at the regular board meeting April 29 concerning problems with Drainage Ditch 14 (DD14) that had first been presented by Michelle Fields, IT/GIS/drainage department, at the April 15 meeting. (DD14 includes sections 34-36 of Jackson Township and sections 1-3 of Greenbrier Township about six miles southwest of Jefferson.)An engineer’s report prepared by Bolton & Menk had cited crumbling and shallow tiles that did not meet current standards. Pending a public hearing on June 3 at 9 am, the tentative recommendation was for replacement of the tiles.

Caroll Perkins, a landowners in DD14, spoke from the gallery at the board meeting and described the history of DD14 from 1960 to the present. He stated there are 40 acres that should be annexed into the district and that replacing tile with 24-inch concrete tile will only bring the drainage to 20 percent of modern standard. Perkins stated the cost borne by the landowners comes to an average of $750 an acre. He requested that a final vote be delayed until an informational hearing and added, “I’m just a farmer.”

The board had been listening closely to Perkins as he spoke of DD14 and board chair John Muir replied, “That means you know how this water runs.”

Perkins then suggested that he and other landowners were in favor of an open ditch drainage instead of repairing the tiles.

Muir responded, “Most don’t want to farm around open ditch drainage, but if they (landowners) are willing to look at that possibility, open ditch would open up the drainage.”

Supervisor Dawn Rudolph added, “If it improves efficiency above 20 percent, it would be dollars better spent.”

The board was uncertain of whether an informational meeting for DD14 was scheduled, though a public hearing had been previously scheduled for June 3.

Chuck Wenthold, environmental health, spoke to the board about a report from the Iowa Environmental Council citing a high number of wells with bacteria and nitrates. He cautioned, “Each individual well has its own story,” and described the testing situations that can lead to differing results between testing by the Department of Natural Resources and testing by the Environmental Council.

Different results can come from sampling water at the well and sampling it in the house. He explained, “A well can be clean, but the water can be contaminated in the house plumbing.” The opposite can also occur, with well water having high bacteria or nitrates, but the filtering systems in the house can result in clean water.

Michelle Madsen reported to the board with an update on Emergency Medical Services. She sought board approval for the hiring of three people: EMT-B full-time Jason Spencer at $38,000 per year and benefits; EMT-B part-time Allison Powell at $4 per hour on-call and $17 per hour patient care; and part-time PRN driver Chad Black at $4 per hour on-call and $10 per hour driving. Madsen stated that one more basic person would be helpful. The board discussed need for more part-time, in-town drivers.

Supervisor Tom Contner inquired as to the status of an ongoing problem with EMS billing. Madsen stated that there is still a billing problem with Medicare and Medicaid, but it is close to resolution.

The board unanimously approved the EMS hires.

County engineer Wade Weiss reported  his department is now moving statues from the north to the south courthouse grounds for Bell Tower Festival in June.

He also spoke of the DOT auction May 11 where several county vehicles would be listed. The auction will be Saturday, May 11, starting at 9 am. Inspection of vehicles can be done Friday and from 8 to 9 am on Saturday. The auction will be held at the DOT building on South 4th St in Ames.

Sheriff Jack Williams reported there were six applicants for the deputy position and he hopes to fill it by July 1. He also reported a successful trip to Kansas to pick up an inmate.

County attorney Thomas Laehn reported new assistant county attorney Laura Snider will start May 1.

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