Committee To Help Push Gayville Drainage Issue

GAYVILLE — A three-person committee has been formed to help expedite the process of replacing a Gayville drainage pipe.

The committee — which consists of residents Larry Skove and Gary Freeburg, and Gayville Town Board Trustee Jay Jorgensen — will allow locals to take a more active role in a project that affects them, Yankton County State's Attorney Rob Klimisch said.

"It gives you a little bit of control over it," he said at a meeting held Monday night at Gayville Community Center. "The County Commission would still be the one that's going to authorize everything, so you would be a representative more than anything. …

"There's not a lot of work that would have to be done — it's more of being a point person to me, (Yankton County Auditor) Paula Jones and the County Commission," he said.

The issue concerns a 1,500-foot vitrified clay pipe built more than 70 years ago that connects two drainage ditches on Gayville's south side. Water from a drainage ditch on the east side of town runs through the pipe to a ditch on the west side, continuing on to the Missouri River.

A portion of the 30-inch pipe collapsed in 2000 and was repaired. Two years later, an assessment was placed on adjoining property owners in an attempt by the county to get grant money from the state to replace the entire pipe, although no funding has yet been received.

Additionally, a study performed by Arens Engineering last year revealed that deterioration problems along the line have been indicated in numerous areas where they ground has settled above the pipe.

"A collapsed pipe section will cause major flooding in Gayville following major precipitation events," the report said. "The east ditch run-off would then have to surface flow from the east ditch to the west ditch."

Klimisch said Monday that the estimated cost of the project is $250,000.

However, he did add that the assessment generates approximately $12,000 each year, and has already accumulated a total of approximately $112,000, some of which could go toward the project.

"We already have $112,000 sitting in a pot to go to this project, or at least part of it," Klimisch said. "You wouldn't want all $112,000 to be used for this project. You would want a percentage (for the project) and a percentage held back for any additional repairs."

Payments on the assessment won't go up, regardless of the project status, Gayville Town Board Trustee Mike Peterson added.

"It can only be a percentage of what the cost of the original ditch was, and it is that percentage now," he said. "Basically, what it amounts to is we're going to get taxed on it for however many years, anyway. We can't wait another 15 years until there's enough money to do this project."

"To me, that's a win-win situation," Freeburg said. "How can you lose? It's got to be fixed anyway, and we've already got pretty near half of that money in there. Why are we sitting around here waiting? Let's get going."

Klimisch said the next step will be to go to the county development office to ask about borrowing funds to put toward the project.

"They'll tell us what to do, whether we can or can't (borrow), and then we'll submit it out for bids based on the engineer's request," he said.

Klimisch requested that the newly-formed committee also attend the next Yankton County Commission meeting, to be held May 18.
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Press & Dakotan reporter Nathan Johnson contributed to this report.

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