Weather Forecast


County hears process for redetermining benefits of ditch systems

WORTHINGTON -- Nobles County Commissioners on Tuesday received a report from Ron Ringquist, owner of Ron's Appraisal Service in Redwood Falls, regarding the process for moving forward with redetermination of benefits on the county's ditch systems.

Ringquist explained the "mass appraisal" process that is used to determine who benefits from a particular ditch system. Through the use of soil and contour maps, parcel mapping and soil tests, he establishes a grid to show benefits on the land. The entire evaluation can take from 12 to 18 months, he added.

"The systems in the state are getting older and older, and land values are getting greater," Ringquist told the board. No longer can ditch systems fund replacement projects based on determination of benefits that were written in the 1920s and 1930s.

"We update the values based on current land values and current land uses," he added.

Ringquist is currently doing work in seven or eight counties, and because last winter's snow depths prevented him from doing projects, he has a backlog through at least the next year.

"Certainly, we're all aware that something needs to be done," said Commissioner Marv Zylstra.

Commissioner Vern Leistico encouraged the board to act quickly to determine which ditch systems will go through the redetermination of benefits first. The board was in agreement that County Ditch 2 near Bigelow would be the first, but they thought they would do a moderately-sized ditch system at the same time.

County Administrator Mel Ruppert will work with Auditor-Treasurer Sharon Balster to determine which other ditch system will go through the process during this first round.

In other action, the board:

* Approved a conditional use permit for Tom Volk of Brewster to construct a 60- by 60-foot machine shed/shop on his property in the southeast quarter of lots 5 and 6 in Section 23, Graham Lakes Township. The only condition set on the project was that the building be constructed in earth tone colors because the parcel is in the county's special protection area. The shop will be built approximately 300 feet from the shoreline of East Graham Lake, and Volk plans to also plant additional trees to disguise the building.

* Approved an application for a 2011 Minnesota Natural Resources Block Grant. The $72,084 grant will be combined with $6,000 in matching funds from the county to assist with implementation of the comprehensive local water plan, Wetland Conservation Act, county feedlot permit programs, shoreland enforcement and the subsurface sewage treatment systems.

* Approved several contract renewals between the Nobles County Family Service Agency and other entities, including UCare Minnesota, the Jackson Recovery Center, Nobles Cooperative Electric, New Dawn Inc., Client Community Services Inc., Habilitative Services Inc., Minnesota Care, Guardianship Services and in-home counseling service through Greater Minnesota.

* Voted to give the required 60-day notice for classification of two tax-forfeited parcels within Nobles County. The board will classify the parcels as tax forfeited at 9 a.m. on Dec. 21 in the board room.

* Approved several changes to the Nobles-Pipestone Joint County Employment Service Contract for human services. The changes include adding more supervisory time in Pipestone County, fixing an error in the rate for one licensing contract and eliminating a couple of other contracts that are no longer needed.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

(507) 376-7330