La Cygne resident Kent Wade tells city council his concerns about standing water in city ditches. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)
By Roger Sims, Journal staff
LA CYGNE – A complaint by a La Cygne resident about water standing in ditches around the city prompted a sharp exchange between a La Cygne councilman and the city’s public works chief on Wednesday, April 19.
During the La Cygne City Council’s open forum at the meeting, resident Kent Wade took the city to task for not keeping ditches clear and culverts unplugged and working.
He brought up the issue with some city officials at the city-sponsored open house on April 12.
He said that water standing in ditches was a public health issue, particularly with summer approaching with warmer temperatures. He said that water standing in ditches is an ongoing issue, and he didn’t understand why the problem was not being addressed.
“When is the last time the ditches were cleaned?” Wade asked.
He pointed to the area he called the “library lake,” where water collects in a pool on the southwest corner of Chestnut Street and Broadway and also collects in a pool along the curb in front of the La Cygne Library. (Because of recent dry weather, that area has dried up.)
Referring to the recent survey asking residents about problems with storm water runoff, Wade said it doesn’t take a survey to know that standing water is a problem.
He said that in talking with city workers, they indicate that standing water is the “homeowner’s responsibility.” However, Wade pointed out that he can’t very well go and clean up his neighbor’s ditch.
“I’ve been told I will be picked up and put in jail if I start to clean up my neighbor’s ditch,” he said.
Public Work Superintendent Dan Nasalroad said that the ditches had been put on hold until the storm water runoff survey was complete.
Councilman Danny Curtis said when he was employed by the city a few years ago, cleaning out the ditches and culverts was done often. However, he said, that hasn’t been done recently.
Nasalroad said that wasn’t true.
“When we have a heavy rain, our guys go out and clean the ditches,” he said.
He also said that there were several culverts that needed to be replaced as well. He indicated that many culverts do not measure up to the !2-inch diameter required by the city.
Councilman Thomas Capp said that it is common on residential drives for the culverts to not be wide enough for the driveways. As a result, he said, the ends of the culverts are smashed down where they have been driven over.
City Clerk Jodi Wade pointed out that the city’s code book has sections on obstruction of ditches and the penalty for obstruction.
In other business, the council:
Discussed having a special meeting in May to discuss the proposed new fire station. That special meeting to review bids for the station has been set for Tuesday, May 2, at 6 p.m.
Heard a suggestion by Mayor Debra Wilson about contacting the city’s engineers to prepare information on the city’s streets that could be used to apply for a grant for street repair or replacement.
Approved spending up to $2,500 to provide electrical outlets along the fence at the pavilion at the La Cygne Community Park.
Learned that a crew would be removing the slide at the city’s swimming pool the week of April 24. Jodi Wade said there had been interest expressed in buying the slide, and she suggested taking sealed bids for it. She added that the city would incur costs in dismantling the slide.
Approved a raise for city worker Tristan VanVlack to $17 per hour.