In both instances, the board was faced with plenty opposition to the increase in fees and heard from several residents, along with Starke County Forester Bruce Wakeland, who claim their property doesn’t include the ditches in the watersheds mentioned in the published documents.
Wakeland’s forest, which is on the northern part of the Outlet Arm in a watershed in northern Marshall County, doesn’t drain into the watershed and rain run-off is practically zero.
The board voted to move forward with raising the assessment fees on the Outlet Arm, which consists of approximately 9,900 acres, from $.40 to $1.00 per acre as the benefits outweigh the costs to maintain the upkeep in the area. The board also voted to increase the fees to $2.25 per acre in the Gall-Unsicker-Craig Drain with Kosciusko County as the benefits outweigh the costs for maintenance. According to the board, the funds for both ditches are not self-sustaining.
The board also approved plans for the U.S. 31 at 7th Road interchange and retention ponds. An engineer from the South Bend firm RW Armstrong presented the plans which include an extensive drainage plan with resurfacing and bridge improvements. The plan will now be discussed with INDOT.