Signs of spring pop upDouglas County commissioners started plans for spring and summer projects at their Tuesday meeting. A three-year aerial photography contract was awarded to Pictometry to photograph Douglas County this spring. The county’s Land Records Management Committee recommended Douglas County Public Works extend the usual two-year contract to three years based on past success.
By: Crystal Dey, Alexandria Echo Press
Douglas County commissioners started plans for spring and summer projects at their Tuesday meeting.
A three-year aerial photography contract was awarded to Pictometry to photograph Douglas County this spring. The county’s Land Records Management Committee recommended Douglas County Public Works extend the usual two-year contract to three years based on past success.
“It is a really good project and it gets used daily,” said Public Works Director Dave Robley.
The 2009 contract was in partnership with the city of Alexandria, Alexandria Light and Power (ALP) and the Alexandria Lake Area Sanitary District (ALASD).
The city, ALP and ALASD have not allocated money to the project in their 2012 budgets, but each are proposing amounts for 2013 and 2014 that could be contributed toward the 68 square mile area surrounding the city of Alexandria. The contract between the county and Pictometry will allow other public agencies to be partners with the county and have the same rights to use the software and images.
Oblique photography will change slightly for 2012 from what was executed in 2009. The Land Records Management Committee recommended that the low level area be increased to approximately 319 square miles (approximately 249 square miles in 2009) and shot in four-inch resolution as was done in 2009. The rest of the county will be flown at high-level with 12-inch resolution, the same as 2009.
Aerial images have been sold in the past and bring in less than $1,000 a year, said County Surveyor Gary Stevenson. “It never amounts to very much,” he said.
Commissioners agreed upon the contract, stipulating that it not exceed $160,000. The proposed cost is $145,985 with 6.875 percent sales tax for a total of $155,474. The contract will be paid equally over three years.
Commissioner Norm Salto expressed concern about the amount of money that will be paid exclusively in sales tax – approximately $10,000. “Money comes out of the budget each year, just for sales tax,” Salto said. The commissioners are in support of repealing sales tax imposed on counties.
An aerial photograph from 1938 is an example of how useful the pictometry project has been over the years. Tom Anderson, Douglas County drainage and agriculture inspector, said the photo shows county ditch 10 had an open ditch configuration in 1938. It has since been filled in by the landowner and tiled for drainage. The fork of branch one is now in need of repair.
County ditch 10 is located off Buckskin Lane north of Garfield between County Roads 12 and 6 near Private Lake.
The landowner has agreed to provide the pipe to allow drainage and the county will cover installation, according to public works. Issues may arise regarding wetlands further upland that could entail seeking legal counsel. Kurt Deter would be consulted to deal with questions regarding the wetland conservation act.
“The landowner doesn’t want the open ditch,” Tom Anderson said. The area where the ditch once was has been farmed over and the landowner would like to continue that practice, he added. Commissioners approved Anderson’s request to seek legal counsel if needed.
With plans of spring in sight, summer will inevitably follow, which means – zebra mussels. Douglas County Land and Resource Management Director Dave Rush requested approval to apply for a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) grant that would further advance the county’s efforts in preventing the spread of mussels.
If approved, the grant would allow for the hire of four to six part-time summer employees who would serve as watercraft inspectors from May 15 through October 1.
Rush said that the state now has a good idea of how to proceed with the decontamination process. One decontamination unit – basically a high-powered mobile pressure washer – will likely be housed at Lake Carlos State Park. The unit would be moved around to service water accesses.
Rush recommended the county look into purchasing an additional unit. Commissioners approved Rush’s application for the grant. Once a decision is made on the grant application, further steps can be explored in buying a mobile washer. Rush said the maximum estimate for the unit is $21,000.
Summer Concert Series
The Red Willow Arts Coalition will be adding a few highlights to its 2012 summer concert series. A menu board will be located on the courthouse lawn announcing upcoming performances and wafts of popcorn will be detected in the air from the new addition of a popcorn machine.