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By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
After some discussion during a work session last Thursday, the Ste. Genevieve Board of Aldermen opted not to clean out a drainage ditch behind 744 Rozier Street, as a resident had requested.
Duke Bleckler of 744 Rozier had complained that the stormwater swale behind his house that runs toward Valle Springs Park has silted in and no longer properly drains stormwater from yards, as it flows from Highway 61, a trailer park behind his street and a stormwater pipe the city installed along Highway M.
He had requested that the city clean out the ditch like it did about 10 years ago. City records, however, show that the city only has a six-foot sewer easement there, not big enough to bring in equipment to do the work. It also appears that much of the stormwater area is on an adjacent mobile home court.
The issue was discussed at an Aug. 24 work session. It was decided to seek cost estimates for the work before making a decision.
However, no cost estimates had been received yet from Alliance Water Resources. Meanwhile, setting the precedent of cleaning out private ditches was not a road the board wanted to go down.
“It’s been brought to my attention by quite a few people after our last meeting, people that have watched it, that we just recently went through the exact same conversations with some residents at Valle Springs and we held the position that it was on private property and that we don’t have any interest in doing that or we can’t do that,” Ward 4 Alderman Joe Prince said. He stressed that this was a similar situation.
“I don’t see, since we’ve already set a precedence, how we can move forward with doing one but not doing the others,” he said. “Even some of the residents in my neighborhood recently spent money to fix drainage in their yards and the inquired if we’re going to set a precedent and do theirs, they would like reimbursement for theirs as well.
“We’re opening up a big can of worms if we change course on what we’ve already established what our method of operation is or what our legalities are.”
Ward 3 Alderman Joe Steiger said he agreed, but noted that as stormwater issues continue, eventually the drainage problem is going to have to be addressed.
A short discussion took place on property owners’ responsibilities for maintaining ditches.
Donovan said he agreed.
“I like to help out –this is a small town – as many people as you can, but when you set a precedent, you set a precedent,” he said. “That could be endless.”