Ditch dispute hovers in stall mode

The waiting game continues for landowners along Joint Ditch 15 in Lyon and Redwood counties following a hearing in District Court on Thursday, Aug. 11.

Landowners had filed for petition for improvement in 2018. During a meeting on April 6, 2022, the Joint Ditch 15 Lyon/Redwood Board of Commissioners accepted the redetermination of benefits.

However, once the redetermination was approved, Redwood County commissioners requested that the makeup of the board be changed from three Lyon County commissioners and two Redwood County commissioners to three Redwood County commissioners and two Lyon County commissioners, as it was determined that Redwood County had more benefited acres in the approved redetermination of benefits. Lyon County commissioners opposed changing the board at this point in the process.

The board voted 3-2 to stay with the current makeup with the votes on county lines. Following the vote, the two current Redwood County commissioners resigned from the joint board of commissioners. Therefore, the final hearing could not take place.

Following the resignation of the Redwood County board members, a meeting was held on April 12 with the full board of commissioners from both counties to accept the resignations of the two Redwood County commissioners and appoint new members.

The resignations were accepted, but Redwood County chose not to appoint any commissioners to the joint board unless the board makeup was changed. The meeting was adjourned without any board appointments, and the final hearing was set for May 11.

At the May 11 meeting, Lyon County Attorney Rick Maes advised the board that it could move forward without a Redwood County commissioner on the joint board, and perhaps the court would have the process be started over again because a Redwood County commissioner was not on the joint board as required by state statute, or the board could continue the hearing. This would allow the petitioners to file in district court to get the two vacancies filled or have an order from the court that would allow them to move forward with a quorum despite a lack of representation from Redwood County.

The board chose to continue the hearing.

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