To the Editor: Ditch maintenance a priority?

I read with interest the July 1st article pertaining to the Wood County’s ditch maintenance program. It
is common knowledge that Wood County has an enormous amount of ditches covering many miles abutting to
thousands of land parcels. County Engineer Ray Huber has to prioritize the clean-up or maintenance
program under the constraints placed upon him due to the projected or anticipated funds allocated to his
The commissioners on numerous occasions have discussed revising the budget to include layoffs within
various departments under their control. This may be across the board funding cuts to include the
engineer’s office. I was surprised to read that all of a sudden there is "extra" money
available to hire additional staff or consultants.
If there is not a moratorium, petitions will still be accepted. Since there are limited funds, The
Engineers Office will still have to prioritize the projects. As noted in your article, the engineer’s
office is already involved with other petitioned projects of which one of them is the Portage River
basin. These are all costly and time consuming projects.
Like any other governmental department, the engineer’s office has to live within its budget as
approved/accepted by the Wood County Commissioners. I applaud Mr. Huber for facing up to and taking this
responsibility. This does not mean flooding should be taken lightly. If unchecked this can be a major
problem in the county. If controlling flooding through ditch maintenance was or is a priority, the
commissioners should have communicated this to the county engineer and stepped forward and provided the
appropriate and necessary funding years ago.
William Jacob