The Accomack County Board of Supervisors discussed problems with the County ditch cleaning program Monday night. County Administrator Mike Mason proposed that the current practice of financing ditch projects with district funds be replaced with a county wide budget. In the past each Supervisor has had ditch money set aside for his or her district. Mason said the proposed change would enable the County to rank the projects in terms of need giving Public Works the flexibility to operate more efficiently. Mason also said the County would like to create another position to handle the acquisition of easements from property owners for the machine to operate on private property. Currently the ditch cleaning machine operator spends quite a bit of time obtaining the easements. The change will allow him to spend his time actually cleaning ditches.
Supervisor Paul Muhly told the Board that he has assisted in the effort to obtain easements and commented that requiring each easement to be notarized impedes progress. Muhly said that often property owners are not living on the Eastern Shore and it is difficult to get them to complete the paper work and return it to the County. Muhly asked if instead of having to obtain easements for each project, if continuing easements could be obtained authorizing the County to maintain the ditches continually. Muhly also said that working with VDOT to hopefully would be essential to improving drainage. Muhly said that you can clean a thousand feet of ditches but if VDOT doesn’t clean the culverts under state roads, the effort is wasted.
Supervisor Grayson Chesser commented that he wholeheartedly supports any effort to eliminate separate district funds stating that the county -wide approach would be far more efficient and result in faster service for the property owners.