gordon-yarrington.jpg Sully residents take considerable care in maintaining their yards to help make the city a beautiful place.  Then someone comes through and in your view destroys what you have worked hard to accomplish.   Therefore, I would like to help you understand the current street/ditch program that is taking place and why it is necessary.   The short answer is that water is pooling on the streets hampering drainage which leads to a shorter life span of the streets.   We plan to address this issue in two phases: 1) cutting the shoulder or yard level lower than the street and 2) digging out the ditches.

Phase 1 - Remove the water off the street (April/May 2009)  85% completed

Explanation - Sully uses a drainage ditch system to remove water from the streets, but the water is having a difficult time getting to the ditch because the street is lower than the ditches.  Over the years, through debris washing off the street and settling on the road edge, yard levels have built up higher than the street level which causes water to pool on the street and not run off.  Leaving this water on the street causes degradation of the street surface.  The City spent $500,000 of our tax dollars to upgrade all the streets with blacktop approximately 8 years ago and for the most part, the city is expecting the streets to last for the next 15-20 years.   In order to maintain the life of the streets, water must not be allowed to stay on the street surface after a rain and therefore the yard level must be lower than the street level in order to allow run off of the rain water.

Required Action - The City Council has instructed Public Works personnel to cut back the edge of the surface next to the streets to allow water to run off.  This is being done by using the maintainer and angling the blade down to cut the shoulder/yard surface lower than the street.  This process has already started on the north/south streets and will continue until the entire city is completed.

The city has ownership of the right-of-way which is a set number of feet from the edge of the street or if you have a sidewalk, the area between the street and the sidewalk.  The purpose of this right-of-way is for street maintenance, water removal, and utility easements.  The property owner or person that lives in the home has the responsibility to maintain this area and may even use it to enhance the look of their property.   However, the fact remains that the city needs to use this area to keep a working system for water drainage and snow removal.


Phase 2 - Water Removal System/Ditches (2009/2010)

Explanation - The ditch system that the City uses to remove water after rains has been allowed to fill with dirt from the street.  In years past, the ditch system was annually maintained by digging out the ditches to keep the water moving out of town during rains.  If you look at the culvert in your driveway and see that the culvert is filling or has filled in with dirt, leaves, or debris this is not allowing clear passage of water through the ditch and causing the system to back up.

Required Action - Once the streets are cut back, the Public Works men will begin digging out the ditches and cleaning out the culverts.  This will take more time and we would like to complete this in 2009 but in all actuality it will probably take two years to complete this task.   This again will require cutting sod away and sloping the ditch to allow the water to run off the street and move down the ditch and out of town.  The City is looking at purchasing a small excavator to do this work to allow as clean and smooth an area as possible when finished.  We will be removing the excess dirt from your property (if you want the dirt for some other area of your property, you will need to let us know) leaving exposed dirt in the ditch.  The City will not be re-seeding this area.   Driveways that have been put in without culverts and allowed to build up higher than the street will be cut back and if it is determined necessary a culvert will be installed.  If a culvert is necessary, this will be discussed with you prior to being done, however, the cost of the culvert will be the home owner’s responsibility.

Added benefit of this program - It will help reduce water infiltration into the sanitary sewer system by moving the water out of town and eliminates pooling of water that may slowly seep into the sewer lines. Reseeding  when the ditch is dug out - Cutting back the yard edge off the street has probably taken place and the ditch clean out this year will start soon.  The ditch digging will be prioritized by severity of sediment in the ditch.  Caution must be used in reseeding to not fill the contour back in raising the level of the ditch once it has been cleaned.

Filled Ditches - They have to be lower than the street and somewhat cupped where the ditch used to be so the water does not set on the street.  If you have filled in your ditch and made this level, you will find that this is not to City Code and must be corrected.  If you have any questions, there are several homes that have completed this process correctly which look very nice and may be used as examples of what it needs to look like.  If you have no drainage tile and your lawn is level with the street you will gain a ditch to remove water.  If the drainage tile that has been installed is causing back up in the surrounding vicinity a ditch may replace the drainage tile. 

Our goal is not to destroy the look of your property, but to insure that the streets in front of your property are maintained properly in order to minimize the cost/taxes of replacing them sooner than would be needed.  If you have further questions after reading this letter, please contact me or a council member.

I ask that you come to the meetings once you get your notice that your street(s) will be getting cleaned and discuss any thoughts on your mind.  The people doing the cleaning of the ditches are acting on direction by the City Council.


Mayor, City of Sully -  Gordon Yarrington