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June 16, 2003 Tape #012

The White County Drainage Board convened at 10:30 A.M. EST in the Commissioners’ Room of the White County Building, Monticello, Indiana with Board Members Ronald A. Schmierer, John C. Heimlich and O. D. “Bud” Ferguson, Attorney George W. Loy, Engineer Todd Frauhiger of CTE Engineers and Secretary Romana Kiser in attendance.

Also attending were Sonja Shively and Charles Mellon.

Chairman Schmierer opened the Maintenance Hearing on the Clarence Bossung Drain in Honey Creek Township, White County, Indiana. Chairman Schmierer stated, “We had a landowners meeting on this once before. For the record, what we are doing with this is getting ready to do some maintenance work, like take all the silt out of it, very little brush removal and the estimated cost for this will be $20,443.00. To pay for this we need to raise the maintenance on the landowners on just the Clarence Bossung Drain at the present time.”

Secretary Kiser explained, “This isn’t exactly as we discussed at the landowners’ meeting. We’re actually putting the Clarence Bossung Open Drain part (Branch of Esther Fraser Drain) on maintenance by itself.” Attorney Loy stated it is not a (maintenance) modification. Chairman Schmierer stated, “The rate we are going to set on that will be $10.00 an acre. At that time, when this (maintenance project) is paid for, this will drop off and won’t be collected once there is adequate money to maintain it. That’s what we’re planning on doing. So, we’ve had a landowners’ meeting on it and that’s what we are trying to do. Is there anybody here that has questions on it?”

Sonja Shively spoke on behalf of the Truman Westphal farm saying, “The Westphal farm is only four acres (benefited) but yet you are going to dig all the way back across that farm and you are going to put all that silt on that farm. Why can’t you put it on the railroad side instead of on our farm? It’s not going to hurt the railroad, but it is going to hurt our ground.”

Chairman Schmierer said, “We were through this at the last meeting and our problem is getting permission from the railroad to put it on that side. If you have been back there and looked at it lately, it is almost impossible to put it on the railroad side. There’s just no way, if we had to go in and clean all the brush and everything off of that side. We weren’t going to touch that side of the ditch other than just the bank where brush is hanging down, and that will be done with some other maintenance money. There’s just no way to put it on that side. When they do put it on the south side that will be all leveled out.”

Sonja Shively stated, “The only reason you put it on the south side is because it’s farm land and it’s been cleaned and cleared. Is that my problem?” Chairman Schmierer answered, “No, but it has to be dipped. It is all silted in, that’s what we’re doing.” Sonja Shively stated, “So whose problem is it to clean the other side of the ditch? Is that your problem or is it my problem?” Chairman Schmierer asked, “To clean the other side of the ditch?” Sonja Shively said, “Yes, so you could put the sludge on that side, instead of on the side of the farm, where it is going to hurt the income of that farm. I mean, this is productive ground and we have kept the ground clean, but now it is going to have to suffer because the ground is kept clean and we don’t have stuff growing up over there for you to dump it on our ground. You are going to damage the ground. I talked to John (Heimlich) last night. I don’t want to put it in a strip thing (program with Soil Conservation office) like you suggested, for ten years.” Sonja Shively voiced concerns that this farm would be left like another farm was left on another project. She stated that the people that did that job left the bank in such a mess that they had to hire someone to come in and re-do it. She asked, “Are you going to make it so it is going to be cleared and done neatly so the farm can be farmed again?”

Chairman Schmierer said, “It will be leveled out. All the ground is meant to be put back in condition to be farmed. When this is done it can be inspected, it will be inspected by our Surveyor before it should be paid for. I don’t know who farms your ground, but we can make sure that it is taken care of.” Sonja Shively said that Roger Wiese farms the one in Reynolds. Chairman Schmierer said that we had talked with Roger and told him what the problem was with the railroad and if we would wait on the railroad to do this job, we would be 3 to 5 years out.

Sonja Shively asked if it is the railroad’s job to keep that area cleaned. Chairman Schmierer said it probably is, but it is just hard to enforce, hard to get anything done. He said we have tile and culverts under the railroads where it is just next to impossible to get anything done with them.

Sonja Shively stated, “According to the information that you sent me, we are only going to benefit four acres off of this, but the whole back farm is going to have all this stuff sitting on it in the fall, I guess that’s when they’re going to do it.” Chairman Schmierer said, “It should be leveled out to be farmed. I have never seen it when it wasn’t leveled out to be farmed.” Sonja Shively stated she thought they wouldn’t get the acreage back to where it was for maybe four years after a project like this. Board Member Heimlich said there shouldn’t be any problem in that section of the project. He said there is hardly any brush along that side. It should be just silt. Chairman Schmierer said her ground is closest to the Fraser and they don’t farm that close to the bank anyway. Board Member Heimlich said yes, on that they do.

Sonja Shively stated, “I would also like something in writing. You are talking about a $10.00 fee; I’d like something in writing to say how long this fee is going to be, if it is going to be 3 years, 2 years, whatever it is.” Board Member Heimlich stated, “Mrs. Shively called me last night and I wasn’t clear from our last meeting if this was going to be a new maintenance on the Clarence Bossung Drain or if it was going to be on the Esther Fraser Drain.”

Secretary Kiser explained, “We broke the Clarence Bossung Drain watershed out of the big Esther Fraser Drain watershed and we decided to put them on maintenance because we talked with the Auditor and everybody concerned. It was going to be very confusing.” Chairman Schmierer said, “So now they’re not on the Fraser?” Secretary Kiser stated, “Yes, they’re still on the Esther Fraser. They are still in the Esther Fraser Drain watershed; we just broke them out for this project.”

Chairman Schmierer asked, “If I understand right, the plans on this is to leave the $10.00 per acre maintenance fee on this long enough to pay for the project.” Secretary Kiser said, “If you want to say that when the project is paid for you are going to drop the maintenance rate back and leave it on maintenance or if you are going to take it back off of maintenance, do we have to do a hearing at that time?”

Attorney Loy stated, “As is, it will continue yearly until the account has more than it needs.” Board Member Heimlich stated that what we have done before is to collect the yearly maintenance for whatever duration it takes to pay off the project. If the bid comes in lower than the estimate, collecting for three years would probably pay it. Attorney Loy stated that the final rate is whatever you are proposing here and that will continue annually. Board Member Heimlich said in this case the annual maintenance is figured according to the cost of this reconstruction, if you did that four four years it will be a lot more money than you need for the project. Attorney Loy said most ditches have an annual assessment that just go on perpetually. Chairman Schmierer said we are not trying to do that with this one, we’re just trying to pay for this maintenance project. Attorney Loy said that by way of a motion and vote on it we would say that we are going to impose these annual assessments for x number of years.

Board Member Heimlich said that according to the estimate that would be collecting for 3.4 years, so four years should more than do it plus you would have some money in the fund then. Attorney Loy asked how much it would take in annually. That answer was $4,850.00. Attorney Loy said, “Give yourselves a cushion.” Chairman Schmierer said, “We really need a motion today to say that we are going to put a four year cap on collecting.”

Board Member Ferguson made the motion to collect $10.00 an acre maintenance on the Clarence Bossung Open Drain for a period of four years. Board Member Heimlich stated he needed to abstain from voting since he is a landowner on the project. Board Member Schmierer stated “Let the record show that Board Member Heimlich abstained from voting on this motion.” Board Member Schmierer seconded the motion. The motion carried by a vote of 2 in favor and 0 opposed.

Sonja Shively said, “So when they are done with the ditch project if it is not up to what we feel is farmable the Commissioners will come in and do something?” Chairman Schmierer stated, “We will see to it that it is farmable. I’ll give you my word that we will see to it that it is farmable.” Sonja Shively was agreeable to that.

Charlie Mellon told Mrs. Shively that they can make more money by putting a 100 feet from the ditch bank in the government program than they can by farming it. Board Member Heimlich said that is what he explained to her.

Chairman Schmierer read the Adoption of Maintenance on the Clarence Bossung Open Drain in Honey Creek Township, “There being no further discussion or evidence to be submitted in these proceedings, the Chairman would now consider a motion to adopt the schedule of assessments originally filed ($10.00 an acre) , as amended to read that they will be collected for four years.” Board Member Ferguson so moved. Board Member Schmierer seconded. Board Member Heimlich abstained from voting. “Let the record show that Mr. Heimlich abstained. Upon the motion being made and seconded and having considered all the evidence and objections concerning the proposed schedule of assessments, those members of the White County Drainage Board in favor of adopting the schedule of assessments as originally filed and amended in these proceedings please raise your right hand. The White County Drainage Board by a vote of 2 in favor and 0 opposed with Mr. Heimlich abstaining from voting, now hereby adopts the schedule of assessments originally filed ($10.00 an acre), as amended to collect for four years. The White County Drainage Board issues its written Findings and Order declaring the maintenance report as scheduled in these proceedings established. Notice of this Order shall be posted as required by law. This meeting is adjourned.” The documents of this proceeding were signed by the Board.

Secretary Kiser informed the Board that the invitations to bid on Spraying will be ready to send out in a day or two. Chairman Schmierer asked Secretary Kiser to direct Surveyor Sterrett to send the invitations out.

Engineer Frauhiger recommended approval for the portion of Windward Subdivision, owner Greg Jacobs, that is in White County. He stated that he and Surveyor Sterrett have spoken with the Carroll County Surveyor and visited the site. The majority of the Subdivision and the detention ponds they are proposing are on the Carroll County side. The two ponds will drain through a small portion of White County and to the lake. There is an existing gully that goes from the Subdivision down to the lake where this drainage will be directed. Carroll County Surveyor Wayne Chapman has looked at the calculations and has asked Engineer Frauhiger to look at one other thing for him just based on the calculations just to make sure that these ponds are correct, but from the White County side, Engineer Frauhiger said we would recommend approval. Engineer Frauhiger stated that this has been through the White County Zoning and the Carroll County Commission also and we have a letter here from Carroll County stating that they have approved a portion of it.

Board Member Ferguson made a motion to approve the drainage plan for Windward Subdivision, owner Greg Jacobs. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously. (CedarCrest is the Carroll County side of the development.)

Engineer Frauhiger presented a full drainage review for the Streitmatter Hog Production Facility located near Lee in northwestern White County. An aerial of the site was viewed. Engineer Frauhiger stated, “The new building will be constructed where the trees are. This is an open private drain that eventually drains into an open legal County drain. They are going to build a berm around the back of the proposed building with an outlet pipe and an orifice plate to control flows and that will be discharged right into the field where the water currently goes. The water drains across the field to this private open ditch and then it will be directed the same way but it will be detained now. We have reviewed calculations, we had a site meeting with the owner, the owner owns the field that they are going to be draining across to the private ditch. Calculations are in order. We talked to Engineer Paul Couts and the owner and we are ready to recommend approval on this one also.”

Board Member Heimlich made a motion to approve the drainage plan for Streitmatter Hog Production Facility. Board Member Ferguson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Secretary Kiser stated we plan to open bids for spraying at the next meeting. The only two bidders we are aware of and plan to send to are Dalton’s and Shideler’s.

Board Member Heimlich made a motion to approve the minutes of the last meeting. Board Member Ferguson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Secretary Kiser reported that the Clarence Bossung Drain project is ready to be advertised for bid. Chairman Schmierer asked if part of the project was going to be able to be done now or wait until fall. Board Member Heimlich said as late as it is we should probably wait until fall.

Chairman Schmierer adjourned the meeting.