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August 4, 2003 Tape #015

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, Surveyor Dennis W. Sterrett and Secretary Romana Kiser present.

Others in attendance were David Bosgraaf, Jack Pherson, Trent Pherson and Charlie Mellon.

Chairman Schmierer opened the meeting. Chairman Schmierer explained to Attorney Loy, “At the last meeting we had discussed with Trent and Jack Pherson here a letter they got from Professor Frankenberger at Purdue University (concerning the performance of the Brechbiel Drain). In the letter she suggested that they get a second opinion and I had said we would put it on the agenda for today’s meeting because I would rather wait to talk to counsel about how that could be handled. I had talked to you (Attorney Loy) this morning under the assumption that Todd Frauhiger was going to be here today.”

Surveyor Sterrett said Todd Frauhiger said he didn’t have any problem with getting another engineering firm. Chairman Schmierer said that when he talked to Attorney Loy this morning, his advice was to let Todd defend… (sentence not finished) …..Attorney Loy said, “I’d like the existing engineering firm to see what was submitted.” Secretary Kiser stated that Todd Frauhiger has a copy of the letter written by Professor Frankenberger. Chairman Schmierer asked if he commented on it. Surveyor Sterrett stated, “What we talked about this morning was that he didn’t have any problem with getting another engineering firm. He has always told me that he didn’t think that anything other than an open ditch would carry that much water out of that hole.” Jack Pherson disagreed with that and said, “No, no, I’ve got a letter from one of the people from that engineering firm (engineering firm unidentified) and there is sizes of tile and correct sizes to carry that water away. There’s only about once or twice a year that the ponding is real bad and like the lady says, we have basically a maximum of forty-eight hours to get the water off of the crops. I always thought if I can get it off in thirty hours, hey I made it, thirty-six hours you are going to start losing some, but when you go up to forty-eight hours that is the maximum and……the tile, the diameter size wouldn’t have to be that much greater to handle that amount of water. It sets there for a certain length of time after a big rain and it’s just shooting that water up out of there.” Chairman Schmierer said, “The two twelves are pushing, that’s what you’re saying?” Jack said, “Right.”

Surveyor Sterrett stated, “I hate to sit here and defend what was done, but what I have heard was that Rick (Raderstorf) didn’t want to put in anything bigger than what was in there. They had tried to get a bigger tile on the Thimlar Drain and that was shot down.”

Jack Pherson said, “This engineering firm is supposed to be there to protect us landowners, give us the correct product that we are going out there to purchase. They’re supposed to understand this watershed, how much a tile can carry and all that. How much will it take to get rid of a two inch rainfall in a twenty-four hour period, because our goal is to produce an agriculture crop and we have to protect that. Whereas in the city I understand what you’re trying to do is control the flow, out there we have to move it in a hurry.”

Chairman Schmierer asked Attorney Loy what his take on this was. Attorney Loy stated that it is entirely up to the Board. He asked if Todd was contemplating on responding formerly to this. Attorney Loy stated, “The bottom line on this is, right now you have two twelve inch tiles draining into a fifteen inch tile.” Jack Pherson said, “Mrs. Frankenberger says that can be done as long as the fifteen and the twelves are on the same grade, but our twelves are on a greater grade so that is going to put more water toward that fifteen which is not capable of handling it. We go from a 1.6 grade on the fifteen to a .21 minimum on the twelves. That extra grade moves a lot more water and grade is the cheapest form of moving water that you can have.”

Attorney Loy said, “And therefore you are suggesting relaying the fifteen?” Jack Pherson said, “We need to do something so that where those two twelves come together, there’s something there to handle it, whatever that solution may be. Bobby Wrede made the comment that basically we have something like two freight trains coming toward one opening and it’s not big enough for both of them.” Chairman Schmierer said, “There is an air well right there where those three tiles join so the water comes out over the top and floods this.” Attorney Loy asked what would happen if the airwell was not there. Jack Pherson said it (tile) would blow up. Chairman Schmierer said the water is coming in there with such force it is blowing up out of the air well and over onto the field.

Surveyor Sterrett had a letter that was received in his office on August 12, 2002 from Engineer David Finley addressing concerns raised by Jack Pherson at a Drainage Board meeting regarding problems with recent reconstruction of the C. Brechbiel Drain. The letter is on file in the White County Surveyor’s office. The Board Members briefly reviewed the letter. Trent Pherson also had a copy of the letter.

Attorney Loy reviewed, “What it boils down to is there still is a drainage problem, and what would it take to relieve it? And, thirdly, what’s the cost versus the benefit? There are some drainage problems that we just ….inaudible-see tape ……”

Chairman Schmierer stated, “My thoughts on this, we need to come to a conclusion of what’s it going to take to fix it and whether we can afford to fix it. Or, whether it is worth the project? We are going to have to have someone come in and tell us what we have to do to fix it. I don’t know who we get, what we do, but we’re not fixing it talking about it.”

Attorney Loy said, “Todd is basically saying that at the time that he designed it, he was under the understanding that there were cost constraints to limit the size of the fifteen (inch tile).” Chairman Schmierer said, “Right, what I get from Todd (Engineer Frauhiger), I don’t know that it is in the minutes any place, I haven’t checked it again, but I didn’t see it in the minutes before, but from what I get from Todd, Rick (Raderstorf, former Surveyor) told him he didn’t want to go any bigger than that because of the cost factor.”

Trent Pherson stated, “That’s what I get from Todd. We can’t figure out who told Rick to worry about the money. The landowners are the ones paying for this project.” Chairman Schmierer said, “To my knowledge it is not in the minutes.” Trent Pherson stated that the only person who threw a fit about this whole project was Wayne Hunt. Jack Pherson stated, “I know at one of the meetings when most of the landowners were here cost was not the object, performance was the factor. I know Dr. Tribbett shared with me ‘we don’t care about the cost, we just want the situation corrected out there’.”

Attorney Loy said, “And, the likely correction is replacement or supplementing the fifteen inch tile, not the twelve inch tiles.” Jack Pherson answered, “Whatever person that makes that decision, the fifteen needs something done to take more water. Whatever that solution might be.”

Chairman Schmierer asked, “Do we go back to Todd with it, do we go to another engineering firm, or what do we do?” Attorney Loy stated, “It is your call.”

Jack Pherson asked, “Can we talk to someone like Allen Howe (contractor)? And say ‘we have this problem, what is your solution to eliminate this problem?’ See what his idea is.” Attorney Loy and Chairman Schmierer said, “It can’t hurt.” Chairman Schmierer suggested going to Francesville Tile Company and tell them what we have and see what they come up with. He said neither of those two options are going to cost us any money and we’re already $2,000.00 in debt. Jack Pherson said, “Last summer I talked to Francesville Tile and kind of gave him a brief of the situation. At that time we had the system in and I told him a grade I wanted to put the fifteen on and I told him I need these two twelves and they have to be on this grade, what will happen? He told me the fifteen will be too small or the twelves will be too big.”

Chairman Schmierer said, “Well, let’s contact Allen Howe. You (Jack Pherson) go ahead and contact Allen Howe and I don’t care if we contact Francesville Tile Company and ask them what it takes for two twelves to drain, what size tile it has to be to come out. We’re not fixing it talking about it; we have to do something with it. Let’s try that before we hire another engineering firm. Is that suitable with you? (Jack said that is suitable) I don’t want to spend another ten to fifteen thousand on an engineering firm, or twenty thousand if we don’t have to.” Jack Pherson said, “I agree. The money engineering firms get could be spent on correct drains, but I also understand why the law was put in place.” Chairman Schmierer said, “The law is not an all bad law, it has corrected a lot of things. Alright let’s do that, we’ll be here in two weeks. If Allen wants to come in and talk to us about it we’ll welcome it.” Jack Pherson said he will give him the invitation.

Surveyor Sterrett presented a plat and a letter and photo requesting a waiver from the White County Drainage Ordinance for Trost Subdivision, owner Eunice Maxell, in Princeton Township. Surveyor Sterrett explained it is a one lot subdivision with an existing farm house on it. It is two miles north of the interstate on State Highway 231, south of Wolcott, Indiana. He stated that he and Engineer Frauhiger went to the site and looked at it. They saw no problem with it at all.

Board Member Heimlich made a motion to approve a waiver for the Trost Subdivision their drainage plan. Board Member Ferguson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Surveyor Sterrett reported that the Carter-Hines Drain Reconstruction project is finished and he has inspected it and thought that everything looked fine. The Drainage Board members signed the document of completion at this time.

Surveyor Sterrett reported that Barry Mohler, a representative of Vantage Point, came in to inquire about what it takes to install fiber optics in White County. Chairman Schmierer stated that we required an inspector on the last job; they paid for a County inspector so much an hour. Charlie Mellon stated that they paid him $245.00 per day. Chairman Schmierer said we charged them per road, per ditch and per tile they crossed. He said he thought it was $2,500.00 per crossing; anyway it was so much per crossing per tile, per ditch and per road. Attorney Loy asked if Surveyor Sterrett had a route. Surveyor Sterrett said they didn’t state a route. He understood it was for Monon Telephone Company to tie their fiber optics in with a major network. He thought perhaps it was from Monon to Highway 24, they were just in the preliminary stages. Attorney Loy went to retrieve the file on Williams Communications, which was the last company to lay fiber optics in the County.

Surveyor Sterrett reported that we are repairing the H. A. B. Moorhaus Drain at County Road 250 North with the White County Highway Department. He said the watershed is paying for the contractor and the County Highway Department is going to provide everything else since it is a roadway cut. Chairman Schmierer said, “T hat is generally what they do on Reconstruction, too, they provide any culvert you need or anything is that what you are saying?” Surveyor Sterrett said, “That is what we are going to look at today. Mike (County Line Tiling) and he has it uncovered today and it is plastic tile. He thought it looked pretty good but it might collapse again. The County Highway was going out there this morning. There’s a lot of water behind it.”

David Bosgraaf addressed the Board concerning problems on the Clarence Fee Drain. Mr. Bosgraaf presented a letter he had sent to the Commissioners and a drawing. Mr. Bosgraaf said he bought the property three years ago. He said that Surveyor Sterrett has been very helpful and he has gone to the Highway Department with it.

Mr. Bosgraaf explained, “The water from across the street, up on a hill, which is next to Mr. Scheffer’s property, runs onto his driveway at the mobile home park back up there on the hill, that hill water runs onto his road which is Dove Tail Lane, which I don’t know if it is a County recognized road, and it runs down Dove Tail Lane onto North West Shafer Drive for a little ways then across the road and into the ditch in front of our three pieces of property. The ditch in front of our three pieces of property doesn’t go absolutely anywhere. It runs up to the lady next door’s driveway and stops. It doesn’t get to the Clarence Fee Drain. Then it overflows, the ditch overflows and runs across our property and runs between our houses. It takes about a half inch rain for that to happen. There is a culvert in the ditch on the west side that Denny didn’t know about that I found now, it is only an eight inch culvert, but it is beat up, blocked up, but that runs to this Clarence Fee Drain which is on the west side of the street. Right in front of the Clarence Fee Drain was a big puddle in the road, right along side of it. The berm was holding the puddle on the road. Somebody dug a little trench there and eliminated that problem, but the water running across the road up by us, depends on the size of the rain, but runs for a significant time after the rain, because that ground is still draining down under there. The Clarence Fee Drain manhole is starting to undermine the road. I think in the minutes that Denny found, or the lady found in the office, that manhole was supposed to be moved back but it never was and now it is starting to undermine the road. There’s been some pieces of wood put on top of it right alongside the road to prevent that but that’s not happening. Of course the water comes around Mr. Scheffer’s house and you can see a river coming down there into the Clarence Fee where it is supposed to go. With the big rain we had the Clarence Fee Tile handled that all very fine, no problem whatsoever, but it doesn’t catch us. My idea about it, I’m no engineer, would be to clean the ditch out on the west side of the road to catch that water , but under this man’s driveway there is no culvert, and from talking to Denny it’s grandfathered in and he doesn’t need a culvert, but he’s willing to have a culvert put in there and I’m willing to pay for the culvert if that’s what it is or put it on our side of the road and let us have an inlet to the Clarence Fee Drain on our side of the road , which isn’t the right idea because the water is still coming across the road. During this last rain somebody ran into the ditch by us and messed up their car pretty bad and the skid marks are still there. I know they were probably going too fast but the sherriffs have been very good about keeping people down to the speed limit is 30 there. That’s our problem; the water runs between our house and Mrs. Blochman’s house, quite significant amount of water. It comes all the way across our driveway. We don’t live there all the time, we have come back and seen in our garage where the high water mark was and we didn’t understand what that was. But, when it rains, the water comes up in the garage.”

Chairman Schmierer stated that when we had this problem back three years ago or so, former White County Attorney Sheryl Pherson supposed to get us a written commitment from Mr. Scheffer to encroach upon him to move that catch basin back and I don’t think she was able to get that. Steve (Brooke, White County Highway Superintendent) agreed to do that at that time if we would get written commitment from Scheffer to move that catch basin west, off of the road.

Board Member Heimlich said that Mr. Scheffer doesn’t have the problem anymore; back when I was out there he had water running through his house. Mr. Bosgraaf said it now runs around his house. Chairman Schmierer said, “He put a waterway around it, the problem is that tile that goes down through there, we’ve had it cameraed before. It’s a bigger tile than you think it is. It’s an 18 inch tile and they thought it was an 8 inch tile. It can probably carry the water if we can get that catch basin moved off of the road a little ways on that side. (Mr. Bosgraaf said it carries the water) I do know that our former County Counsel was supposed to get a contract with Mr. Scheffer to give us permission. We have to have written permission from him to extend that back and I don’t know what happened, but Steve (Supt. Brooke) said he couldn’t do anything with it until we had that. It’s encroaching.” Attorney Loy said, “Yes, if he is voluntarily willing to give it to us.”

Board Member Ferguson said he remembers at one time there was an open ditch that ran from West Shafer Drive to the lake. Chairman Schmierer said that is where they put the tile in. Board Member Ferguson said maybe they didn’t put one big enough in. Mr. Bosgraaf stated the tile handles the water that is coming through it even with the big rain we had. Surveyor Sterrett said actually a 21 inch tile. Mr. Bosgraaf said “The tile takes the water fine but it doesn’t take the water off of this hill which is supposed to go down to the ditch in front of his house (Scheffer’s), and I guess he threatened that if you dig that ditch out to where he can’t mow it, he’s going to do… whatever…his nice words. If you have a contract that you want him to sign, I’ll go over and attempt to get him to sign it. I think I can do that. Well, anyway, if the ditch on the west side was cleaned out from Dove Tail Lane down to the catch basin for the Clarence Fee Drain, which involves going across his other driveway, that would prevent the water from coming across the road into our ditches and overflowing. But our ditches go absolutely no where. They go up to this lady’s driveway and then it’s flat and it’s pitching down that way. She’s all excited about it, she is getting ready to sell her property and Rick Mann on the other side is willing to cooperate, too. If there’s some costs involved that we have to pay, we are willing to talk about that. It runs across my path to my garage, and into my garage period.”

Chairman Schmierer stated that has been a problem out there for some time. He said that being lower than the rest, it’s always going to run downhill. He said we need to check with Steve Brooke on that and see what he needs and try to help him get it around and we’ll pursue it. Mr. Bosgraaf stated that the Assistant Superintendent of County Highways came out and looked at the site, and he also stopped at the County Highway garage and left his name but never heard anything from them.

Attorney Loy reported on the Williams Communications contract. He stated that the contract was for $27,000.00 and that was at $500.00 per crossing for either road right-of-way or drain right-of-way. He said we had minimum specs on how deep the borings are and of course we had the million dollar bond. A bond would be required. Ask for a route first. Chairman Schmierer said Jasper County had a similar contract like we did. We were up there and talked to them about it.

Surveyor Sterrett reported that Shideler Spray Service started spraying this morning.

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

Board Member Heimlich reported that Dick Schroeder approached him again about what he needs to do concerning the ditch that he wants the County to take over. Mr. Schroeder was confused as to what he was to do next. He has petitioned for the County to take it over. Attorney Loy asked how many landowners there are. Board Member Heimlich said two. Secretary Kiser said, “We have to notify the whole Dieter Drain watershed, it goes into the Dieter Ditch, right?” Board Member Heimlich said, “It goes into the Dieter Ditch. Right now it is a private drain.” Secretary Kiser asked, “Does Denny go out and work up the legal on it?” Attorney Loy said, “No, they need to get a legal description on it.”

Surveyor Sterrett stated that we have a letter from Richard Schroeder that is dated May 21, 2001. He did not know if it got to the Board or not. Chairman Schmierer said we discussed it at a meeting. Board Member Heimlich said as he recalls we told him that he would have to petition and there would be a Hearing and everybody on the Dieter would have to be notified. Attorney Loy said, “If it is going to be added to that watershed. It drains into the Dieter?” Secretary Kiser said, “Right, it already does.” Attorney Loy said, “The end result therefore it would be a part of the Dieter Drain.” Surveyor Sterrett said he calls it the Heimlich Ditch. Board Member Heimlich said that he and Surveyor Raderstorf went out and looked at the ditch. Secretary Kiser said it has been hanging because we didn’t have a legal on it. Surveyor Sterrett said, “I guess I don’t know what he needs to provide us.” Attorney Loy stated, “A legal description of the route.” Board Member Heimlich said on this private ditch there’s only two landowners and he assumes they pay on the Dieter anyway. Chairman Schmierer asked how all the people on the Dieter Ditch would be affected. Board Member Heimlich said, “Only if we were someway going to add it to it, if you weren’t going to have separate maintenance on it. But, if they were going to set it up separate with separate maintenance, it’s probably not what he has in mind, I don’t know. I explained to him, the only advantage to having the County take it over, if you have work done on it you get the other landowners to pay their fair share. Which I thought was what he was interested in, why else would it make any difference. He paid all of it before.” Surveyor Sterrett said if he puts it on the Dieter, that would be all the owners on the Dieter affected, right? Attorney Loy said yes. Chairman Schmierer said if you’re not going to put it on the Dieter you would just have the two landowners then. Surveyor Sterrett said so anything done on it they’d be paying anyway.

Attorney Loy said we would have to have a Hearing and the cost is all his of mailing notices. The landowner should do as much of the work as possible.

Chairman Schmierer adjourned the meeting.