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December 1, 2003 Tape #023

The White County Drainage Board convened at 10:45 A.M., EST in the Commissioners’ Room in the White County Building, Monticello, Indiana with Board Members Ronald A. Schmierer, John C. Heimlich and O. D. Ferguson, Attorney George W. Loy, Surveyor Dennis W. Sterrett and Secretary Romana Kiser in attendance.

Others attending were Charles Mellon, Greg Jacobs and Robert Leader.

Chairman Schmierer recognized Greg Jacobs who addressed the Board again on the installation of a silt trap on the Herman Snow Ditch in Union Township, White County, Indiana.

Greg Jacobs stated, “We have identified irrefutably that the legal description extends to the Tippecanoe River. We have several acres that are not paying into this ditch fund. We also have the Lewis Friday Ditch that dumps into the Snow Ditch that the Carroll County Surveyor doesn’t understand why you guys don’t have control of it, because White County has more than fifty percent of the acreage. So we have that fund sitting over there, with no money being assessed, they have a dollar sixty point five cents ($1.60.5) assessment on it.”

Surveyor Sterrett said he doesn’t see that it dumps into the Snow Ditch. Greg Jacobs said, “It dumps, I’m assuming from the legal description, that the Snow Ditch extends out into that big bay so, it drains right to the south of Ted Crowell’s driveway, goes right across and there’s a deep ravine and it dumps down into the bay right in there (indicated on map), according to the Carroll County Surveyor, and maybe he is incorrect.”

Board Member Heimlich asked, “Did I hear you say the Snow Ditch, you say it’s been established that by the legal description the regulated part goes clear to the lake?” Greg Jacobs said, “To the Tippecanoe River is what the language says. I can’t explain why it doesn’t say ‘to Lake Freeman’ because I think Lake Freeman was established at that time, but it doesn’t.” Board Member Heimlich said, “But that would be unusual, most of those the regulated part ends before it gets to the lake.”

Greg Jacobs said, “It does state that it does go through that woods, not only just the woods, but there are several acres of farm ground that drain into this. The pictures that I presented at the last meeting established there’s a tremendous amount of silt coming out of the wooded area. I have only been able to contact one owner, Gordon Denton, he has 7 ½ acres that are in this woods and he said he would think about it. He’s really not positioned correctly for this silt trap, but as far as a potentially willing participant, he would be the only one. Talking to the engineer, it really needs to be, to remediate economically; it really needs to be to the west of the County Road there in the land that Hewitt owns, a gentleman from Missouri. That ground is very well suited for it. What I would like to have is, although we have an estimate that a hundred percent of the engineering would amount to about $9,600.00 and that would take a silt trap from its design to all the as-built drawings, inspections during construction and everything. I asked C & S Engineering to break that down to what I thought was the most important part to get approved and that would be the design and the construction drawings so that we could take a silt trap to bid. He would take in the area in the woods and that would be $4,800.00. I would hope to have a vote from the Board to approve proceeding with the engineering for the silt trap. But really in order to do that, at least before it gets completed, I think that the question that would have to be answered is ‘are you willing to force this silt trap to be installed if you have a landowner that says no’.”

Chairman Schmierer stated, “The only way that I can see you putting a silt trap in that ditch, Greg, is we’d have to have a Hearing on that ditch and you’d have to notify every property owner of what you were going to do, if you’re going to assess them, because you can’t do anything on a ditch without having a Hearing.”

Board Member Heimlich asked, “Now are you talking about assessing them?” Greg Jacobs said, “Yes, I’m saying that we need to, I don’t know the legalities, but we definitely have to establish a meeting. We have several acres that aren’t paying in to this that need to be paying in. As far as me, I don’t, even though that’s what I originally wanted to do in August 2001, I personally do not want to foot the bill for this.” Board Member Heimlich said, “Ok, because that was the question before, I thought maybe you were going to foot the bill, but you wanted the authority to.” Greg Jacobs said, “No, I feel like at forty thousand dollars I’ve invested in silt remediation on the Snow Ditch to date is enough and I can’t afford to go any further. I need this Board to take action on this ditch.”

Chairman Schmierer repeated, “The only way I can see you can do it, Counsel you correct me if I’m wrong, is you’d have to petition it.” Attorney Loy said, “As far as people being assessed, that’s up to I guess Denny’s office to determine whether or not there’s people in the watershed, draining in to this, that aren’t being assessed, I guess that’s the threshold question.” Surveyor Sterrett said he researched it all weekend.”

Board Member Heimlich asked, “Do you agree that there are people that aren’t being assessed?” Surveyor Sterrett answered, “The 1987 modification has a legal description of route and it ends, the first legal description at I think it is 600 feet south of Chalmers Road, and it says that is Station 10+0 and in the next paragraph it says ‘also from Station 10+0 and along the meanderings of existing ditch, which outlets in the Tippecanoe River’.” Attorney Loy asked, “So that was a 1987 Maintenance Modification? (Yes) As far as landowners are concerned…… (Surveyor Sterrett stated that none of them are being assessed).” Chairman Schmierer stated, “There again, you have to have a Hearing to put them on. Attorney Loy said, “Correct, yet then as far as assessing everybody for this silt trap, I think that would be a maintenance project.” Surveyor Sterrett asked, “If you were lowering the ditch wouldn’t that be reconstruction?” Attorney Loy asked, “That would require that?” Board Member Heimlich said, “Yes, a silt trap would be…” Attorney Loy said, “A silt trap is a big ponding area?” Chairman Schmierer said, “Yes, but you’re going to lower it. You’re going to change the flow then it has to be under reconstruction.”

Greg Jacobs said, “Then we can’t approve any engineering without a Hearing.” Chairman Schmierer said, “We can’t approve any money without a Hearing. You have to have a Hearing, you have to petition for us to have a Hearing. Then we have to petition to put the other people on the assessment roll, then you have to petition a Hearing of all the landowners, all the way back from where it comes from in the County, and if it goes into Carroll County, too, I don’t think it does.” Surveyor Sterrett says some of it that is not being assessed is in White County. Chairman Schmierer said not very much of it is in Carroll County. Greg Jacobs stated, “The Lewis Friday Ditch has about 311 benefited acres, slightly more than fifty percent of that is in White County. Chairman Schmierer asked if it is all on assessment. Surveyor Sterrett stated, “The Lewis Friday does not drain into the Snow Ditch, not from the legal description I plotted up.” Chairman Schmierer asked where it goes. Surveyor Sterrett asked Greg Jacobs if he got his information from Carroll County. Greg Jacobs answered yes. The Board studied the route on the maps. Board Member Heimlich said it looks like the break in the watershed would be between those, part of the land between the two would drain to the Snow and part to the Friday. See tape for discussion about where the Friday dumps in at, etc.

Board Member Heimlich asked where the Snow Ditch is ending. Surveyor Sterrett provided another map. Discussion followed. See tape. Surveyor Sterrett showed where the description ended in different projects in different years. See tape.

Greg Jacobs said, “But for whatever reason, in 1987 the document was changed and the legal description takes in the entire ditch down to Tippecanoe River. The Tippecanoe River is where the dam is (Oakdale). If you look at the map as it shows the outline of the original ditch, it goes all the way over to where the dam is, that’s where the body of the Tippecanoe River is.”

Chairman Schmierer stated, “I still say to do anything we have to have a Hearing scheduled, you have to petition.” Greg Jacobs asked, “Can I petition that here today?” Chairman Schmierer said, “You have to fill out a petition with him (Surveyor) for reconstruction to put silt traps in.” Attorney Loy stated, “As far as assessment of the other end, that’s up to Denny to determine whether there are some lands that needs to be assessed.” Board Member Heimlich said, “If there are, then there would have to be a Hearing. Surveyor Sterrett asked if we should add those people in. Chairman Schmierer answered, “If you see fit.” Board Member Heimlich said, “We can rely on your decision.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “The legal description does say ‘from 10+0 to the river.” Chairman Schmierer told Surveyor Sterrett, “I think you have to look at it and see where it is affected, probably add them if you see fit. Let us know at the next meeting how you are going to go about that. Have him (Greg Jacobs) fill you out a reconstruction petition to insert a silt trap into Snow Ditch and we’ll have a Hearing on it.” Attorney Loy asked if everybody is assessed on a flat rate. Surveyor Sterrett and Secretary Kiser answered yes ($1.00 an acre). Chairman Schmierer said we will go from there.

Surveyor Sterrett reported that Drainage Board received a letter from DNR on a Denial Notice for construction in a floodway. He said he talked to Area Plan about it, and somebody was building a house and their first application was to build a house in the floodway and after they had a surveyor, half of the house was in the floodway so they moved it out of the floodway. So this is just formality to deny that person. Everything seems to be alright now. Attorney Loy asked if this was one that had asked the Board’s permission to build in our right-of-way. Surveyor Sterrett answered no, it was along the Lake, it doesn’t concern a legal drain, it was just addressed to the Drainage Board.

Chairman Schmierer stated, “I talked to Roger Wiese Friday night and he is under the assumption that we are going to put the bridge in (farm crossing on the Esther Fraser Drain). Board Member Ferguson said, “He was supposed to pay it back, wasn’t he?” Board Member Heimlich said, “We haven’t made that decision.” Chairman Schmierer said, “He says that, if I understood him right, we can put it in. We probably need to talk to Todd again before we do anything.” Board Member Heimlich said, “I talked to Roger a week ago, too, and I said I hadn’t heard back from Todd (Engineer Frauhiger). I think there was some question about the size.” Surveyor Sterrett stated, “I think if he… Roger and I and Todd met and Todd said it would be alright. A couple of weeks ago.” Chairman Schmierer said we need to notify Joe Dunbar. Board Member Heimlich said, “Really, I think we need to adopt some kind of policy as to how that is going to be handled.” Chairman Schmierer said, “Right, where they pay for them. Joe Dunbar has crossing on the Myers Ditch that is obsolete and he is wanting to put a tube in. The County can put the tube in without going through a bunch of red tape that the landowner has to do and then he pays the County. He’s right at the Interstate is where it is at.” Surveyor Sterrett said we have another one and Engineer Don Ward is going to come to the December 15th Board Meeting. Board Member Heimlich said he wasn’t aware that Todd had told him. Surveyor Sterrett said Todd told Roger to go notify his neighbors and he thinks Roger did that.

Chairman Schmierer asked what the status is on the Railroad siding that is being put in for Excel Co-op south of Reynolds. Board Member Heimlich said, “I’m not sure. Roger Wiese had talked to me about that last week and I went down and looked at it. I guess Denny has been down and looked at it. The Co-op is putting in that Siding, or the Railroad is for the Co-op, and it goes on south of Gutwein’s birdseed plant and what they’ve done is cut, well I guess there’s a couple of issues. One, they changed that sewer down where it empties into the E.H. Johnson Drain, which actually the County should’ve been notified if they were messing down there with the County regulated ditch. They didn’t. I don’t think there is any problem with that (with what they did).” Surveyor Sterrett said they added fifteen foot on to it. Board Member Heimlich continued, “But they also, just south of Gutwein’s, if you’re familiar with that at all, there’s a hill there that they cut through and Roger’s concern was that there was surface water from Gutwein’s that’s going to be coming down there that wasn’t coming down there before. I did go and look at it, after I thought about it I’m not sure that we really have any jurisdiction to step in even if we thought there was something wrong with that. That’s on Railroad right-of-way. We’ve had cases before where a landowner has come through and cut through a hill and run water on his neighbor. If a County drain was involved, then we would have the authority maybe to step in and do something. But if it is not part of the County regulated drain, then it seems to me it goes back to the issue of private dispute between two landowners.” Attorney Loy said, “It is, which there’s a mechanism for handling it.” Chairman Schmierer said he told Roger basically that also.

Surveyor Sterrett said he imagines there was already a side ditch there; it was just over closer to the Railroad. Board Member Heimlich said, “Yes, whatever the Railroad has on the side, it’s to drain the Railroad right-of-way, and I don’t know how much right-of-way they have there.” Surveyor Sterrett said it is usually fifty feet. Board Member Heimlich said, “I thought the only question would be whether cleaning that ditch out whether they got over into Roger’s ground. As I look at it, it would be a private dispute, even though eventually the water gets into a County drain.” Attorney Loy said, “Based upon what you could say virtually everybody’s property does. Nonetheless, unless there is something else that I’m not hearing it, it’s a private problem, which, again, you can take care of it, there is some …..inaudible…..for taking care of it.” Board Member Heimlich said, “I don’t know, Gutwein’s drainage plan, does this affect that at all? They have a retention pond of some kind south of their property.” Chairman Schmierer said he doesn’t think it is a wet pond, it’s just a swale. Board Member Heimlich said, “But it was designed to hold water and then let it out.” Chairman Schmierer said it doesn’t stay wet all the time. Board Member Heimlich said, “I understand that, but my question was, when they cut through that hill, is some of that water from Gutwein’s parking lot and south of the buildings going to go there rather than be sloped to that detention pond.” Chairman Schmierer said Roger Wiese thought there was a pond back there that they were draining. Chairman Schmierer told him no, there’s no pond they are draining.

Attorney Loy asked, “This isn’t a project that required a drainage plan?” Board Member Heimlich said, “That was a question I had, too. I talked to Brad Stockment at the Co-op and of course Roger had been in to see him, too. Brad wasn’t too happy about the whole situation; it had become a controversy there. He’s got all of the plans from the Railroad engineer, the drainage plans. But they didn’t submit anything to us and I don’t know whether they, under our Ordinance, were required to or not. You would think on a project that big that they should have.” Attorney Loy said, “We sort of have a catch-all provision under there that we may want to take a look at.” Board Member Heimlich said, “Because all the drainage south of the Co-op, and there were some drainage issues with those houses all along there before, and I understand that they’re going to be better off than they were before. But still, (Surveyor Sterrett said ‘they’re going (draining) north though’). Right, Right.” Attorney Loy stated, “It’s a Co-op project.” Chairman Schmierer said, “The Railroad is putting it in for them.” Surveyor Sterrett said there are two contractors working on it, Isom is one of them and then there’s the people putting the railing in for the Railroad Company.” Board Member Heimlich said, “I guess it is probably a Railroad project for putting in a Siding for Excel Co-op. But, yeah, I would think that they should’ve had… some kind of drainage plan should’ve come through here (Drainage Board) with all the work that was done there.”

Attorney Loy stated, “Denny and I will look at the Drainage Ordinance and see whether or not……and how many landowners does this affect immediately?” Surveyor Sterrett answered, “Gutwein and Roger’s son.” Board Member Heimlich said, “This part, Wiese has ground down here (indicated on the map), the field out here, and Gutwein’s up here and then on the other side of the road there’s several houses along there that are affected. Not affected by what Roger is talking about here, but ……..inaudible……see tape.”

Board Member Heimlich asked Surveyor Sterrett, “Kind of along this same thing, it deals with Excel Co-op, is Todd doing anything more or is he, I talked with Brad Stockment about them wanting to close the ditch through them and I guess he wasn’t sure and I wasn’t sure where that stood, whether Todd was going to talk to them about sizing that tile for the area that they were going to close in.” Surveyor Sterrett said he thought it was up to Brad to get a hold of Todd. Chairman Schmierer said that was the way it was left, Brad was to get in touch with Todd.

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

Chairman Schmierer adjourned the meeting.