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February 2, 2004 Tape#003

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.

Also attending were Kirk Dahlenburg, James Jordan, Mike Ezra and Charles Mellon.

Chairman Schmierer opened the continued Maintenance Modification Hearing on the Davis & Shields Tile Drain in Liberty Township, White County, Indiana.

Chairman Schmierer stated, “Denny told me last week that you landowners went ahead and put a new tile in. Are you going to want us to vacate it?” James Jordan stated they were going to petition to pay off the ditch maintenance debt and vacate the old existing tile and take care of the new one themselves. Chairman Schmierer asked how much the drain is in debt. Surveyor Sterrett stated, “$374.57 and it brings in $94.90 a year. It would take about four years to get it out of debt at the current rate.” Board Member Heimlich asked what the rate is now. Surveyor Sterrett said it is currently $1.00 an acre and $5.00 a lot. Chairman Schmierer said, “You haven’t got your draw from last year. Counsel, I have a question. We have the Davis & Shields drain that is in debt $374.57 and brings in $94.90 a year. These gentlemen have gone ahead and put a new tile in and they’re asking us to collect the maintenance until this $374.57 is collected. It will take us four years to do it and then they want to petition to vacate the tile. Can we legally go four years collecting that as long as we don’t spend anymore money on it?”

Attorney Loy asked, “Are we going to modify the rate? (“Chairman Schmierer said, “Well, that’s what we started to do.”) Or, NOT modify the rate and…..” Chairman Schmierer said, “Not modify the rate and just leave it the same and let it draw. It will take it four years to get out and then we won’t work on it anymore as of today. And then we’ll vacate it.” Attorney Loy asked if these were the only two landowners. James Jordan, Kirk Dahlenburg and Mike Ezra, representing landowner Gould, were present. There is another landowner, Sidney Brisban. Attorney Loy stated, “You can say, ‘No, we’re not going to modify it, we have chosen not to modify it’, let it ride and come back in three years and consider it then.”

Surveyor Sterrett said, “They don’t want to pay maintenance on it anymore.” Board Member Heimlich said, “What do they want to do, do they want to pay it?” Attorney Loy said, “Why not increase it and pay it off faster and vacate it faster?” Mike Ezra stated, “I think everybody is in agreement to pay it off.” Chairman Schmierer said that was not how he understood them before. James Jordan said, “That wasn’t the idea to start with, but we might as well pay it off now.”

Board Member Heimlich asked, “The amount $374.57, does this include what has been collected last year?” Surveyor Sterrett said, “No, we haven’t had a draw.” Board Member Heimlich stated, “So, actually it is going to be $280.00 (someone said $289.00).” Someone asked what the current rate is. Surveyor Sterrett answered $1.00 an acre and there are 92 acres. Attorney Loy asked, “You were considering raising it to what?” Surveyor Sterrett stated, “We considered raising it to $2.50 an acre and $10.00 a lot and minimum.” Attorney Loy said that would be obviously quicker. Chairman Schmierer said, “Actually after your draw, which you would get automatically because they have to pay their taxes this year, so after that there would be $289.47 owed on it. So with the petition, you fellas need to petition to vacate the drain, are you two gentlemen the bulk of the landowners?” They answered that all but the owner of the lot is here. Chairman Schmierer stated, “The $289.47, along with the petition to vacate, you need to bring us that much money with your petition to vacate. And that will take care of your maintenance.” Mike Ezra asked if there is a cost to vacate. That answer was ‘no’. Chairman Schmierer said, “We are taking the $94.90 off, you’re going to have to pay that on your taxes this year, so then you still owe $289.47 (correction - actually $279.67 as per Surveyor Sterrett), so give us a petition to vacate and $289.67 ($279.67).”

Discussion on how to pay the drain maintenance fund off and how many acres represented here followed (see tape). Attorney Loy advised that any one landowner can petition to vacate. We have to give notice to everybody, including the landowner with the 2 ½ acre lot, have a Hearing and enter an Order to Vacate. Attorney Loy said, “There has to be a way to do it, (pay the debt off). I will just tell you now to go ahead and do it. I will have to make sure the Treasurer will accept it. Go ahead and file the petition to vacate the drain right away. Then we will have a Hearing within the next month or so. (Chairman Schmierer suggested second meeting in March. Attorney Loy agreed.) And then I think at that point we will enter a Petition to Vacate it, and part of the Order will be that the landowners will pay whatever it is in debt and that will remove it from the tax rolls.”

Chairman Schmierer asked for a motion to consider the continuation of the Maintenance Modification Hearing on the Davis & Shields Tile Drain closed. Board Member Ferguson so moved. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Surveyor Sterrett will get a petition to the landowners. Attorney Loy said to try to get all the landowners to sign the petition.

Board Member Heimlich made a motion to approve the minutes of the January 19, 2004 minutes. Board Member Ferguson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Surveyor Sterrett asked if the Board received a copy of the approval for a culvert on the James Carter Drain on North Main Street that he forwarded to them from the DNR. The report of the approval was received.

Surveyor Sterrett also reported one received for a seawall up by Buffalo for Paul Vories. It was an approval for construction on a floodway.

Surveyor Sterrett reported that his office sent letters to landowners on the A. B. Robinson Ditch northwest of Reynolds for a landowners’ meeting on February 17, 2004. The meeting is being held to plan some cleaning of the ditch with maintenance money.

Surveyor Sterrett stated he looked at the Kleyla Ditch at Reynolds. Mike Ezra, County Line Tiling/Excavating has that maintenance project done. He said it looked alright to him. Mike Ezra stated he is done with the brush on the Fern McKillip Br.# 1 Drain but he still had some holes to fill in. Chairman Schmierer asked how he was coming along on the C. Bossung Drain project. Mike Ezra stated that the brush is done, but he is rebuilding a machine to be able to reach the remainder of the project.

Surveyor Sterrett reported that he had the head gaskets repaired on the Ford Explorer at a cost of $1,300.00.

Surveyor Sterrett reported that Gutwein Bulldozing & Excavating is finished with the Hickman Drain clearing project. He has not inspected that yet.

Surveyor Sterrett submitted Stefaniak Subdivision, a two lot subdivision at Main and St. Mary’s Streets, for re-approval. A year ago we granted a waiver on the drainage and then Area Plan didn’t pass it due to setbacks and needing an easement. They have now obtained an easement and Surveyor Sterrett doesn’t know if they will get approval from Area Plan or not, but they have re-submitted to Area Plan and they are requesting a waiver again. Surveyor Sterrett stated he did not see any problem with the drainage on it. The Board reviewed the plan drawing. Board Member Heimlich asked if it was going to affect anyone else, is there anything different. Surveyor said they put the easement in was the only thing.

Board Member Ferguson made a motion that we grant a waiver from the White County Drainage Ordinance to Stefaniak Subdivision. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Chairman Schmierer adjourned the meeting.