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February 17, 2004 Tape #004

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 in attendance.

Also attending were Ola Bergdall, Daniel R. Sublette, Gary Cooley, Tony Cain, Lloyd Kyburz, Tom Brooks, David Lachmund, Gilda Hickman, Chris Thayer, James Hallar, Charlie Mellon and Dave Hall.

Chairman Schmierer opened the Maintenance Modification Hearing on the Fern McKillip Br. #1 Drain in Princeton Township, White County, Indiana. Surveyor Sterrett gave a review of the information on the drain: The current assessment is fifty cents an acre, it brings in about $1,800.00 a year. It is not in debt yet, but we just had a $4,200.00 clearing project done on the Lloyd Kyburz ground and by the time we collect last year’s assessment we will have $4,500.00 in the maintenance fund which will leave $300.00 to the good. We have a petition to do maintenance on about 6,000 or 7,000 feet between County Road 300 N and 400 N. The ditch is in pretty bad shape there. So, therefore we are having to raise the assessment.

Chairman Schmierer said, “We are presently collecting fifty cents and acre and $5.00 a lot and the proposal is to raise the maintenance rate to $3.00 an acre and $10.00 a lot for two years and then drop it to $1.00 an acre and $10.00 a lot. The work to be done is on the Federer property?” Surveyor Sterrett answered it is on Mathew, Cox, LeBeau, Schroeder and English properties and Federer is the tenant.

Chairman Schmierer reviewed the work claims history, “In 2000 Gutwein relieved the tile outlets near the headwall at the start of the open ditch and also in 2000 we sprayed it, which was needed. Furrer sprayed some in 2003. Gutwein cleaned 1,000 feet to original flow line at Stearns and Schroeder properties. Shideler sprayed it again in 2003.” Chairman Schmierer asked if anyone wanted to speak on the project.

James Hallar asked what the annual assessment will bring in. Chairman Schmierer said, “On the new assessment it will bring in $10,480.00 a year for two years. Then it will drop down to $1.00 an acre. When it drops back down to $1.00 an acre and $10.00 a lot it is going to bring in about $4,000.00 a year ($3,560.15). We are just bringing it up for two years to bring in enough money to do the job and then drop it back in two years.” James Hallar asked if the acreage was off the old assessment. Chairman Schmierer answered there are 3,477.743 acres and 10 lots at $10.00 a lot.”

Tom Brooks asked if there is a regular spray schedule. Chairman Schmierer said we have been trying to spray all the ditches at least every other year. He said that the first year Surveyor Sterrett was in office they went Countywide and looked at everything they could. He said Surveyor Sterrett will do the same thing this Spring and look again. Board Member Heimlich said we have been spraying every 2 to 3 years. Chairman Schmierer said if we keep the brush off it is common sense that we don’t have to clear the brush later so that is what we are trying to do. Surveyor Sterrett stated that last year we sprayed that ditch from County Road 300 N to 500 N on Branch #1.

Lloyd Kyburz stated that in the past several years saplings and small stuff growing in the ditch, maybe two to three inches and they have sprayed it and killed it but then the trash and brush falls down in the ditch. He asked if you just accept that and go on or is there anything that can be done about that. Chairman Schmierer said we have never addressed that and that our plans are to get to that before it gets big enough to fall down in the ditch, to keep it down. He said we have tried to do a better job spraying in the last few years. He said if you have problems with that and it needs to be addressed, address it with the Surveyor and he can take a look at it.

Tom Brooks asked, “If there is a washout of a pipe is that my responsibility?” Chairman Schmierer answered, “We take care of that out of the ditch maintenance, we just need to know.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “You need to let us know. In fact we have a fairly large repair on this ditch where the Fox tile drains in to it. A surface drain north of that needs repaired, too. That’s another reason for raising maintenance.”

Lloyd Kyburz asked, “What is the position of the Drainage Board as far as lids on some of the that could actually put water back on to the field if it gets up very high?” Chairman Schmierer said we have put some of them on in the County. Board Member Heimlich said about a year ago on the Hoagland. Chairman Schmierer said it has been done ditch by ditch, landowner by landowner basis if someone comes to see us. We have to make sure that it doesn’t damage somebody else, too.

Board Member Heimlich asked how long of a project the Federer petition was for. Surveyor Sterrett said he hadn’t surveyed it yet, but it is somewhere around 6,000 to 7,000 feet. He didn’t have an estimate on it but there is not much brush on it so he figured it could be done for a dollar a foot. He said there are about thirty trees and some of them are down now from the windstorm. Chairman Schmierer said some of the repairs we had to do were from that windstorm, straight-line winds, in the Spring.

James Hallar asked what the reasoning was to raise the maintenance rate from fifty cents to three dollars. Chairman Schmierer repeated, “What we are trying to do is bring enough money in, in two years, to pay for it, to keep it out of debt, to pay for the reconstruction (maintenance requested). That’s the only reason why. Then it will drop back to one dollar an acre and ten dollars a lot. Even at a dollar an acre, this one hasn’t had to have much maintenance but we have some that won’t keep maintained at a dollar an acre. We have some that it is hard to keep them maintained at three or four dollars an acre.” James Hallar asked if all the assessments on this ditch are kept for this ditch proper. Chairman Schmierer answered yes, by law everything has to be spent on THIS ditch that is collected on this ditch.

Surveyor Sterrett reported that the three and a half miles we had sprayed was $1,400.00 so that pretty well takes care of a year’s assessment at fifty cents an acre. Chairman Schmierer said he thinks it is important that we spray the ditches because if we don’t keep them sprayed we are going to have bigger problems in four or five years. Chairman Schmierer asked for any other input or questions on the raising of the maintenance. There were no responses.

Chairman Schmierer read the ADOPTION OF MAINTENANCE MODIFICATION I.C. §36-9-27-42 for the Fern McKillip Br.#1 Drain in Princeton Township, White County, Indiana “The White County Drainage Board having heard and considered all the evidence and any objection submitted in these proceedings, the Chairman would now consider a motion finding that the current estimate of maintaining the Fern Mc Killip Br. #1 Drain is insufficient and that the annual assessments for periodic maintenance of said drain should be increased as proposed, to $3.00 an acre and $10.00 a lot (Jim Hallar questioned putting in the motion that it was for 2 years, dropping back to $1.00 an acre and $10.00 a lot after two years. Chairman Schmierer told him it was here in writing in the petition)” Board Member Ferguson so moved. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. “The White County Drainage Board by a vote of 3 in favor and 0 opposed now hereby adopts the Schedule of Assessments as originally filed herein. The White County Drainage Board issues its written Findings and Order declaring the proposed maintenance modification schedule in these proceedings established, a copy of which will be mailed to all owners affected.” Chairman Schmierer said it is all here in the proposal, Jim.

Board Member Heimlich explained that after it drops back to a dollar if the amount in the maintenance fund gets to four times what it brings in yearly, it will automatically go off of assessment until it is drawn down.

Surveyor Sterrett explained that his office looks at the drain maintenance funds ledger at the first of the year every year to make sure they don’t have four times the amount that they bring in yearly, therefore determining which ones to collect on for the coming year. If they do have four times the amount, we stop collecting.

Chairman Schmierer called to order the landowners’ meeting on the A. B. Robinson Drain in Honey Creek Township, White County, Indiana. The meeting was called to discuss the petitioned cleaning project between County Road 100 W and 225 W.

Surveyor Sterrett reviewed the proposed project, showing on a map where tile is under water west of CR 100 W. He said it has 1.8 foot of silt in it up to 225 W. Chairman Schmierer said, “So we are cleaning it from CR 100 W to 225 W. Is there much brush on that?” Surveyor Sterrett said there is no brush. Chairman Schmierer asked if there was anybody here that has questions on this or would like to see the map.

Dave Hall asked if landowners can decide which side of the ditch to put the spoil on. Chairman Schmierer said he didn’t see why not on this particular ditch. He said the only time they refused that was when there was a railroad going down one side and they couldn’t do anything with it. Dave Hall said he is representing a landlord that would like to have it put on the west side. Surveyor Sterrett said that is the exactly opposite side I had planned. Dave Hall said the reason is that side is already unfarmable grass ditch bank, the Johnson farm. Surveyor Sterrett said the high bank is actually on the west side, that’s why I was going to put it on the east side. Dave Hall said that is why we would still like to have it throwed that way. Surveyor Sterrett and Chairman Schmierer said they couldn’t see any problem with it. Dave Hall said there is an access point there for the contractor to get across.

Chairman Schmierer asked if there was money in the maintenance fund to do this project with. Surveyor Sterrett said there is. He said his estimate is $5,337.50 on 3,025 cubic yards of silt to be removed and he figured $1.50 a yard. He said there are two private open ditches coming into the A. B. Robinson and he was figuring going up into those 300 feet to get the transition so it wouldn’t be a straight drop-off and he figured $500.00 for miscellaneous.

Surveyor Sterrett stated, “The fund has $5,830.00 now and it hasn’t collected for 2003, which is $1,438.00 so that’s $7,268.00 that should be in there right now.” Chairman Schmierer said there will be enough money that we aren’t going to have to raise maintenance on it. Surveyor Sterrett said unless his estimate is way off. Chairman Schmierer said they are generally pretty close. Tony Cain asked if they have let the bids on it yet. The answer was no.

David Lachmund asked, “We have a piece of ground that lays on CR 300 North. There’s a ditch that T’s off of the Robinson Ditch that goes north. Is that included as the County ditch? I know the County drain goes through my farm there and drains into that T.” Surveyor Sterrett asked if it comes from the south and goes into that ditch. David Lachmund said it T’s from the south and runs into the Robinson Ditch, there is about an eighth of a mile stretch. Surveyor Sterrett again said he is going 300 feet upstream to get the transition. Chairman Schmierer asked if that is a private ditch. Surveyor Sterrett said as far as he knows it is, he doesn’t have any record of it being a County ditch. David Lachmund said, “The County tiles drain into that where it comes in from the south.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “They do? Ok, how far is that open?” David Lachmund explained, “Where it drops into what you call the Robinson Ditch, but the Robinson runs east and west, I’m talking about a stretch that runs north and south, there’s probably 600 to 800 feet in there.” Surveyor Sterrett said we could probably go back up that all the way. Chairman Schmierer said to check and see if it is a County ditch, make sure. He said if it is a County ditch we can, it isn’t going to change the cost that much. David Lachmund said Dirk Fleck had taken his bucket in there before and cleaned it out a little bit to get it to work. He said he guessed the last time it was cleaned that wasn’t cleaned out.

Chairman Schmierer said, “Dirk (letter was from Dean) has sent us a letter saying he’s going to clean his ditch, (read part of the letter) ‘The ditch drains all my land, some surface water of Ron Allen’s and Sharon Johnson’s. So they’re going to clean their portion of that.” Board Member Heimlich asked David Lachmund if that is the ditch he was talking about. David Lachmund answered he didn’t know if that’s the one. Surveyor Sterrett stated, “No, he’s talking about the one on CR 400 North. (Map studied – see tape) Board Member Heimlich stated, “Check on that ditch David Lachmund is talking about.” Chairman Schmierer asked if there were any other questions on the A. B. Robinson Ditch petition. There was no response from landowners.

Surveyor Sterrett stated, “There should be about a foot of silt come out of where that ditch junction is. Chairman Schmierer said, “Well, that’s our plans and there is money in it (maintenance fund) so you’re not going to have to raise any rates or anything. He told Dave Hall that Surveyor Sterrett would take care of moving the spoil to the other side.

Board Member Heimlich said, “If we’re not raising the rate, the money is in the maintenance fund, are we going to have an actual Hearing on it?” Chairman Schmierer said, “There is no need for a Hearing when you are doing it under maintenance, that’s why we had a landowners’ meeting to inform them what we are doing. Everybody got a letter that is on it so that is why we’re having a landowners’ meeting.” Board Member Heimlich asked, “Is there is anybody missing here today that might….” Chairman Schmierer said Ron Allen had talked to him about it and he tried to explain to him what it was. Board Member Heimlich asked, “Do you know anybody else that would be on it that might have a question about what’s going on?” Someone said Cleefman might be the only one they could think of. Board Member Heimlich said that Dirk Fleck mentioned to him that he had talked to George Cleefman and he didn’t think there was any problem there. Dave Hall said he talked to Roger Wolf, he got a letter on it, too. Board Member Heimlich said, “If we’re not going to have a Hearing, I want to make sure that everybody, that there’s not going to be a question about it afterwards.” Chairman Schmierer said “Everybody got a letter on it.”

Surveyor Sterrett presented a petition to vacate the Davis & Shields Tile Drain in Liberty Township, signed by one landowner, Kirk Dahlenburg. He said he did not receive the money to pay off the maintenance fund yet. Board Member Heimlich said there has to be a Hearing then. Chairman Schmierer said yes. Board Member Heimlich made a motion to accept the petition. Board Member Ferguson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

The Board reviewed the list of regulated drains the Surveyor’s office presented to be certified to the Auditor for collection of assessments in 2004. Board Member Ferguson made a motion to accept the Surveyor’s list of regulated drains to be certified to the Auditor for collection of assessments in 2004. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously. The Board Members signed the list.

Surveyor Sterrett reported to the Board that realtor Chris Thayer is present and that she is trying to sell a lot in the Johnson-Tribbett Subdivision that has the drainage detention pond on it. He said the question is, if they sell the lot does the maintenance of the detention pond go with the lot? Attorney Loy asked if this subdivision has been through a drainage review. Surveyor Sterrett answered yes, this subdivision has been approved. He explained it is out on Sixth Street where Sublette’s Ribs built. Chairman Schmierer asked if they were actually selling the lot with the detention pond on it. Surveyor Sterrett showed their drainage plan drawing. He stated this lot does include the detention storage facility. Attorney Loy asked who owns it. Surveyor Sterrett said that Tribbett owns the subdivision. Board Member Heimlich stated that is to store water for the entire subdivision. Chairman Schmierer asked if there is room to build on that lot with the detention pond on it.

Realtor Chris Thayer stated, “We are trying to determine, well we know that there is a 75 foot easement from the County tile and you can apply for a 25 foot variance, I realize you have to apply for a variance.” Chairman Schmierer said, “It has to go through the Drainage Board. I’m not sure we would want to give 25 feet, I think we might give 35. Because we have to be able to get the right size equipment through there if we need to repair or fix it and I’m not sure they can work in 25 feet on that big of a tile.”

Realtor Chris Thayer said, “That 75 foot easement is just on Lot 2?….inaudible….Isn’t it on entire west side?” Chairman Schmierer said, “Well, now it only goes so far up the west side. I think it starts at Fisher Street approximately.” Board Member Heimlich, looking at the drawing, said, “That is the Altman Tile, I think that’s where that Altman Tile starts.” Charlie Mellon said, “It goes south from Fisher Street. There is a big Catch Basin there on the north side of Fisher Street.” Discussion of location, inaudible, see tape. Chairman Schmierer said, “You can’t build in a detention storage space, I don’t know who is responsible for maintaining it, but I’d say probably the owner of the plot, the owner of the whole subdivision.”

Ola Bergdall said, “It was my understanding from reading, and I picked this up historically, that the responsibility would become shared with each lot owner….inaudible, see tape….” Board Member Heimlich said, “That is what I would think, because every lot owner has to depend on that or they wouldn’t be in compliance with the Drainage Ordinance.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “The way I understand it is, until all the lots are sold, the subdivider is…..” Attorney Loy said, “….the Subdivision owner remains responsible. Once they are all sold, it is a joint responsibility. But it does have to be maintained.”

Ola Bergdall asked, “What is the easement around that pond then that we have to….?” Attorney Loy asked Surveyor Sterrett if he has a copy of the drainage plan? Chairman Schmierer said, “Right here.” Surveyor Sterrett stated, “The main easement is the NIPSCO …..inaudible……” Ola Bergdall said, “So we go by the NIPSCO easement.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “I would say so. NIPSCO sent a letter in 1998 saying that they require 20 feet on the south right-of-way line clear to insure access to the electric line. It says NIPSCO has no objection to parking vehicles between the pond and Sixth Street provided access to our right-of-way is always available. Construction of buildings or similar improvements on the right-of-way is forbidden.”

Attorney Loy stated he didn’t know who would want to buy that lot. Dan Sublette stated he would like to. Surveyor Sterrett stated, “If you are the adjoining property owner you could buy half of it.” Dan Sublette said he wouldn’t have enough room on it. He said, “ Lot #1 and I had to build off that easement of that NIPSCO line so I had to set my building off to the north. You’re saying on Lot #2 I’d have to give them an extra 20 feet on that property? So you’d have 70 feet of easement.”

Surveyor Sterrett said, “I don’t think that’s what it says here. This approves the construction of the detention pond on Lot #2 provided the following conditions are met. The west edge of the pond will be no closer than 50 feet from the center of the tower and the south edge of the pond to be at least 20 feet north of NIPSCO’S south right-of-way. So they’re not saying they want anything outside of the right-of-way, they just want a space in there where they can get through. In other words, they couldn’t build the pond 20 feet closer to NIPSCO.” Dan Sublette said, “They’d want a space from the pond up on Lot #2 so they could drive equipment. You see that property line would be right on that 50 foot. (Drawing studied, inaudible, see tape)

Ola Bergdall said, “The detention pond drains into the County Ditch, right? (Chairman Schmierer answered ‘tile’) Then shouldn’t the County be part of that maintenance?” Chairman Schmierer said, “Not for the detention pond. The detention pond is the responsibility of the subdivider until he gets it sold and then it is the responsibility of the people in the Subdivision. Then the tile, you have to pay maintenance fees on your property for the tile and it will be maintained through your maintenance fees through the County. That’s on maintenance (Altman Tile) isn’t it?” Secretary Kiser answered yes. Chairman Schmierer said, “None of the ponds are on maintenance. I don’t know if that answers your question, that’s all we can do for you.”

Ola Bergdall said they are just trying to figure out how much land they have there that they can use and someone should be able to tell them that. Surveyor Sterrett said, “The detention pond is within the NIPSCO easement, so you’re going to have to hold to the NIPSCO easement as to how far you can go north.” Ola Bergdall asked, “So what is the process then? Do we have to have that re-surveyed and then re-plot that plot or what? To get a clear deed on that piece of property for the one that would buy it. What would we have to do, have it re-surveyed and then re-process it through the plan? I thought that when the Subdivision was approved that, that useable land in that particular lot would have been delineated within the Subdivision.”

Chairman Schmierer asked, “Did you end up buying the retention pond, did you end up owning the retention pond now?” Ola Bergdall said Johnson-Tribbett owns the retention pond. Chairman Schmierer said, “He’s not trying to sell the retention pond is he?” Ola Bergdall said, “No, but we’re trying to figure out how much of that lot we CAN sell and what the legalities are, do we have to have it re-surveyed, re-plotted? You know when the Subdivision was planned I would’ve thought somebody could’ve told us how much of that lot we had.” Chairman Schmierer asked if the retention pond is on Lot #2. Surveyor Sterrett said it is on the north half of it.

Attorney Loy said, “Number One, the drainage plan, including the detention pond needs to be maintained, period. And as far as what is useable beyond that, so long I guess so long as the pond remains useable, I guess it is up to Area Plan as to how much of that lot you can carve off. I don’t know if you can carve off any other than to the adjoining landowner.”

Surveyor Sterrett said you have to leave access to get to the pond. Attorney Loy said, “Yes, and it is subject of course to the NIPSCO easement, which we don’t have any control over. But when the Board approves the drainage plan, they review the plan of the developer who developes the Subdivision and then it’s not appropriate at that point to say ‘this leaves – you can put a house here and you can put a house there, you take it as it comes and I guess if somebody wants to buy Lot #2 they are buying the responsibility to maintain that detention pond. As far as the rest of the land is concerned I guess you have to see what you want to do.”

Board Member Heimlich said, “Well, they wouldn’t be buying the entire responsibility for the detention pond, that would still be shared by all the landowners.” Attorney Loy said, “Yes, but you can’t get rid of it in other words. The buyer of Lot #2 can’t fill it in.” Chairman Schmierer said, “I’m surprised that Lot #2 includes the retention pond. I thought that retention pond would’ve been set aside by the subdivider to be the retention pond forever.” Board Member Heimlich said he thinks that is what she is saying. Ola Bergdall said she thought so too and now she is just trying to figure out what the useable portion of Lot #2 is, minus the retention pond. Chairman Schmierer said you are probably going to have to survey it to come up with that, it hasn’t been divided properly, the pond should be taken out of Lot #2.

Attorney Loy stated, “As proposed, the developer proposed to have that detention pond on Lot #2 and for drainage purposes that was ok with our drainage engineer and the Board.” Chairman Schmierer said he imagines the lots were plotted before he ever put the drainage plan in. Surveyor Sterrett stated that one surveyor did the boundaries and another engineer did the drainage plan. Chairman Schmierer said, “That is the best we can answer, you are going to have to take that pond out of there. No one is going to want to buy that pond. The pond has to stay with the Subdivision.”

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

Dan Sublette said, “Where I have the restaurant, there was a lot of dirt on that property at that time and a lot of that dirt ran back into that pond. Is the County going to check that pond before it is the landowners’ responsibility, before it is turned over to us, to see if it needs any, before, you know.” Chairman Schmierer answered, “It is the landowner’s responsibility, it’s the subdivider’s responsibility to maintain that pond because we don’t maintain the ponds. All we do is maintain the drain. If that pond needs checked out, before I bought that I would see to it that it was checked out if I was you. I would make sure that was part of the agreement. And I’m sure that Doc Tribbett probably doesn’t realize that has happened to him.”

Chairman Schmierer adjourned the meeting.