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April 5, 2004 Tape #007

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. Charles Mellon was also in attendance.

Chairman Schmierer called the meeting to order with the Hearing on the Vacation of the Davis and Shields Tile Drain in Liberty Township. Chairman Schmierer asked if anyone was present to object to the vacation of the drain. No landowners were present to object.

Surveyor Sterrett reported that he stopped at the site this morning and the landowners have had a new tile installed in about the same place as the old tile and was running good water. He said Mike Ezra put the new tile in for the landowners. Surveyor Sterrett reported that Cindy Ezra took a check for $279.67 to the Auditor’s office on March 5, 2004 to pay what was owed on the drain maintenance account. He believes that is the correct amount to pay the debt.

Surveyor Sterrett stated that letters to the landowners to notify of the Hearing were sent February 20, 2004 and a legal notice was sent to the newspaper on March 15, 2004 to be run on or before March 22, 2004.

Chairman Schmierer read the Vacation of Regulated Drain: “There being no further discussion or evidence to be submitted in these proceedings, the Chairman would now consider a motion to vacate the Davis and Shields Tile Drain upon the following findings: (1) That notice of intention to vacate was served upon all owners of affected land. (2)That such portion of the drain does not perform the function for which it was designed and constructed, or it has become inadequate to properly drain all affected land under current conditions. (3)The expense of reconstruction out weighs the benefits of reconstruction; and, (4) the vacation will not be detrimental to the public welfare.” Board Member Heimlich so moved. Board Member Ferguson seconded the motion. “Upon a motion duly made and seconded, and after having considered all of the evidence and objections concerning the proposed vacation, those members of the white county drainage board in favor of vacating the Davis & Shields Tile Drain based upon the above findings please raise your right hand.” Board Members voted. “The White County Drainage Board by a vote of 3 to 0 now hereby vacates the Davis & Shields Tile Drain as set forth by the White County Surveyor. The White County Drainage Board now issues its Findings and Order. The White County Treasurer, under I.C. §36-9-27-37(d), is directed to transfer all monies in said drain maintenance fund to the General Drain Improvement Fund. Meeting adjourned.”

Chairman Schmierer said that he and Surveyor Sterrett went to the site of the proposed project to be shared (with NRCS) on the O.K. Ranier Drain in Prairie Township on the Strantz farm. Glenn Jennings got two quotes on it. Wrede & Sons quote just for the grouted rock chute was $3,655.00 and a quote from Segal’s was for $2,021.24. Surveyor Sterrett said Wrede and Sons’ quote for the total project, which included the waterway and the rock chute, was lower than Segal’s. It was $4,288.00 on the total project and Segal’s was $4,586.00 on the total project so they went with Wrede’s.

Chairman Schmierer explained, “What this is, is being done by the NRCS and it is being paid for by them except for the ten percent. The ten percent will come out of the maintenance fund on the O.K. Ranier Drain. We went down there and looked at it, they are going to put the waterway in and widen the rock chute going into the ditch.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “Add six feet on the north side of the rock chute.” Chairman Schmierer said, “They are going to leave the old one there, too. So I need a motion to approve the quote from Wrede and Sons. It is approximately going to cost us $365.00.” Board Member Ferguson so moved to approve the quote from Wrede and Sons. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Surveyor Sterrett presented a petition for maintenance on the M. K. Reiff Open Ditch. The maintenance is being requested by Harold Reiff and the petition is signed by several landowners. Chairman Schmierer said it goes through town (Burnettsville). Surveyor Sterrett stated, “They cleaned south of the highway. He has a farm crossing up here. It appears that this tile silted up the ditch right here. So I think for less than a half a mile……inaudible” Board Member Ferguson asked if that is where Reiff’s dairy farm is. Surveyor Sterrett answered yes. Chairman Schmierer asked if there is any money in the ditch maintenance fund. Surveyor Sterrett said there is $1,700.00 in there and we are going to collect $1,000.00 so there will be $2,700.00. He said he didn’t have an estimate; he hadn’t looked at it that close yet. Chairman Schmierer asked if he (Reiff) wants it reconstructed or maintenance. Surveyor Sterrett said that he wants maintenance. Surveyor Sterrett said, “I got this in May last year and forgot to bring it to the Board, but I still have it in the order that they came in.”

Board Member Ferguson made a motion to accept the petition for maintenance on the M. K. Reiff Open Ditch. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Chairman Schmierer stated he came by Hoosier Lift on Wednesday about 3:00 P.M. and TP&W was still pumping water. Surveyor Sterrett said when he was over there Tuesday and it was down about a foot. Chairman Schmierer said, “They are going to have to go back and put those pumps and everything back in if that is going to be maintained so that guy can farm that ground or that guy is never going to farm it.”

Surveyor Sterrett asked what we are going to do with that situation. Chairman Schmierer stated that all they are doing is they have a surface pump out there and they have a hose in it draining it out. He said it is going to come right back and do the same thing if they don't daily maintain it. Board Member Heimlich asked if we ever found the agreement on that. Surveyor Sterrett said his office cannot find it. Attorney Loy said he went to Area Plan and they don’t have it there either.

Chairman Schmierer stated that they have taken out the pumps that were there. Surveyor Sterrett said he was told it would cost $62,000.00 to put it back in to keep it pumped down automatically. Board Member Heimlich said according to Denny Mathew who called him the other time, that’s what they were supposed to have, automatic pumps. Chairman Schmierer said they did but they’ve taken them out and they’re on top of the ground over there, all the controls and everything else.

Attorney Loy asked, “Did Mathew have a copy (of the agreement)? Who signed it? TP&W signed it, who else signed it?” Board Member Heimlich said, “I don’t have any idea. I don’t think I ever saw it.” Chairman Schmierer said the thing of it is that all they are doing when they get yelled at is coming in there and putting a surface pump in, and if we get the rains like we got a year ago and it floods out a guy’s forty acre crop, I would be very unhappy if I was him.

Attorney Loy said, “That wasn’t pursuant to a drain plan, it was done way before.” Board Member Heimlich said, “It was way before the Drainage Ordinance.” Attorney Loy said, “It is an agreement between the adjoining landowners, but we can try to help.” Board Member Heimlich said it could’ve been part of the drainage plan for rezoning. Chairman Schmierer said the thing of it is they haven’t maintained it. He said some of those ponds are just filled in some. Attorney Loy said, “To a point where they are a public nuisance.” Chairman Schmierer said, “Right, that’s what I would call them right now because when you are flooding a guy’s farm ground you are stopping him from making a living.” Attorney Loy stated, “We ought to write them a letter and I can write it, I’ll get together with you, referring to an agreement that I haven’t seen and that troubles me.”

Surveyor Sterrett said, “The water is pumped into Jasper County into their ditch. So I went to Jasper County and looked through their records and all I had was a couple of letters that said they need permission that must be granted by their Drainage Board as to when the water can be pumped into their ditch.” Board Member Heimlich asked what the dates were on that. Surveyor Sterrett said 1983. Attorney Loy said, “Any agreement, it wasn’t with us. It had to have been with some adjoining landowners.” Chairman Schmierer asked Board Member Heimlich to contact Denny Mathew and ask him if he has a copy of the agreement. Board Member Heimlich agreed to do that. Surveyor Sterrett stated, “We have some minutes from 1991 when they were doing a three phase expansion on the north side of the railroad. All of this is on the south side. I don’t think they did anything.” Attorney Loy said it was for a rezoning. Attorney Loy asked, “Have they just abandoned it?” Surveyor Sterrett said, “Yes, when I was over there Tuesday they were working on those lifts. They might have been dismantling; I thought they were fixing them. The railroad uses the office and there is a workshop there they use. They park their trains there overnight, stay at the Interstate at a motel, then they take the train into Peoria, I don’t know whether they do that every day.” Attorney Loy said, “See if you can track down that agreement. I don’t think it is with a County.”

Secretary Kiser asked the Board to sign legal documents on the Vacation of the Davis & Shields Tile Drain and the maintenance project on the A. B. Robinson Drain.

It was noted that gravel has been piled up between the Hubbard car dealership and the John Deere dealership, but there is still a water hole there. Secretary Kiser prepared a printout on the status of the Drainage Fees account for Hubbard car dealership. Chairman Schmierer asked why $742.50 was taken out of Contractual Engineering 12/02/02 for public meeting. Secretary Kiser said because there was no project account at that time and we are trying to reimburse it. Surveyor Sterrett said he had asked for help to get the ball rolling on it. Secretary Kiser explained that we have paid CTE for all services, so Hubbard owes us. Chairman Schmierer said, “I know you sent him several bills.” Board Member Ferguson said, “He still owes $1,062.50.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “And he hasn’t started.”

Secretary Kiser explained, “I had contact with the secretary, Melissa, on November 13, 2003. She had apparently talked to him (Mr. Hubbard) after she received that last letter. We re-sent it like twice. She wanted an itemized statement so I sent it again. She said 'I’ll take care of it’. Then she said at that time that Mr. Hubbard says he has begun the project. So we knew he had gotten that letter, because in the letter I quoted the Drainage Ordinance. It had been 184 days and he hadn’t started it. You are supposed to start it in 180 days. So she related to me that he said he had started the project, but we didn’t know how.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “Well, you know you have to give him credit over the wintertime. You can’t do much with frozen ground.” Secretary Kiser said, “The reason I ran some of these pages out of the Drainage Ordinance for you is so you would know what leg you have to stand on.”

Attorney Loy suggested giving the secretary, Melissa, a call. He said the bottom line is the County can take him to small claims court. Chairman Schmierer said he doesn’t feel like he plans on paying it at all. He doesn’t agree with some of the fees. Surveyor Sterrett said he thinks that half of that occurred before any plan was ever done. Chairman Schmierer said he thinks that is right because he didn’t submit a plan when he tore the house down and put the gravel lot down. Secretary Kiser said his permit will be a year old May 5, 2004 and it expires at that time. Chairman Schmierer said, “I don’t think it is going to do Romana or Denny either one any good to contact him, George, I think we are wasting our time with that. I think the only way you are going to get his attention is we direct you to send him a collection letter. I think we are just wasting our time; we just as well have you send him a collection letter. He has thumbed his nose at us all this time and the project isn’t done. You might mention his permit runs out the 5th of May. I don’t see any other way.”

Chairman Schmierer asked if Jordan’s (West Side Commercial Subdivision) additional drainage review fee bill had ever been paid. The answer was no. Chairman Schmierer asked if it was a possibility to direct Area Plan not to issue building permits for lots owned by them in an effort to collect. Attorney Loy asked if that is the only thing they haven’t done. Surveyor Sterrett said they have their detention ponds done. Chairman Schmierer said the amount owed is eight hundred and some dollars he thought (actually $1085.00). Attorney Loy said that we could sue them in small claims court. He was hesitant in advising holding occupancy permits unless our Ordinance specifically says that. Attorney Loy said, “I can draft the same sort of collections letter on the Commissioners’ letterhead and send it certified. I’ll point out the other things that can be recovered such as additional attorney fees, court costs and engineering fees.” Chairman Schmierer asked if Engineer Frauhiger ever went and talked to them and said Todd promised that he would. Secretary Kiser was not sure if he did. Chairman Schmierer said he asked Engineer Frauhiger to please go talk to them (Mursener, Jordan or Duncan, owners) and explain your charges to them. Chairman Schmierer stated he might call Engineer Frauhiger and ask him if he went because he said he would go out there so he should have.

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

Chairman Schmierer adjourned the meeting.