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August 2, 2004 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 in attendance.

Also attending were Milt Cole, Charlie Mellon, Charles and Shirley Bossung.

Surveyor Sterrett presented the drainage plans for Mike Lehe Hogs, Inc. for approval. He stated that he and Engineer Frauhiger went and looked at the site. Engineer Frauhiger reviewed the calculations submitted and recommends approval of the plans.

The proposed building is 82 feet by two hundred and one feet, and the existing building is forty feet by two hundred and twenty feet. There will be a detention pond to the west for surface water. The site is located at 458 N and 400 W in Princeton Township, four miles west of Reynolds, north of Highway 24 on the north side of the railroad tracks.


Board Member Ferguson made a motion to approve the drainage plans for Mike Lehe Hogs, Inc. in Princeton Township at 458 N and 400 W. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


Chairman Schmierer recognized Milton Cole who was present to discuss the H.D. Renwick Branch of the Amelia Suits Drain. Surveyor Sterrett stated that Milt Cole filed a petition in September of 2003. Milt Cole stated, “We have talked with most of the neighbors and they are all in agreement with this except one. Kilmer doesn’t agree with this. I just want to know what my options are, if I can get a friendly cleanout, or, I just want to get it cleaned out. If I have to pay the whole thing I will. I don’t know what the legal aspect is of going across someone else’s property. I don’t want to get myself in hot water.”


Attorney Loy asked if it is a regulated drain. It is. Attorney Loy asked what the petition was for. Surveyor Sterrett said the petition is for reconstruction. Attorney Loy asked what is going to be required. Surveyor Sterrett stated the biggest problem would be it is right along the road. Milt Cole agreed saying there wouldn’t be anywhere to put it (spoil). He said it is bad not only for the ditch but for the highway department.


Attorney Loy said, “If you want it to be reconstructed, and your petition was just filed this past September, it probably seems like a long time to you, but there are a ton of other projects that are ahead of that. But, once we are in a position to put together a reconstruction report that says what actually has to be done from an engineering stand point, then it can be set for a Hearing, all landowners given notice to show up at a meeting, a public hearing. Then assuming it is the proper thing to do, and the costs don’t outweigh the benefits, then the Drainage Board would approve the reconstruction project and apportion the costs accordingly.”


Board Member Heimlich said, “What he is asking is, if he wanted it done sooner as a friendly (cleanout), in other words, we’d be out of it except Denny would have to approve whatever was being done.” Milt Cole said, “You’re right on.” Board Member Heimlich said, “I think what he is asking is, if one guy is opposing it, can he stop it?”

Attorney Loy said, “He can delay it. Assuming the engineers and Drainage Board and lawyer do their job properly, it can be delayed a bit. Anybody can go to the Clerk’s office and file a lawsuit to challenge something.” Milt Cole said, “I didn’t want to do that. I’ve never had a lawsuit in my life.” Attorney Loy said, “We don’t have the engineering report done yet.” Surveyor Sterrett answered no. Chairman Schmierer said, “We haven’t done anything on it yet because it is what, twelfth?” Surveyor Sterrett answered, “Fifteenth in line.” Chairman Schmierer stated we have that many to get done ahead of it.


Attorney Loy stated, “If you (Milt Cole) are volunteering to pay the ENTIRE cost of it…..and you’re saying you have some other people that are willing to volunteer to pay their share and leave this other guy out of it….” Board Member Heimlich said, “I think that is what he’s asking, if he can leave the other guy out if the other guy doesn’t want to pay. Can the other guy still prevent the project from being done?” Attorney Loy answered, “Sure, even if he doesn’t get assessed anything, for any one of a number of reasons. The challenges to reconstruction or drainage projects are fewer than you might expect. Of the hundreds of drains we have and projects, maybe one every third year or so is challenged.”


Board Member Ferguson stated, “That is on the Rangeline Road. That all will have to be dipped and put on the east side of the road.” Chairman Schmierer said, “I think that guy owns the ground on the east side. Who owns that ground?” Surveyor Sterrett said the plat book says Farnsworth. Attorney Loy said, “That’s fine because we have a 75 foot right-of-way from the crest of each ditch bank that we can basically do as we please so long as we are not malicious, so if that’s his objection….” Milt Cole stated, “He’s not the one. Kilmer is the one and I have not talked to Kilmer.”


Attorney Loy asked how many acres in the watershed. Milt Cole estimated one thousand acres and he owns over half of it. Attorney Loy asked what Mr. Kilmer’s percentage of the assessment is. Milt Cole thought ten percent. Surveyor Sterrett said he owns 108 acres. Attorney Loy said, “So worst case scenario for Mr. Kilmer is he gets assessed ten percent of the project. Do you have a ballpark feel for the cost?” Surveyor Sterrett answered no. Attorney Loy asked if it is a fifty thousand dollar job. Surveyor Sterrett said there is a lot of brush on it. Chairman Schmierer said it is more than a fifty thousand dollar job. Milt Cole agreed and said he would think it might be more like a hundred thousand dollar job. Surveyor Sterrett said it is two miles and a quarter. Attorney Loy said, “So a ballpark scenario for Mr. Kilmer is he might have to pay ten thousand dollars (assessment).” Milt Cole said he isn’t going to pay anything. Board Member Heimlich said, “He will if it goes through the normal procedure (of reconstruction).”


Board Member Heimlich asked if they really thought the project would be that much. Chairman Schmierer told him it is terrible, he ought to see it. Board Member Ferguson said it doesn’t look like the water ever moves in it. Chairman Schmierer said it needs dipped in the worst way and it has so much brush on it, it needs taken out. He said, “One thing that is going to be expensive on it is all that road right there along 900, along the County highway. That’s all got to be worked on and I’m not sure, they’re going to have to work on it out of the road I suppose.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “I think they can put it on the east side. I heard that Mr. Farnsworth doesn’t want it (the spoil) over that way.” Milt Cole said, “He told me if I would put, the one (part of the ditch) that runs east and west, I would put it on the south side. I agreed to do that, put it on my side.” Surveyor Sterrett asked, “How about going north?” Milt Cole said, “I didn’t ask him that, I don’t have an option there.” Attorney Loy said that is part of the engineering criteria.


Chairman Schmierer asked, “What if we had a landowners’ meeting and have Milt be here and Mr. Kilmer and all of them and present to them how long it is going to be. We are probably looking at three to four years out. And tell them Milt wants to do a friendly cleanout and see if we can get them together to do something like that. Would you be in favor of that?” Milt Cole said absolutely. Attorney Loy said, “If everybody comes on board, including Mr. Kilmer, we could have an agreed reconstruction project and expedite things. We could shortcut the time.” Chairman Schmierer said we wouldn’t have to be involved in it if they want to have a friendly cleanout. Board Member Heimlich said, “Yes, if they want to do it friendly, we’re not involved in it other than the plans would still have to be approved.” Milt Cole understood it has to be done in compliance. Attorney Loy said, “When you say friendly cleanout, are you saying these guys hire the work done?” The answer was yes. Attorney Loy said, “Otherwise we would have to put it up for bid.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated that the maintenance on the H. D. Renwick is paid by the Amelia Suits Drain and it is in debt.


Charlie Mellon suggested that the ditch should be moved away from that road. He said it is right against that road and the condition of that road when it gets real wet with that water right up there against it, it is bad.


It was decided to have an H.D. Renwick Ditch landowners’ meeting on Tuesday, September 7, 2004 at 10:30 A. M. in the Commissioners’ Room of the White County Building. The White County Surveyor’s office agreed to send letters of notification of the meeting to all landowners in the watershed of the H. D. Renwick Ditch this week.


Chairman Schmierer suggested that Milt Cole have a contractor or two look at the ditch and get some kind of figures on what their estimated cost might be.


Surveyor Sterrett stated he has put together a plan and got grade on the J. P. Carr reconstruction project and he asked the Board’s permission to hire Mike Kingman, a surveyor from Jasper County, for probably three or four hours to give him some some technical advice on the project. He could be paid out of Contractual Engineering. Board Member Heimlich made a motion to give Surveyor Sterrett the authority to hire Surveyor Mike Kingman to assist him with technical advice on the J.P.Carr Drain reconstruction project. Board Member Ferguson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “As soon as I get that done then I will be able to work on the quantities (to be removed). Do we have a landowners’ meeting or just go straight to reconstruction?” Chairman Schmierer answered, “Go to a Reconstruction Hearing.”


Surveyor Sterrett reported that Pulaski County Surveyor Joyce Weaver took the issue of Mr. Gutwein wanting to put a tile in along the Potter Tile near the Pulaski and White County Line to her Board. The outlet is in White County but most of the acreage is in Pulaski County so they are in charge of it. The Pulaski County Drainage Board determined if he put a tile in and paid for it he could do it if he wanted to. Chairman Schmierer said he did not think this Board would have any problem with it. The Board was in agreement. Surveyor Sterrett said that Surveyor Weaver was going to call the attorney that we received the letter of request from.


Surveyor Sterrett reported that he went out on site (Ida Lahr Tile) of a waterway dispute and met with Gordon Denton and a Farm Manager for the other party. The Farm Manager was going to go to Soil and Water that day and see about getting a waterway through their farm.


Chairman Schmierer recognized Chuck Bossung who addressed the Board concerning a drainage problem in his field just west of Chalmers on the south side of County Road 600 South. Mr. Bossung stated, “The problem is that the sewage out of Chalmers comes out of manhole #18 at Chestnut and 21st Street and boils out. What I would like to do, but I want to be right in doing it, when you work with Gordie Cochran (Environmental Management) he tells you the first thing to do is to contain a spill. I would like to build a dike down there around the southwest corner of Chalmers and contain the spill in town. I pursued this thing through the State trying to get somebody to recognize it at the State level. I talked to Gary Starch and (he said) ‘Oh yeah yeah we’ll do this and we’ll do that’. Well, he’s never got back with me and this was back in June. I want to know if I can legally build a dike down there. That’s my big question. No cost to the Commissioners or County. We are going to foot it ourselves. What we are going to do is, that waterway that you put there for us, we’re going to widen it so we can farm through it better and use that dirt to build the dike.”


Attorney Loy asked if this was the same problem they had with heavy rains. Chuck Bossung answered yes. Chairman Schmierer said it is always in heavy rains. Board Member Heimlich said it is not exactly the same problem.


Chuck Bossung presented some photos of the site for the Board to view. Surveyor Sterrett asked, “Did they have that new sewer going when (this happened)?” Chuck answered yes, it was already going. Attorney Loy asked if IDEM has been notified. Chuck answered yes, that’s who he called, Gary Starch. Chuck Bossung stated, “The other thing that goes on there, they’re pumping water back of that house of Dennison’s and they say they are pumping it into a County tile. It is funny that when they shut the pumps off the manhole cover goes back down, down there on that corner. Now, Dave Rosenbarger (Farm tenant) has been to the Town meetings and they told him that it does not go into the sewage system, they are pumping into a County tile.” Surveyor Sterrett said actually they are pumping into a private tile that goes to the County tile (A. Friday Tile). Attorney Loy said then it is kind of a related problem.


Surveyor Sterrett said the only thing he can think of is the water is going back UP the tile. Chuck Bossung said, “That’s another thing, they went in there up on CR 600 across from Sonny Meyers’ house where the County tile starts, they put a check valve in there so that the water will not come back. So it’s funny that the water would be clear up against CR 600 down there by my house but there would be no water in town, so it is not coming back before they even put that check valve in. So that leads me to believe that they are pumping that water out of that County tile and into that sewage system. And the beautiful part of it is, when they put that waterway up there through us for this, the Town of Chalmers said ‘our water doesn’t go that way, we’re not paying anything’. Well, there’s several thousand gallons go through there every time it rains five inches or better.”


Chairman Schmierer reviewed, “He wants to build a dike on his property to keep the sewage from running over into his field.” Attorney Loy said, “So far I don’t have any problem with that.” Chairman Schmierer said, “That’s what I told him. John (Heimlich) and I didn’t know why he couldn’t on his own property.” Attorney Loy asked, “Is it going to, as a result, back up water on somebody else?” Chuck Bossung answered, “Onto the town, we’re retaining their spill.” Board Member Heimlich said, “I think the question is, whether the normal flow of the water, is there normal flow of the water?” Chuck Bossung said, “There would be very little because that street is high enough that the water just on that one lot of Shomakers there would probably run out into ours naturally. Otherwise it all goes to the east.”


Looking at the photos, Attorney Loy asked about a big chunk of cement in one picture. Chuck explained that, “We put a big rock on the manhole to keep water from running out and would you believe, we aren’t pumping into that, but within twenty minutes they are down there taking that rock off because it backs up where they’re pumping that into that stand pipe.” He said that is on the Town’s land. Board Member Heimlich asked, “Now you’re saying ‘where they pump it in, they’re pumping it in to where the riser is there in the middle of those…..” Chuck Bossung answered, “Right, in the middle of that alley.” Attorney Loy asked what that alley has to do with it. Chuck Bossung answered, “That’s where the pump is and they are pumping into that standpipe.”


Board Member Heimlich stated, “If you remember, two years ago when they had that big rain and all that, they had this huge pump and pumping out of our County tile next to Chalmers Road there and blowing it out in Chuck’s field. We told them they couldn’t do that. But I said if they were pumping standing water in the middle of town and pump it into that pipe; they are assessed on that tile that is fine I said, whatever the tile would take. That must be what they… (are doing). Although I thought at that time they were pumping it into that manhole over next to the road, but you are saying they are pumping it into the standpipe.” Chuck Bossung answered, “Down there behind Deno’s (Dennison’s) house.”


Board Member Heimlich said, “How is that connected to any sewage?” Surveyor Sterrett pointed out on the map where the waterway and County tile go through, where they are pumping and where Dennison’s house is and how it is all connected. Chuck Bossung stated, “It is only about a hundred feet from that waterway where that manhole is down there.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “When they pump into this catch basin here which drains into that County tile he thinks that is forcing water back this way and somehow getting in to the sanitary sewer and forcing stuff out of it.” Board Member Heimlich said, “So this tile back here is private?” Surveyor Sterrett said that is the Town’s system.


Attorney Loy asked Mr. Bossung if he has attended a Chalmers Town Council meeting to address this? Mr. Bossung said that Dave Rosenbarger (his tenant) has gone but he has not gone. Charlie Mellon said that Dave Rosenbarger has been here (Drainage Board), too. Attorney Loy said, “It is the Town of Chalmers that is causing your problem and you are asking these guys permission to back water up onto the Chalmers property. I think they are sympathetic to you, but I think you should take it to the Town of Chalmers as well. At least get an answer out of them.” Chairman Schmierer asked who their counsel is. Attorney Loy answered, “Bob Little. I don’t know when they meet.” Chuck Bossung said he thinks they are meeting tomorrow night. If you want these guys to take responsibility to tell you to back it up on the Town of Chalmers, you at least need to give them, and I’d make a pass at them first. They are the ones causing the problem.” Chuck Bossung said, “They promised that they would smoke that system to see if that County tile was feeding into that and they have not followed up on it. They have done nothing.”


Attorney Loy asked, “What is it you want the County to do?” Chuck Bossung replied, “I want permission to build that dike, but I don’t want to go to jail for doing it.” Attorney Loy stated, “The first thing is, you should go to the Town of Chalmers to see what is causing the problem.” Mr. Bossung felt that would not do any good. Attorney Loy insisted that is what Mr. Bossung should do, go to the Town of Chalmers and get a yes or no. He said in his estimation Mr. Bossung needs to talk to the Town of Chalmers, they are causing the problem. Mr. Bossung said, “They have had plenty of chances to do something about it. We have complained about it.” He said he has not attended a Council meeting personally. Attorney Loy said he really should and he should show them these pictures.


Charlie Mellon said they just got a brand new sewage system down there and it looks like they would’ve gotten all that figured out. He said there are more dikes in White County than the Board knows about.


Attorney Loy said if the Board was so inclined, he would at least send a certified letter to the Town of Chalmers stating that they intend to give this gentleman permission to do what he wants to do, dike it. Chairman Schmierer asked, “Do you think we want to do that? Send a letter saying we have looked at this and …..” Attorney Loy said, “I would not tell him to do it without giving Chalmers an opportunity to have a heads up and respond. Otherwise you are open to a lawsuit from the Town of Chalmers for not giving any advance notice of this.” Chuck Bossung said that he has one landlady that already has her lawyer and wants to sue the Town of Chalmers for devaluating her property by pumping sewage out.


Board Member Heimlich asked, “Does he NEED our permission to put a dike in?” Attorney Loy said, “Because that dike will therefore back up water on to someone else’s property, I think to have at least give them an opportunity to correct the problem. The bottom line is for them to correct the problem. So far nobody has approached them formally.” Chairman Schmierer asked, “Should I go to their Town Board meeting and approach them for him or with him and tell them we have been approached…..inaudible.” Attorney Loy said, “Or, (tell them) Chalmers, this is your problem. One solution is for a dike to be built within…..what drain is it?” Chairman Schmierer said, “It isn’t on a drain, is it? Surveyor Sterrett said, “Well his waterway is, it is the Friday… actually it is the Van Dobbins.”


Attorney Loy stated he would contact Bob Little, the Chalmers Town attorney today or tomorrow and talk to him. Chairman Schmierer told Chuck Bossung we would keep him informed of what is going on. Attorney Loy asked, “Why would he need permission from you (Drainage Board)? Chairman Schmierer said, “I don’t think he needs permission from us.” Attorney Loy said he thought there was a regulated ditch involved. Chairman Schmierer said just a waterway, there’s a tile and a waterway. Surveyor Sterrett said it is a regulated tile. Board Member Heimlich said, “I don’t think he needs permission from us to build a dike.” Attorney Loy stated, “He needs no permission at all in my estimation. But, I’ll be happy to contact Chalmers’ attorney. Can anybody show up? What time are their meetings? (Charlie Mellon thought 7 or 7:30) I will call Bob Little right now. Can you (Mr. Bossung) not attend (Chalmers Council meeting) tomorrow?” Chuck Bossung said, “I can break my plans I guess.” Attorney Loy asked, “Denny what do you think the real problem is?” Surveyor Sterrett answered, “I’d say ground surface water into their sewer system, but I don’t know.”


Chairman Schmierer said he doesn’t need our permission to build a dike. Attorney Loy said there is no permission you can get. Attorney Loy said, “I’ll call and I’ll tell them that you are going to attend tomorrow night or somebody on your behalf.” Chuck Bossung answered that somebody will be there, maybe Dave Rosenbarger, he has been there before and talked to them and explained to them. Chuck Bossung’s phone number is 219-984-5549.


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


Chairman Schmierer adjourned the meeting.