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September 7, 2004 Tape #017


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. Ferguson, Attorney George W. Loy, Surveyor Dennis W. Sterrett and Secretary Romana Kiser in attendance.

Others signing the register were David Kilmer, Rick Roach, Randy Hunt, Thomas F. Gross, Don Farnsworth, Milton Cole, Frank Boardman, Mike Ezra and Charlie Mellon.

Chairman Schmierer called the meeting of the landowners on the H. D. Renwick Drain to order. The meeting is being held to discuss the possibility of a friendly cleanout on the drain.

Chairman Schmierer said, “Mr. (Milton) Cole had been in to talk to us, and some other people, and we explained to them that if the landowners want this done, it needs to be done as a friendly cleanout on their own because otherwise it is 3 to 5 years at least before the County can get to it with everything else that we have going on. We have a lot of petitions ahead of it and that’s what we run into. So, we had suggested to Mr. Cole when he came in to call a landowners’ meeting to get this together as a friendly clean-out. I will explain to you what we call a friendly clean-out. Whoever you had do it, you would still have to go through the Surveyor’s office to have the plans approved. You people would just divide the bill amongst yourselves and the assessments on it would be provided by the County. I think we have the acreage divided out, but you would hire a contractor and go ahead and get it done. This would be something you could get done a lot faster doing it on a friendly clean-out than you would waiting to go through the County.” Chairman Schmierer asked if Surveyor Sterrett had anything to add to that.

Surveyor Sterrett stated, “There is 12,355 feet of ditch approximately, drains 893 acres and there are fifteen different landowners, there’s more parcels than that.”

Board Member Ferguson stated, “Where that comes down along that Rangeline road the ditch needs to be moved over then have a space between the ditch and the road. That’s what it needs.” Surveyor Sterrett agreed saying he didn’t think anything needs to be dipped off of the west side. Surveyor Sterrett stated, “The maintenance on this drain is paid by the Amelia Suits Drain and it is in debt $6,000.00” Chairman Schmierer said this wouldn’t have any maintenance money used on it if they are going to have it a friendly clean-out. He asked how many parcels there are. Surveyor Sterrett answered there are 29.

Attorney Loy asked if there is an estimated cost. Contractor Mike Ezra stated, “The high side is $30,000.00 and that is all the digging of the whole ditch and the brush.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “I just figured up this morning what I thought it would be $32,000.00 and I hadn’t even talked to Mike.” Chairman Schmierer said that if it is a friendly clean-out they can hire whoever they want to do it, as long as his plans are suitable to the Surveyor.

Attorney Loy stated, “We have to have everybody on board, everybody agree. Has there been any discussion of proposed allocation, who is going to pay for what? We don’t have fifteen landowners here today. Are they all aware of what you want to do?” Milt Cole said he thought they were all sent letters. Surveyor Sterrett said his office sent letters of notice of this landowners’ meeting. Attorney Loy said, “This isn’t a formal hearing, this is a landowners’ meeting and hopefully we can get 100 percent consensus as to what needs to be done and how it is going to be paid for.” Milt Cole said, “Let me put it this way, I will pay anybody’s that don’t want to pay. It needs to be done. It needs to be done for the County. It’s a disgrace for the County and I love White County. There’s been some accidents there caused by the conditions.” Board Members noted that the water gets green, just sits there.

Chairman Schmierer asked Contractor Ezra if he could get enough fall to get that water to move. Mike Ezra answered, “I don’t see why not. It has major fall at the beginning of the ditch. Back in there on Milt’s property about a third of the way there’s probably 4 feet of silt has to come out of there. Something you are going to have to be aware of, that muck section will have to be re-dug in probably no more than 2 or 3 years. You won’t ever find the bottom on muck; you dip down to the grade it should be. What I am saying, you are going to lower the water table and as time goes on as the water comes out it will also bring dirt with it and the next time you dig it, it shouldn’t bring so much dirt with it and it will settle out and firm up. Muck is not a twenty year situation. It is more like 5 to 10 years.”

Don Farnsworth stated he discussed this with Milt Cole and that he (Mr. Farnsworth) stipulates that this time all the dirt cleaned out should go on the south side of the ditch. Chairman Schmierer said he thinks that has already been agreed. Milt Cole said he agreed to that.

Attorney Loy asked how many of the landowners are represented here today. Chairman Schmierer said we have Mr. Farnsworth, Dave Kilmer and also for Parker Kilmer and Kilmer Swine Farms (MKR), Milton Cole, Frank Boardman and Tom Gross. The ones not represented here are Christ, Simons, Kyburz, Godlove and Sommers. Milt Cole said he knows it is no problem with Jim Simons. Attorney Loy asked if all these people are assessed an annual fee. Surveyor Sterrett answered, “Maintenance on this drain is paid by the Amelia Suits Drain and they receive a maintenance assessment.” Chairman Schmierer stated we aren’t going to be using maintenance money with a friendly clean-out. Board Member Heimlich said sometimes brushing can be done out of maintenance. He asked what the division of the $30,000.00 estimate was between dipping and brushing. Mike Ezra stated it would maybe be six thousand and some dollars for digging and the rest for brushing.

Chairman Schmierer asked, “When you do it along CR 900 are we going to have to ballast it on the west side?” Contractor Ezra said, “I think they should. That road kind of wants to fall off the way it is.” Comment was made that it would be up to the County Highway Department. Charlie Mellon stated if they would move the ditch over you wouldn’t have to do this. Attorney Loy stated that is entirely a different issue. Don Farnsworth stated if they move it over he would want some ground taken off of his taxes, that is his farming ground. Dave Kilmer suggested these are two different issues and he would like to keep them separate. He said they are issues that need to be addressed, but moving the ditch is not what we want to talk about right now. Chairman Schmierer said, “My question to Mike is, when he does it we probably need to get the County out there to put ballast in to hold the road. If we don’t, we’re going to be in big trouble.”

Dave Kilmer said, “Nobody has lived there any longer than my dad, and Tom and I have been there quite a while, too, and it would be nice to have it fixed. There used to be three foot along that road where you could walk along that ditch on the west side. I would really question where you’d move that ditch. You’re talking about putting piling or ballast in and I would agree with that.” Chairman Schmierer said, “That would be done by the County (Highway Dept.) but I’m just asking Mike when he starts digging if we need to be out there putting pilings in.”

Contractor Ezra stated, “Let me clarify it a little bit. It happens too often. As far as saying the ditch needs moved, it doesn’t need moved. What it needs is when we dig the ditch, instead of digging the ditch in the center it should be dug toward the bank side and leave the other to set in, basically what you are going to do is not take any extra dirt out but just when you dig the ditch pile it to the bank side. Let that road side firm back up.”

Dave Kilmer said, “For years they’ve been talking about moving that ditch. If you’re going to move it, you need to move it hundreds of feet.” Chairman Schmierer said he wasn’t so much concerned with that. Attorney Loy said that would be reconstruction and require a formal hearing.

Charlie Mellon stated he felt the County would have a lot of expense putting ballast in at this time because some of it has gotten under the road already. He said you could get rid of your spoil by digging an open ditch, moving it over, and throwing the spoil in the old ditch, get it all seeded down and it would be a lot better. He said a mile and a half north of Buffalo you can see one that has been done that way.

Chairman Schmierer said, “What we are talking here is trying to get them some relief with the drain. What needs to be done there (moving the ditch) needs to have a hearing and do it properly, but what we’re trying to do here, they’re trying to have a friendly cleanout, which I’m impressed with the number of people here talking about it and knowing that it needs to be done. I wasn’t talking so much about moving it, I was asking Mike if it needs to be ballast some more when we do dig it out. Where do we go from here?”

One landowner said he thinks there should be more stone put along that bank because they already have put some along there and it is helping the bank keep from caving. Chairman Schmierer asked, “Along the roadside? (the answer was yes) Well, that’s what I said; when he digs it out we are going to have to put more ballast along there. That’s why I was asking him if they need to be doing it the same time he is digging or what, because we would have to coordinate that with the County Highway Department to go put that stone in. Ideally would be to move the road but that is going to take time, take hearings and all that. All I am trying to do now is make sure that when he digs it we take care of it in a proper fashion, that it gets taken care of. And I agree with you, it probably needs some stone, what I’ve seen of it.” The landowner said he thinks that stone ought to be put in before he digs that. Contractor Ezra said the stone would probably get thrown out into the field and he suggested driving pilings instead. He said it would be cheaper. One landowner said he agreed with that 100 percent.

Attorney Loy stated, “This is already set up on maintenance so it is just a matter of whether we could hold a hearing for the purpose of determining what exactly ought to be done. We could just go ahead and do it and request quotes if it is under $75,000.00.” Board Member Heimlich said, “But we’re not doing it.” Attorney Loy said, “I understand that, I’m just saying what you CAN do, I don’t see a five year process here.” Board Member Heimlich said, “What they’re talking about, if they want to reconstruct, they go on a list and they’re going to be 4 or 5 years. They want to know if they can do it now.” Attorney Loy said, “But on maintenance, not reconstruction.” Chairman Schmierer said, “No, they’re reconstruction. They’re going to do it themselves. It will have to be reconstruction because it has to be dug out, and taken out; get it down to where it needs to be and everything.” Mike Ezra said, it’s not just taking out a foot or two here and there, it’s major.

Attorney Loy said, “A so-called friendly maintenance clean-out is one thing, but reconstruction of a ditch would require a hearing.” Board Member Heimlich said, “A friendly cleanout, or what ever you call it, we’ve done it on other ditches. The only thing is, Denny has to approve the plan. (Attorney Loy said “Right”) They have to do it according to an approved plan. But it would be up to them to get the contractor; we wouldn’t be involved with that.”

Dave Kilmer asked, “Just a point of clarification, you are talking about a reconstruction. A major reconstruction like moving a ditch, Mike was talking about putting pilings and some stone and such in there, is that a reconstruction?” Chairman Schmierer said, “No, that doesn’t have anything to do with the ditch right now. That’s road, that has to be taken care of, that would have to be taken care of on the County side. We are just talking about how we can let you people do a reconstruction so it can be paid for, or a clean-out, whatever you want to call it, we’re not talking about doing anything other than cleaning the ditch out and getting it back to original condition so it drains the water.”

David Kilmer said, “Another question, too, is that the Suits Ditch in debt $6,000.00? (answer is yes) Why would that be? When was anything every pulled out of there?” Chairman Schmierer explained about repairs and when it was cleaned and how it got in debt. See discussion on tape.

Attorney Loy asked, “Are we trying to get the ditch back as close as possible to original condition, original ditch?” Surveyor Sterrett answered, “Right, it has brush in it and silt in it.” Attorney Loy said that is still within maintenance. Board Member Heimlich said, “The thing is, it would have to go on the list and Mr. Cole came in a month or so ago and said how can we get it done sooner than that. Without us involved they can do a friendly clean-out they could get it done sooner.” Attorney Loy asked if we have to involve and notify the State. Surveyor Sterrett said not to his knowledge, if it is a ten mile ditch or half a mile from the lake you have to.

Attorney Loy stated, “We need everybody onboard to agree to this, agree that we are not going to go through the hearing process. For example, Mrs. Kyburz or Simons or Sommers could say ‘wait a minute this isn’t the right way to do it, I don’t agree to any of this being done this way’, so we would need everybody to come onboard.” Board Member Heimlich said, “Even if they weren’t going to pay (their share) they would still have to agree to what was being done.” Milt Cole said, “That’s the reason I made the comment I did, if anyone chooses not to (pay).” Attorney Loy said, “And, for anybody coming on their property to do this, like Christ, everybody would have to agree to the contractor coming on their property to perform the work. It can be done; it is just that we need 100 percent participation.”

Don Farnsworth asked who is going to work up the assessments. Chairman Schmierer answered we have the assessment role; we use the assessment role the County has. Board Member Heimlich said the Surveyor would have the benefited acres, a map with benefited acres and then whatever contractor you hire gives his total price you can just divide that up by the acres or however you want to do it. You could do that using the assessment role at the Surveyor’s office. Attorney Loy said we wouldn’t be mailing the assessments, you would be collecting it. Contractor Ezra said somebody in the group would have to be in charge. Milt Cole said, “I will take that responsibility. I think Mike will trust me.” Mike Ezra said he will.

Board Member Heimlich said, “The only thing we would need is everybody sign off on what was being done. Mike Ezra asked, “Is there a certain kind of paper that needs to be written up?” Attorney Loy answered, “Yes, I can do that.”

Frank Boardman asked, “Do you intend to start at Pike Creek and go from there?” Mike Ezra said that’s the way that bid was figured, but the way I see it, it is not necessary to go all the way to get Milt out of trouble but the bottom end of the ditch is holding back about two feet of water and the biggest problem is it is starting to……inaudible.” The landowner said, “I don’t have a problem with that, the kind of little problem I have and I admit I’m not too much in favor of paying to take somebody else’s brush off the ditch. I didn’t know how you were going to split the brushing.” Mike Ezra said Milt is carrying most of the brush. Milt Cole said he and Don Farnsworth have the brush.

Attorney Loy agreed to draw up the paper work and let Mr. Cole be the carrier of it. He said he will need the list of landowners. He asked if there have been plans drawn up. Chairman Schmierer asked if Contractor Ezra would draw up a plan for this and give it to the Surveyor. Mike Ezra asked what they want, to shoot some grade? Chairman Schmierer said he thought he would have to. Attorney Loy said, “What I think I need to draft is an agreement is first of all that all the landowners waive a hearing process and completely bypass any hearings. We are going to give consent to County Line coming on the property and performing the work to the attached specifications and that can be as little as whatever you can draw up that is going to describe what you are going to do. The County gives consent for you doing so as long as everybody else consents. And, that your payment will not be the County’s responsibility but will be otherwise provided for by the affected landowners and I’ll leave it up to you to take care of it from there.”

Milt Cole stated, “For everybody’s sake I got another quote from another contractor and it was considerably higher than Mike’s.”

David Kilmer asked how we determine how each owner will pay. Chairman Schmierer answered, “By the assessment role we have in the Surveyor’s office with the acres benefited (on it). The maintenance you are paying now on that ditch, it is the same assessment role we use for this. Surveyor Sterrett said, “Well it is not….. this ditch has been separated from the Suits Ditch.” Chairman Schmierer said, “Right, but we have the assessment role for it.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “I have made one, yes.” Attorney Loy asked if it was a flat rate. Surveyor Sterrett answered yes. Chairman Schmierer said, “You’re probably going to have to change the flat rate because you have the gentleman back here they agreed they weren’t going to charge him for brush.” Surveyor Sterrett said they can do that. Board Member Heimlich said, “We can provide you the assessment role but then it is up to you how that gets divided up.” Frank Boardman said, “Then we would know before we signed what the cost for each one was to do the job. We would know that ahead of time, right?” Milt Cole said if we know the number of acres it is elementary math.

Attorney Loy stated, “Like John said, we will provide the landowners with a means of computing their share. The actual collection of it, payment of it is your problem, not ours.” Chairman Schmierer stated, “Mr. Cole, George will prepare the paperwork you need and go from there.”

Mike Ezra asked, “What needs to take place as far as talking to the County as far as what can be done to support the road?” Board Member Ferguson said a seawall there is what they need. Mike said, “I know, but do I talk to Steve about it?” Surveyor Sterrett asked, “What do you think will happen?” Mike Ezra said in due time it will give away. One landowner said he thinks if you put piling in before you start dipping you will stop that problem. (For discussion about where piling is needed see tape…inaudible) Chairman Schmierer asked Mike, “Do you have any idea how many feet of piling we are talking about along there.?” Mike Ezra answered, “Well, around 300 feet, that is just a rough idea.” Rick Roach thought that was very conservative. Chairman Schmierer said he figured about 500 or 600 feet. Mike Ezra said he was saying 300 feet is the worst of it. Chairman Schmierer told Mike Ezra to get ahold of Steve Brooke and he would also talk to Steve about it. Attorney Loy asked, “Mike, can you draw up some basic specs that I can attach to this agreement so the landowners can see just basically what you are going to do? Be as specific as you can so that ………..inaudible……..and it will have a map attached to it.”

Chairman Schmierer asked Rick Roach to stay for the discussion on the flooding problem at Mike Bunnell’s house in Carroll County across from Roach’s farm ground (Guy Williams Drain). Chairman Schmierer explained, “We had been out there and we have talked about this before. Denny got ahold of the Surveyor down at Carroll County and he said go ahead and fix it, whatever we needed to do, without a hearing. So, what we are needing to do is probably put a rock chute in there and drain the water coming off of that field, to catch the water coming off there. That’s not going to solve all of their problems. It will solve part of their problems.”

Rick Roach said, “Somebody, they finally got that tile opened up in the roadside, that happened this past week. I don’t know who did that, but they did finally get that ten inch drain opened up last week and that was creating a lot of his problems. So that’s fixed now and I don’t know whether he (Bunnell) did it or if someone else came in and did it.” Chairman Schmierer said, “I think that he probably did it didn’t he? Carroll County didn’t do it did they? I think that he hired Segal’s to do it didn’t he?” Surveyor Sterrett said, “I think so.” Chairman Schmierer said, “He paid for it. He blocked the tile off on up a ways, but from what I understand they fixed it in front of their house.” Rick Roach said, “There’s been two different instances. He put in a five inch or four inch tile and said it was going to take care of the problem, I tried to tell him it wasn’t. Then they came back in a second time and they corrected it properly. What Dad and I were going to do, we were going to hook on to that tile and re-route it around his property so we don’t have to worry about it getting flooded on his property and us being accused of all his problems.” Chairman Schmierer asked, “Is that your tile on down the road? (Rick Roach said he doesn’t know whose it is) I figured it was a Carroll County tile.”

Rick Roach said, “Anyway, we were going to do that just so we don’t have to worry, because it has hurt us actually that having been blocked. The blockage is on his property that is creating a lot of this issue. Now, his point about the rock chute is a valid point but what he’s NOT thinking about, when you take fourteen inches of rain in two weeks, that water can’t go into a ditch that is already overloaded, and actually, I’m not too sure, that needs to be there for most cases but what we’ve been through the last two years, that water would actually back out of there. Once it gets that high it is going to come back. That home was originally built as a garage that they turned into a house. It is a poor location and he’s filled in a county ditch and that didn’t help him.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “So you’re saying if the rock chute was in there the water would come out of there.” Rick Roach said, “The rock chute is not going to be a bad thing to do, but he is in a position where that hole is it is just a bad…….and we’re willing to do whatever we need to do to help improve that situation.”

Chairman Schmierer said, “Well, he was going to dig a small ditch across the back of there. Now we thought that was their yard and they were going to let us do it there. Then they explained to us that is your property. So basically what Denny was going to do was shoot some levels and just take a ditch down and put a rock chute into the ditch. You’re not farming it anyhow.” Rick Roach said, “I have no problem with that.” Chairman Schmierer said, “We won’t have to go into your field, just across there. That will catch some of the water. Then they have another tile there that catches water along the west side of their house. I didn’t know that ditch filled clear up.” Rick Roach stated he didn’t care if they went in now to do the work and had to knock some crops down. Chairman Schmierer said he didn’t think we would have to knock any crops down. He said we can’t see where there has ever been a rock chute. Rick Roach said he didn’t know. Conversation inaudible, see tape.

Chairman Schmierer asked Surveyor Sterrett what he thought it would cost to put the rock chute in. Surveyor Sterrett said, “Segal’s just quoted me an estimate of $3,500.00.” Attorney Loy said to get three quotes on it. Chairman Schmierer said he thinks we should just go ahead and get it done. He doesn’t think it is going to solve their problem. Rick Roach said, “Really what was happening, that tile that was blocked, that head pressure was pushing all that water. That’s what really caused the problem, that head pressure coming up out of that tile, it was coming up in their yard.” Chairman Schmierer said they (Bunnells) told us that the County blocked that tile at the bridge. I do think, I didn’t know that tile ran through there. I kept trying to figure out why this farm wasn’t draining right but what was happening, that water was all backed up and seeping over across that County road into another field and that’s been going on for quite a while. Bob Scott said something to me a year ago about that tile and I didn’t take enough time to listen to what he was saying. That was the main problem with that, right there. That field has been completely saturated and every time you get an inch rain the water runs.”

Chairman Schmierer said, “We will get some quotes on it and see if we can get that (rock chute) put in there and see if it will do any good.”

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

Surveyor Sterrett presented a request for a waiver from the White County Drainage Ordinance from Rockland Flooring in Monon. He stated that his office overnighted the plans to Engineer Frauhiger in Florida but due to the hurricane he did not receive them. Surveyor Sterrett stated, “They are building a 80 x 167 building which is just over 10,000 square feet and it is already on impervious surface. Chairman Schmierer said it is not going to affect anybody but them. Surveyor Sterrett agreed.

Board Member Heimlich made a motion to approve a waiver for Rockland Flooring in Monon. Board Member Ferguson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Surveyor Sterrett reported that Rose Acres has submitted plans to build a manure shed and is asking for a waiver also, but we have not received the review fee as of today.

Chairman Schmierer said he and Board Member Heimlich would come in and help Surveyor Sterrett set the rates for the reconstruction of the J. P. Carr Drain so he can bring the rates to the Board meeting September 20, 2004 to be approved.

Chairman Schmierer adjourned the meeting.