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October 4, 2004 Tape #019

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. Also attending was Charlie Mellon.

Chairman Schmierer opened discussions on Setting Rates for the reconstruction project on the J.P. Carr Drain in Prairie Township. Chairman Schmierer stated he and Surveyor Sterrett have been over and over it trying to figure out how to change the assessments for reconstruction. He said, “George when we talked to you about the J.P. Carr the other day, about changing those lots to $100.00, and if we do that it’s cheaper than going the percentage rate that they are being charged on maintenance.” Attorney Loy asked, “Cheaper in what respect?” Chairman Schmierer said, “Well, their cost would be less that way than if we go on a percentage basis.” Attorney Loy asked, “What you had originally considered was $25.00 a lot, right?” Chairman Schmierer said, “Yes but it would have been worse then than it is now. So we went to work and used a percentage. But, we’re right back, my concerns and Denny’s concerns too, I’m sure, after looking at it, how many acres does Juanita have total, Denny do you know? We need to look and see, but out of hers, and I know that’s where we’re going to get into, she’s got so much ground that isn’t farm ground. It’s nontillable and on a percentage basis, per acre basis, hers is $11.05 an acre.” Attorney Loy asked, “Flat rate for all acres, tillable and nontillable.” Chairman Schmierer said it’s not flat rate, it’s percentages. Board Member Heimlich, “That’s not flat rate, $12.68.”

Surveyor Sterrett stated, “The ditch is on maintenance and we figured the cost of what the cleaning is going to be and then took that percent of what anybody is paying on maintenance and took it times the cost.” Chairman Schmierer compared several of Juanita Waugh’s estimated assessments trying to figure out what is her rough ground. See tape. Attorney Loy asked, “You are charging her a different rate on the nontillable as you are on the tillable?” Chairman Schmierer said, “Well, that’s what we want to do. That’s what we are trying to get to. That’s the way it should be.” George Loy said, “She (Juanita Waugh) has different rates.” Board Member Heimlich said, “It looks like she does but we’re not sure what it’s based on. What is the variable rate on the maintenance based on?” Chairman Schmierer said the parcel on the bottom line on the first page of the assessments is a long ways from the ditch.

Attorney Loy stated, “You need to have that in the record as to how you came up with the formula.” Chairman Schmierer said, “That’s where our problem is, we haven’t come up with a satisfactory formula, I don’t think.” Board Member Heimlich asked, “You are saying that one parcel that is $4.98, you’re saying it’s not because it is pasture, but because it is a long way from the ditch. Most of them I saw on the next pages were $12.68, a lot of them are $12.68, I guess there’s some different.” Chairman Schmierer said, “$11.05, she has a small 5 acre tract up here that’s $22.09.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “Section 11 is where her rough ground is.” Chairman Schmierer said, “See we’re charging her $11.05 on that rough ground, $10.98 and $11.03, that’s never going to fly.”

Attorney Loy stated, “There needs to be in the record the method by which you came up with the variable rate and reasons why.” Chairman Schmierer said, “What we used for a variable rate was the percent that they were being charged on the maintenance.” Board Member Heimlich said we don’t know what that was based on. Chairman Schmierer continued, “And, that’s not going to be proper because….we’ve tried to…. two or three ways. So now we are at a standstill, we don’t know where or how to go.” Attorney Loy stated, “I think it would be worthwhile perhaps to ask Todd (Frauhiger, CTE Engineers) in getting some engineering data into the record because this will likely be challenged. There needs to be some basic drainage engineering data to support the numbers.” Chairman Schmierer suggested asking Surveyor Mike Kingman to come down and work with Surveyor Sterrett on it. Attorney Loy asked if he had any engineering degree. Chairman Schmierer said he is a registered surveyor. Board Member Heimlich was in agreement to ask for Surveyor Kingman’s assistance.

Board Member Heimlich stated, “The other thing is with the lots, how to handle those.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “The .14 percent could have been six tenths of an acre or twenty acres for some reason.” Board Member Heimlich said, “That makes for some serious differences here on some of those. I found one that was over two hundred dollars an acre.” Chairman Schmierer said, “We were going to try to charge anything under three acres a hundred dollars.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “Then that messes up the percentages the other way. Do you mean that the rough ground would be less percent?” Chairman Schmierer said, “Oh yes, right. If it’s not farm ground it’s got to be…..” Surveyor Sterrett said, “So, if she had six hundred acres and it was all on one assessment, and fifty percent of it was rough ground, how do you…….” Chairman Schmierer said, “Well, she’d pay probably a third for the rough ground as she would for the…..some of that ground down in there you know as well as I do they can’t do anything with it. Some of it IS farm ground now, some of it there can’t be done anything with, so I’d say about a third of that down there is going to have to be estimated out at a third of the cost to get it (project) to fly.” Attorney Loy agreed.

Board Member Heimlich said, “Well, there’s two factors there. One of course on that ground you’re not getting runoff on that ground that you are on some of the other. And then of course the other, if she’s not cropping it, she’s not getting any benefit from the tile either to speak of.” Chairman Schmierer said, “And we put the branch with the main, because if you don’t then her assessment is outrageous on the branch.” Board Member Heimlich asked what the average cost per acre was. Chairman Schmierer said ten something an acre. Board Member Heimlich said that is cheaper than he thought it would be. Surveyor Sterrett said, “$10.55 without the branch and $10.58 with the branch.” Chairman Schmierer asked, “Is that benefited acres though?” Surveyor Sterrett answered yes.

Chairman Schmierer said we have to get this right before we send out the Hearing notices. He instructed Surveyor Sterrett to get Surveyor Kingman to come down and go out to the site with him. Surveyor Sterrett asked if we could charge it to the ditch. Chairman Schmierer said yes.

Surveyor Sterrett reported that on the Fern McKillip Ditch the landowners have asked to remove the log jam themselves if it can wait until January to be done. They are conservatives that have some trees along the ditch that they don’t want removed. He said the only way we can get to it is to come in from the side and take out some of the trees. The location is 150 South of Quarry Road. Board Member Ferguson said it is south of Clark’s farm. The Board was in agreement that it could wait until January to be done. Surveyor Sterrett said Christie Nelson is the owner and her mother Linda Eckert lives south of Monon Road on CR100, south of the ditch.

Candy Pemberton was on the agenda but was not in attendance. Surveyor Sterrett explained that she was concerned with railroad ties that are shoring up the bank on the Walter Diener Ditch on her property south of Segal’s where the recycle place is on the east end of Reynolds. She wants to know whose responsibility it is. Chairman Schmierer, Board Member Heimlich and Surveyor Sterrett all figured they had put them in themselves. Surveyor Sterrett said he thinks her mother lives there now. Surveyor Sterrett said she wants to know what will happen when the bank starts sliding in and he said he did not see anything wrong with it falling in or anything. Board Member Heimlich asked if the Surveyor looked up any information on it. Surveyor Sterrett said he could not find anything. Secretary Kiser said, “When her husband came in he said that the former owner put them in there, maybe her dad.” Board Member Ferguson said he thought he worked on the railroad. Surveyor Sterrett said he didn’t see anything wrong with it sliding in anywhere now.

Chairman Schmierer said, “I’d say they put them there. It is their responsibility.” Board Member Heimlich said, “So that wasn’t why they asked, they didn’t want it repaired. Were they selling it?” Surveyor Sterrett said, “She said her mother lived there.” Attorney Loy asked if it was falling in. Surveyor Sterrett said he didn’t see that it was. Attorney Loy said, “And if it did, is it going to give us any problem?” Board Member Heimlich said, “Well if it falls in, yes.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “But it is straight up and down, the railroad ties are like a seawall.” Board Member Heimlich said he didn’t know why it would have been done like that. Surveyor Sterrett said he thought it was for their yard, probably because he wanted more yard, he probably shored it up to widen out the yard. It is just on one side of the ditch.

Attorney Loy said, “It is their job to make sure that it doesn’t fall in the ditch and obstruct it. And you might remind her that we have a right-of-way.”

Chairman Schmierer stated, “What we decided to do on the J.P. Carr Ditch is, this Kingman that used to be the Surveyor at Jasper County, we have directed Surveyor Sterrett to get him down here to look at it and go ahead and help him figure the rates. And I would say we want the rate on that rough ground approximately a third less. If the rate is twelve dollars on the farm ground, that should be four dollars.” Attorney Loy said, “This (printout) is a reminder those are the factors you are supposed to be considering on ALL projects. And after Kingman and Denny and the Board has a consensus on what you want to do, I think I’d like to prepare something that will go in record, citing every one of those factors. Because the judicial review is basically looking at ‘how did you guys come up with this’ and if it makes any sense at all, it will fly.” Chairman Schmierer said, “I don’t think that, we know we can’t charge them full tilt, but I’d say at least a third on that.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “Then the Catholic Diocese has a woods there, that’s going to be treated the same?” Chairman Schmierer said, “Right, if it is not farmable it will have to be treated the same way, anything that is rough ground like that would have to be treated the same.” Attorney Loy said, “Unless the distance (from the ditch) is greater for some rough ground than others. If the topography is way different.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “So, does the ground farther away get charged less? Or more? I’ve seen it done both ways.” Attorney Loy said it depends, and I’ll let you engineers figure that out. Board Member Heimlich said, “We have argued that on the Monon Ditch project. There are two factors there, the one is in relation to the ditch, whether you are up where the ditch starts or down at the end. Then the distance away from the channel. And I think on maintenance what they are talking about is the distance from the ditch itself. The farther away, the less you pay. And the argument on the other is, if you, like on the Monon, if you are up at North Judson and you have to use the entire ditch. Of course the people down at Buffalo are only using a little bit of it. That’s the argument.”

Surveyor Sterrett reported, “Out at the Hinshaw-Burch Drain where we went to Bruce Vogel’s and had the tile plugged with roots, FRATCO looked at the tile that had cracks and holes in it and he hasn’t got back with me yet. He did one time and was undecided whether he should have to pay any or not, and I said I felt the tile was bad and the roots got into their holes. So he was going back to his supervisors to see what they could pay on the project. He was talking about paying half of it and I said I thought he ought to have to pay it all. He was going to see but hasn’t got back to me.” Charlie Mellon asked what kind of a tile it was. Surveyor Sterrett said it was split and had holes in it but it wasn’t manufactured that way, it was to be a solid tile.

Surveyor Sterrett reported, “Also, south of Wayne Hunt’s on Bullock’s we got that repaired and the water is running through there now.” Board Member Ferguson said they got rid of water in the old tile, too. He said Wayne Hunt says he’s not getting any good out of that. Surveyor Sterrett said, “But he wanted it fixed so he could get the rest of his beans out that were in the low ground.”

Surveyor Sterrett said, “Tom Wagner is still working on the plans for the rock chute and waterway on the Guy Williams Ditch in Carroll County. He hasn’t got back to me yet.”

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

Chairman Schmierer adjourned the meeting.