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December 20, 2004 Tape #024

The White County Drainage Board convened at 10:30 A.M. 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 attending were Francis T. Zakrajsek, Trent Pherson, Jack Pherson, Charlie Mellon and Steve Burton.

Chairman Schmierer opened the continued Hearing on the Vacation of a portion of the William Hickman Branch of the F. M. Coonrod Drain in Liberty Township. Chairman Schmierer stated that Surveyor Sterrett, Board Member Heimlich, Board Member Ferguson and he had gone to the site (since the last meeting). He said, “You did find the tile, you flagged the tile and we did find where it comes out.” Surveyor Sterrett showed photos saying, “This is the surface drain culvert and where the tile comes out into the ditch on the west side of the road.” Chairman Schmierer asked if that was the tile or the culvert. Surveyor Sterrett pointed out the surface drain and the tile. He said it is a corrugated metal pipe that goes under the road. Board Member Ferguson pointed out where the road goes north. Chairman Schmierer said, “This tile here is what comes from County Road 800, from Han’s up through there, (to) down here.” He asked Mr. Zakrajsek if he has seen that, where it comes in? Mr. Zakrajsek said, “No, we were over there looking at it. This is the surface drain and this is the other one. This is all under water now.” Chairman Schmierer said, “He (Surveyor Sterrett) said when it opened it ran like crazy.” Mr. Zakrajsek said, “That’s one of the reasons I want to get rid of all that, so all the water WILL run out of there, because right now it just sits there.” Chairman Schmierer asked if he meant it sits in the tile. Mr. Zakrajsek said, “Well, in that whole ditch. It doesn’t flow anywhere.” Chairman Schmierer said there is probably no drop in that ditch. Surveyor Sterrett stated, “A year ago I took some grade on it and it is about a tenth per hundred.” Chairman Schmierer said that isn’t much. Board Member Ferguson said there is a lot of stuff grown up in it, too.

Mr. Zakrajsek said, “The County was kind enough to go in last year and cut the trees down and I paid a little extra to clean the whole ditch and get everything off of it, but what they didn’t do is they didn’t dredge the ditch. So, there are some substantial tree trunks in the very center of the ditch that I’m sure will go a long way to acting as a catch basin for sediments and stuff like that. So the base of the ditch has risen significantly over the years.”

Chairman Schmierer stated, “After we found this tile, basically speaking, we cannot vacate that ditch because that tile does serve a purpose.” Mr. Zakrajsek stated, ‘I understand that. Chairman Schmierer told Mr. Zakrajsek that his next best thing, I guess you will have to apply for Reconstruction to get that ditch cleaned out.

Mr. Zakrajsek stated, “I had gotten together with Mr. Million and I know that the original petition is dead in the water. I guess option two then was to re-define the Hickman Ditch, but you can’t do that because it IS used. My only question is, if it passes over Duggleby’s, and Duggleby is not assessed on the Hickman Ditch even though it passes over their land.” Chairman Schmierer stated that in his opinion it should have never been taken off (Hickman assessment roll). Attorney Loy stated, “In the course of a Reconstruction project you can always redefine the watershed.” Mr. Zakrajsek stated, “The third thing is just leave it status quo, except to go ahead and apply for Reconstruction and get the whole thing cleaned out. There’s a fourth one and Mr. Million and I both talked about it the other day, Mr. Million asked Mr. Sterrett about it and he said to ask the Attorney. Can we withdraw this petition, put in another petition so that we will reconstruct the ditch in such a manner that I, as landowner there, will pay to put a tile in and cover the ditch?”

Attorney Loy stated, “It can be a reconstruction project that you agree to pay all the costs of.” Mr. Zakrajsek stated, “That serves my purpose.” Chairman Schmierer stated if the tile he is going to hook into is a 12 inch. Surveyor Sterrett stated, “The surface drain is a ten and the tile is a twelve inch. Board Member Heimlich stated it would have to be at least a twelve inch tile. Mr. Zakrajsek said, “I would have to go in and see what is cost effective. But if a twelve inch is required, I have no problem with that. Chairman Schmierer said he would have to have at least a twelve inch tile. Mr. Zakrajsek stated that is not a problem. Chairman Schmierer stated he will have to put in a drop drain, a catch well in for that. Mr. Zakrajsek stated, “Right, and that is all part and parcel because instead of having two people come in, I can have one person come in and do all the work and it is a lot easier just to lay one tile right down in there instead of having two people come in and set up tons of equipment. So it may be cost effective. So that is a possibility that we could do that?”

Board Member Heimlich stated, “That would be a reconstruction and there would have to be a Hearing” Mr. Zakrajsek said he understood that we have to go through the whole process. Attorney Loy stated, ‘And bidding.” Mr. Zakrajsek said, “Oh, it has to be bid even though I’m paying for it?” Attorney Loy said, “Sure”. Board Member Heimlich said, “Well, wait a minute, if it was done as a, it would be the same as a friendly cleanout, a friendly reconstruction where everybody agrees to it and he was going to foot the whole bill.” Attorney Loy said, “Like with Mr. Cole (Renwick Drain), we are trying to figure out a way to do it. It is possible.” Board Member Heimlich said, “If he is paying the whole thing……it is on our drain. It is going to have to be done to our specs.” Mr. Zakrajsek said absolutely, not a problem. Board Member Ferguson said, “You can still put all the dirt back over it….” Mr. Zakrajsek said, “Absolutely, that way I gain five or six acres of farmland. I don’t have to turn, I get rid of that sump, which is great for growing malaria and stuff like that.” Surveyor Sterrett stated, “You wouldn’t gain that much would you?” Mr. Zakrajsek said, “I’d gain 3 or 4 acres.” Surveyor Sterrett said he figured about an acre. Mr. Zakrajsek said the bottom line is that it is just going to be better, make farming so much easier, if he can do it for what he thinks is a reasonable price.

Board Member Ferguson asked where he will get that much dirt. Mr. Zakrajsek said, “According to the people that are going to do it, which is Gutwein, where they dug the ditch out, they feathered the dirt into the land and he says you can actually take that dirt and skim that back in and you won’t have any problems. It will be nice and humped and when it settles back in it will be flat and level and you won’t have any problems farming it. I presume he knows what he is talking about. He did a good job when he cut all the trees down and all that.” Board Member Ferguson said, “You have a sand hill back there, too.” Mr. Zakrajsek said, “I certainly do and there’s other dirts around there some place, so he knows that. I have a big sand hill. And, just so you know, I checked with DNR and DNR doesn’t care if it is less than a mile. I did check with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and they ARE interested because it is more than 300 feet. However, they seem to think that is not a real big problem. I have all the paper work and stuff like that for the proposal, I have to do mitigation and I just put in a filter strip on one of my other farms and they said that could serve as mitigation for this. What I would have to do is put this application in for 404 for U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. They are going to come back and tell me I have to see IDEM to get a 401 water certificate and I will tell you that two people I have talked to have been outstanding in their dealings. They walked me around their web sites to get the forms. There is no guarantee that it is going to be granted or anything but there is no cost. They said if it is like two or three miles there is a ten dollar fee which is the most, but other than that, it is just the paper process and it would take anywhere between two to four months to get everything done, that’s probably about average, it may take six months. So, if the Drainage Board thought that the possibility was there that a petition to reconstruct that ditch into a covered tile, twelve inch and no less, if you thought that might have a chance at least, I think what I would do is…………. “Attorney Million said, “Redraft it, we would have to re-publish too I think.” Mr. Zakrajsek said, “That’s no problem, I’ll do whatever is necessary to get this thing done so that the Drainage Board is satisfied and that we meet all legal…….and there may be showstoppers in there. There may be some place along the line where the Army Corp of Engineers or IDEM says we’re not going to do it and we just drop it at that point.”

Board Member Ferguson asked, “Do you want to fill it in where it makes the curve all the way down to the next road then?” Mr. Zakrajsek said, “No, I want to start where the road is, it goes to the west and it doglegs to the right and I want to go to the end of that forty acres and stop and leave an open ditch from there on down, and that’s Westerhouse, Inc.” Attorney Million stated, “And I think he wants to do the same thing, but he’s in the process of getting his survey done.” Mr. Zakrajsek said, “He wants me to do the leg work, find out how it is done. I don’t expect you people to give me an answer but at least you seem to have indicated………..” Board Member Heimlich said, “ Well, I don’t know, if he does the same thing, you get into the problem, we said a twelve inch back there, but you’re going to have to get bigger tiles if you are going to have other tiles hooking in there, so as it goes on downstream ……….” Mr. Zakrajsek said, “Right now I can’t even go out and put fingers in, you know there’s a stretch there north and south where the water hangs up, and then there’s a stretch further west where the water hangs up, and I’d like to get fingers in there, but I can’t put fingers in that because there’s no place for the water to go. So, if it turns out then that this does not work because of either the U. S. Army Corp of Engineers or IDEM, then my next thing would be to petition for reconstruction where they dig it out. And I understand if that happens it is gong to be a long, long process. But, we could conceivably get the burying of it done by the time crops come out next year. But, you seem to not be adamantly opposed to saying ‘as long as the tile is big enough’.” Board Member Heimlich stated, “As far as I’m concerned it would be, you apparently didn’t have any objections before, it would be the people on the other side of the road that would be concerned that a tile was going to restrict the water flow for them. If they don’t have any objection…….” Surveyor Sterrett said, “I don’t think tile in the ditch is going to obstruct anybody’s flow.” Board Member Heimlich said he doesn’t see where it is going to be a problem but it does have to go through a Hearing. Mr. Zakrajsek said, “Absolutely, I have no problems with that. I just want to make sure that having found out what we’ve found out that everything is set to go and I now have a point of attack to go through with IDEM and I’ll start the paper work with them.”

Chairman Schmierer said, “They prodded that tile all the way up and it seems pretty solid all the way up. I imagine that corner started draining when we got that tile open.” Surveyor Sterrett said the tile was full of water and it couldn’t get out. Chairman Schmierer said, “And he’s (Steve Brooke) going to change that road crossing up there at 800 N and 800 E. There’s a culvert under there. They are going to tear that out and fix it properly too. So that’s going to run some more water down there to that catch basin.”

Mr. Zakrajsek stated that depending on the price, if it behooves him to put a fourteen inch in he will.

Chairman Schmierer adjourned the Hearing.

Surveyor Sterrett presented drainage plans for Milestone Ag, LLC, Smolek Hog Operation, for approval. Surveyor Sterrett stated, “They are putting two buildings in. Paul Couts designed it and I went up and looked at the site and then I sent the figures to Todd (Engineer Frauhiger) and he checked them and called me this morning and he said they are all right. There is going to be detention on the south side and on the north side and then it is going through a tile down to the Carter-Hines Ditch.

Board Member Heimlich made a motion to approve the drainage plan for Milestone Ag, LLC, Smolek Hog Operation. Board Member Ferguson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Surveyor Sterrett reported that the letter to landowners (Bushong) requesting they remove the trees planted on the C. W. Brackney Tile was returned by the post office. Chairman Schmierer stated he saw the property listed in the Sheriff sales. He asked if the trees were just saplings. Surveyor Sterrett said they are six inch trees. Chairman Schmierer said you couldn’t pull them out by hand then. Surveyor Sterrett asked what the next step is. He said he sent them a certified letter notifying them to get their trees off of the tile. Chairman Schmierer said they put the trees on the tile all the way down, right over the tile. Secretary Kiser said the returned certified letter was marked ‘Moved – left no address’. Surveyor Sterrett said he gave them sixty days to remove the trees. Attorney Loy stated, “If they are gone, obviously you are not going to get anything out of them. We ought to get our hands on that foreclosure file and see when it is set to foreclosure. The new owners will have to get it done. You are authorized, if you don’t get anywhere, I will check the statute, but I think you are authorized after reasonable efforts to do it yourself and then bill the cost to the owner.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “I hate to walk on somebody’s property and start sawing down their trees.” Chairman Schmierer suggested contacting Grace Oilar in the Sheriff’s records department about getting the records and see when it is coming up on Sheriff’s sale or watch the Courthouse windows for the posting.

Attorney Loy read from State Statute, “Trees, shrubs and woody vegetation may not be planted in the right-of-way without written consent of the Board. Trees and shrubs may be removed by you if necessary.” Chairman Schmierer said, “Probably wait until somebody gets it bought and notify them. They will probably want to take them out themselves rather than pay the cost.”

Surveyor Sterrett reported, “Mike Ezra is tiling Mr. Smolek’s ground out there and found that on Branch #4 of the J. M. Timmons Drain the County tile that comes into that is under water. That Branch #4, we thought about dipping it out for about 3,000 feet and he gave me a price of $1,600.00.” Chairman Schmierer asked if there is brush on it, too. Surveyor Sterrett said there is a little bit. Chairman Schmierer asked if he was going to remove the brush. Surveyor Sterrett said on one side. Chairman Schmierer said that is fine. Surveyor Sterrett said, “That’s going 3,000 feet from where it T’s into the……” Chairman Schmierer asked if that will get the County tile out of water. Surveyor Sterrett said yes. He showed a map of the site location. Chairman Schmierer asked if there was money in the drainage (maintenance) fund. The answer was yes.

Board Member Ferguson made a motion to allow County Line Tiling/Excavating (Mike Ezra) to dredge 3,000 feet of the Br. #4 J. M. Timmons Drain for $1,600.00. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Surveyor Sterrett reported, “On Roger Wiese, nineteen hundred feet there at County Road 300 W that John and I looked at, I got three quotes on that and the low one was $1,336.00 by Gutwein Bulldozing & Excavating. That is on the Esther Fraser Drain.”

Board Member Heimlich made a motion to award Jerry Gutwein the contract for cleaning the Esther Fraser Ditch for $1,336.00 on Roger Wiese property. Board Member Ferguson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Surveyor Sterrett discussed the T. J. Woltz Drain with Trent and Jack Pherson and Mike Ezra. Surveyor Sterrett said Mike (Ezra) is going to get it opened up again. Conversation inaudible. (see tape). Surveyor said the tile comes in from the southeast. More conversation by Ezra inaudible (see tape). Jack Pherson said, “Ever since July 3rd of last year, that tile has never performed the way it had been doing……..inaudible. (see tape)” Chairman Schmierer asked if Roach has some property out there, too. Jack answered yes. Chairman Schmierer asked if that is out on the City Landfill road. The answer was yes. Trent Pherson said they still have beans back in there they haven’t been able to cut yet. Chairman Schmierer asked if he had talked to Doug Roberts, City street department. Trent said he talked to Joe Mowrer. Surveyor Sterrett said that Doug Roberts was going to go back in there and see if he could get that opened up; he said there was a catch basin. Trent said, “We talked to Joe and talked him out of it. The junction box back there is not really the problem. The part of Hinshaw dumps in AFTER that junction box and by Dad it isn’t draining any at all.” Discussion between Ezra and Phersons inaudible, see tape. Surveyor said it is on County Road 725 on the East side. Chairman Schmierer said he saw a backhoe in the field early this fall on the east side of 725 and the north side of the highway. Surveyor said, “To start with we can’t tell what we’ve done because the tile is under water.” Mike Ezra asked if the duck pond ever dries up. Trent said on a really wet year it doesn’t dry up but on a normal year. Mike asked, “But that lake doesn’t stand there all the time?” Trent said it has since last summer. Mike said when that tile is working you ought to see that go down. Jack Pherson and Mike Ezra discussion, see tape. Mike Ezra said there is a sway in the tile at the muck hole which may have been that way for ten years. Mike said he is going to try to get there next week.

Jack Pherson asked Attorney Loy “Is there anything in the Indiana Drainage Statute where you can basically force a drain through?” Attorney Loy asked, “Force a drain through where?” Jack Pherson said, “Through the T. J. Woltz, get that thing repaired, the upper end is turning into a swamp. It seems like we are just keep throwing money into a bad situation.” Attorney Loy asked, “Are you talking about a currently existing regulated drain? It would be a reconstruction request.” ……..inaudible, see tape. Jack discusses who owns some of the land. Chairman Schmierer asked if they have fought us on trying to reconstruct that. Jack Pherson ………inaudible……..said that John Hinshaw is not against paying his fair share. Chairman Schmierer said Rick Roach had talked to him about trying to put an open drain down through there and that farm manager came to one of our meetings and he was going to check the feasibility on an open drain but we have not heard any more from him. Chairman Schmierer said Rick Roach feels that the only way that is going to be drained is with an open drain down through there. Chairman Schmierer asked him why he didn’t petition for an open drain. Rick said he didn’t own the ground, somebody else did, but he thought it would get stopped in its tracks anyhow.

Trent Pherson asked how many have to agree on it? Attorney Loy said that ONE person can ask for it. He said it is up to the Board, two of these three. Board Member Heimlich said, “If fifty percent of the assessed land is against it then you probably have a problem.”

Charlie Mellon asked Board Member Heimlich about the Big Monon Ditch project. Board Member Heimlich said they didn’t have a meeting this month. He said, “We got the proposed permit from IDEM and we had some questions, needed some clarification on it, and we haven’t heard back on that yet. We should know by the first of the year whether….. the things we needed clarification on, we didn’t know if the wording on those things were put in to catch you later or whether we could get the language clarified. We should know by the first of the year what their intention was.”

Chairman Schmierer adjourned the meeting.