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January 4, 2005 Tape #001

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 Steven Burton, John C. Heimlich and O. D. Ferguson, Attorney George W. Loy, Surveyor Dennis W. Sterrett and Secretary Romana Kiser in attendance. Charlie Mellon also attended.

As Vice President, Board Member Heimlich called the meeting to order. First on the agenda was the reorganization of the Board for the year 2005. Steven Burton replaces Ronald Schmierer as a member.

Board Member Heimlich made a motion to elect new member Steven Burton as President and himself, John C. Heimlich, as vice-president of the White County Drainage Board for the year 2005. Board Member Ferguson seconded the motion. The motion carried. Vice President Heimlich turned the meeting over to President Steve Burton.

Surveyor Sterrett reported on maintenance funds spent in 2004. (See copy attached to hard copy of minutes.) Surveyor Sterrett reported, “We paid 179 claims and spent about $35,000.00 on maintenance bid projects. We cleaned the Clarence Bossung. We did some brush work on the Carter-Hines. The Kleyla Branch of the Esther Fraser, we did some brush on it. We did brush on the Mc Killip Branch #1, plus we dipped out about 1,000 feet on it. We put some tile in on the York Drain and the Keever Branch of the F. G. Church, that was some tile through Pass’s farm for Claude Butt. We cleared the brush on the Hickman Branch of the F. M. Coonrod and we are now finishing up A. B. Robinson north and west of Reynolds. Total money spent on bid projects was $35,000.00 and total maintenance funds spent was $108,319.00 and the total maintenance funds spent on spraying last year was $11,289.12 which is cheaper than what we usually do it for. The grand total for spraying, all the bid projects and tile repair was $154,593.60 and right now we have 216 drains on maintenance. Those drains have 279 branches, so actually we have 495 legal drains on maintenance to take care of. That is about 1,120 miles of ditches in White County. At least that’s what has been reported. I have not verified that. Sixteen drains have been petitioned for reconstruction or maintenance. That is the list we have. Right now the J. P. Carr Ditch has been let (for reconstruction project) so that will take one away. The Mc Killip Branch #1 west and south of Monon, between Monon and Reynolds, surveying has been done on that and I’ve about got it drawn so we ought to get to work on that this spring. That’s on maintenance. The F. G. Church ditch is being surveyed right now. That is about four or five miles of ditch to reconstruct. The H. D. Renwick Drain is now being worked on as a friendly cleanout. So that will take four drains off the list of drains that were petitioned. So we are down to twelve.”

Board Member Heimlich asked, “I had a question about maintenance rates. About three or four years ago on doing some reconstructions out of maintenance to save the engineering fee, what usually happened, the maintenance rate was raised for say a three year period from maybe a dollar to whatever it took, eight or nine dollars, do we watch that so it is dropped off then back to the regular maintenance rate after……” Surveyor Sterrett said we have that in our book. Secretary Kiser explained, “Yes, it is all noted in the ledger what year we should notify the Auditor. We have one exception, the George Bossung Drain; it was to stay raised until the project was paid. We raised it and the minutes said I think the motion said for three years, but we had said it would have to stay up until the project was paid. We might want to have a landowner meeting or something if we start getting a lot of questions on that.” Board Member Heimlich asked if it would just be one more year. Secretary Kiser said probably one or two more because we had to do some more work on it. Surveyor Sterrett said, “We will be looking at all those drains here in the next week or so to determine whether we need to keep going collecting on them.” Board Member Heimlich said, “I knew it had been about three years since we started that and I knew that some of those should be coming off and I just wanted to make sure that we caught that so those were dropped back to their regular maintenance.”

Surveyor Sterrett stated that Jack and Trent Pherson were supposed to be here to discuss trees on the Hinshaw-Burch Drain that we had trouble with this fall, had roots in it. Surveyor Sterrett showed the Board where the drain is. He said, “Where it goes through the woods here we replaced about sixty feet (tile). This is Jack’s house here. It is an eighteen inch tile.” Board Member Ferguson identified Jack’s house and Vogel’s house. Surveyor Sterrett said, “This is where they were supposed to put a solid tile from here down to here and right in here there was a suck hole developed and if you remember it was plugged up and there was sixty foot of tile that was full of roots. So we had Wrede & Sons come out and after we found roots in the tile we replaced it. It was supposed to be a solid tile, but the tile was cracked. So now they’re worrying about this. There are some trees growing on top of this tile here. They’re worrying about it being cracked also. There are some pictures. They are small trees. There are a lot of hardwoods there. They don’t bother me.” Board Member Heimlich asked whose property it was. Surveyor Sterrett answered, “Mark Bentlage”. Board Member Heimlich asked what Phersons want us to do. Surveyor Sterrett said they want the trees off of the tile. He said when they put that tile in there, they cleared a path through there and now it is just growing back up.

Board Member Heimlich said, “So they don’t know that it is plugged anymore, they just want the trees taken out.” Surveyor Sterrett said they think that the trees are going to cause a problem because we had problems down here (indicated on map). Attorney Loy asked if the trees are wild. Surveyor Sterrett answered, “Yes, they put the tile in the 1980’s and so they cleared a path through there to put the tile in and now the path is growing back up. There are walnut trees off to the side and I don’t think they are bothering anything because they are hardwoods. I don’t think they really get into the tile. So it is just the osage orange and there might be a beech tree in there or a poplar.”

Board Member Heimlich asked how much clearing would there be. Surveyor Sterrett said not much. Board Member Heimlich asked if we had much in the maintenance fund. Surveyor Sterrett didn’t think we did after Wrede and Sons spent two days out there and we paid for that tile. They put in sixty foot of eighteen inch solid tile and it cost us $530.00 for the tile, $1,000.00 for the backhoe and $480.00 for labor.

Chairman Burton asked if the people who want this cleared are the people who own this ground. Surveyor Sterrett said they farm the ground to the south. Chairman Burton asked, “The people that actually own the buildings there are not concerned about it?” Surveyor Sterrett said they don’t know anything about it. Surveyor Sterrett showed the Board the problem they had where the sixty foot of tile had cracked and split and had roots in it. He said that a representative of FRATCO told him that was one of the first solid plastic tile made. He said so far they haven’t done anything about warranty. He hasn’t been able to get a hold of them recently.

Board Member Heimlich said we have jurisdiction over the right-of-way. Chairman Burton asked if the trees were too big to knock back by spraying. Surveyor Sterrett answered yes. Board Member Heimlich asked if there were any trees of value there. Surveyor Sterrett said, “There’s some walnuts in there, but they don’t look like they are in the swale where the tile would be, of course nobody knows where the tile is. There are some pretty nice walnuts there but I don’t think they are hurting the tile.”

Board Member Heimlich said he thinks we need to talk to Bentlage before we do anything. Surveyor Sterrett asked if he should send him a letter or go out there and talk to him. Attorney Loy said, “He may consider them to be really valuable trees so give him the opportunity…….” Board Member Heimlich said, “I think you would want to talk to him. If he would want to take some of them down, thinks they are of any value….” Chairman Burton said, “I’m assuming the valley is where the tile went.” Surveyor Sterrett said that is what he is assuming, too. Chairman Burton said, “There’s just little trees in there and the bigger trees would be up on the higher…….” Surveyor Sterrett said, “I would say we could leave those. They are mostly 4 inch or 6 inch trees.”

Chairman Burton said, “So I’m hearing the order of business would be to contact the landowner of the area involved and let him know that…..” Surveyor Sterrett said, “Do I tell him that he needs to get them off of there or do we take them off?” Secretary Kiser said, “Your maintenance letter to the landowners gives them the opportunity.” Board Member Heimlich said, “We don’t do that on other tiles unless it is a problem.” Attorney Loy said, “No, but give him the opportunity to if he wants to take them off.” Board Member Heimlich said, “And if he doesn’t I guess we will decide how to get it done.” Surveyor Sterrett said he will get out there and talk to him.

Board Member Heimlich asked if Phersons wanted to do it. Surveyor Sterrett said they didn’t say anything about that; they were just worried about them plugging up the tile. Surveyor Sterrett said, “When the tile was plugged up the water ran out over the field and down through the waterway and backed up into Vogel’s swale and that didn’t allow his drain to work that was under his house so he had water under his house last summer. We had a big rain after we got the roots out of the tile and we haven’t had any call since.”

Chairman Burton, “What I am getting at is since you have fixed that there isn’t a current problem with those trees but it is probably a good idea to deal with it since there has been water standing.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “I think there is enough grade that the Hinshaw farm drains alright whether the tile is plugged up or not.”

Board Member asked if he had any idea what it would cost to do that. Surveyor Sterrett said it is maybe 200 feet across the Bentlage property. Surveyor Sterrett said that right now the drain is about a year in debt. Chairman Burton asked, “Can we put a hold on that decision until we see what the result of your…….” Surveyor Sterrett said yes. Board Member Heimlich said, “That sounds fine. I don’t think there is any emergency here. If there were they would’ve been in here.”

Charlie Mellon asked if Board Member Heimlich had a Monon Ditch Joint Board meeting last month. Board Member Heimlich said he called up there over the holidays and they had not heard back from IDEM.

Chairman Burton adjourned the meeting.