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BE IT REMEMBERED, that the White County Drainage Board held a meeting on Tuesday, September 3, 2019. The meeting was held at the White County Building, 2nd floor, Commissioners’ conference room beginning at 10:30 a.m. Drainage Board members present were: President Steve Burton, Vice President John Heimlich and Board Member David Diener. Also, present were the White County Surveyor Bradley E. Ward, Attorney George Loy and Board Secretary Jennifer Hill.

President Steve Burton called the meeting to order.

MINUTES

· Vice President Heimlich made a motion to approve the minutes as presented for the meeting held on August 19, 2019, seconded by President Burton.

Vote: Unanimous (3 – For, 0- Against)

OPEN BIDS/QUOTES

J.D. Roudebush #577, E.P. Smith #583, Mellon #655

Surveyor Ward explained that he had requested each drain be bid separately but as a lump sum so the same contractor did all three drains. His estimates for the jobs were as follows:

J.D. Roudebush #577 $10,500.00

E.P. Smith #583 $8,500.00

Mellon # 655 $7,250.00

Four bids were sent out and three bids were received as follows:

Name of Contractor

J.D. Roudebush #577

E.P. Smith #583

Mellon #655

Total Lump Sum

Gutwein Bulldozing & Excavating

$5,600.00

$4,700.00

$3,400.00

$13,700.00

L R Excavating

$8,000.00

$5,500.00

$4,300.00

$17,800.00

Johns Brothers Tiling & Excavating, INC

$7,625.00

$7,200.00

$5,635.00

$20,460.00

There was a motion by Vice President Heimlich to accept the low bid from Gutwein Bulldozing & Excavating for $13,700.00 with a second by Board Member Diener. Vote: Unanimous (3- For, 0 – Against).

 

DRAINAGE REVIEW

Moss Farms, 8953 N 1200 E, Burnettsville, IN 47926

This Drainage Review was submitted by Livestock Engineering Solutions, Inc. Plans were submitted as required. Todd Frauhiger has reviewed the plans and has given it his recommendation for approval. Surveyor Ward also gives it his approval. After short discussion there was a motion by Vice President Heimlich to approve the Drainage Plan for Moss Farms with a second by Board Member Diener. Vote: Unanimous (3- For, 0 – Against).

 

RECONSTRUCTION HEARINGS

J. CONWAY #525

 

Surveyor Ward: Next on the Agenda is the Reconstruction Hearing. The petition was sent 7-18-18. We’ve worked with HWC on spec’ing the size of tile needed. There was a landowner meeting approximately a month ago…6 weeks ago, um, and that gets us here today.

President Steve Burton: A little bit of data here…

Surveyor Ward: What do you want to know?

President Steve Burton: Numbers…

Surveyor Brad Ward: Watershed has 653 acres and...

President Steve Burton: How much does it bring in?

Surveyor Ward: $2.00 an acre.

Attorney George Loy: and there have been two remonstrances filed. One on behalf of the First Merchants Private Wealth Advisors, as trustee of the Belle More Sheetz Trust and a similar by Tammy Wolfe, as trustee of Barbara Merrick Hawkins Charitable Trust and those have been filed by those landowners or by Cecilia Neihouser Harper, Counsel on behalf of both landowners. Which are a matter, which are in the record.

President Steve Burton: Please excuse us for taking a moment here. Has our legal department had time to review this?

Attorney George Loy: Uh, I’ve seen it. I’ve had a chance to speak with Cecelia. I guess it would be appropriate, perhaps, to open it up for discussion or input, either for or against. I guess, I’d like to address these.

President Steve Burton: So, before we enter the hearing we would do this?

Attorney George Loy: Well, this triggers some statutory requirements, uh, for the Drainage Board. One of which being the filing of written rebuttal to what’s been filed. And it’s going to be my recommendation to the Drainage Board that in order to have the proper amount of time to do that the hearing, I mean if you’re going to do that to continue the hearing to a date stated on the record so that the Drainage Board can file the required written rebuttal and if they want to file anything else that they want to they can and if you do that, and I’ve spoken with Ms. Harper, can I call you Cecelia?

Cecelia Neihouser Harper: You may.

Attorney George Loy: I’ve spoken with Cecelia and she’s okay with doing that if that’s what you want to do without prejudice to either party. Either the Drainage Board or they files the evidence, rebuttal, support or so forth to be further considered. That would also allow with the Surveyor and our Engineer to review things and confer with the two property owners in question to just review their assessment, and to review the remonstrances. That’s my suggestion.

Vice President Heimlich: Well, as to your suggestion what would be the better way to go? To open the Hearing or…

Attorney George Loy: Yes, I would open the hearing. I would take statements and evidence from anybody including the two landowners that I’ve mentioned. And I think the inclusion of that evidence and continuing it to a stated date so that everyone knows when it is and secondly, we don’t have to send out new notices.

President Steve Burton: Okay.

Attorney George Loy: Just my suggestion.

President Steve Burton: Okay, we haven’t officially opened it yet…

Attorney George Loy: Yes, I would open it for public hearing.

President Steve Burton: Um, at this time we will open the hearing on the J. Conway Tile #525.

Surveyor Brad Ward: A few other notes, there are 16 parcels in the watershed, 9 landowners, 9 different landowners with 16 Parcels. When we sent out notices to owners it was $605.00 an acre, was our engineered estimate.

Attorney George Loy: I’m sorry for a total project cost of?

Surveyor Brad Ward: $395,065

Attorney George Loy: Everyone charged the same per acre price?

Surveyor Brad Ward: Flat rate assessment.

President Steve Burton: Uh, I think we’ve got pretty much all the statistics and the numbers out there. I can repeat these if you want to know them. At this time, um, do you have any written emails or…

Surveyor Brad Ward: That was the only written correspondence we had.

President Steve Burton: These here?

Attorney George Loy: Filed August 29.

President Steve Burton: And with the background being set…I’d invite one at time, come up to the microphone, state your…

Surveyor Brad Ward: Name and address would be helpful for the record.

Attorney George Loy: Yeah, we’re recording this and it may be necessary to transcribe the recording.

President Steve Burton: For or against…

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: Any sort of order? Here?

President Steve Burton: Whichever you’re comfortable with.

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: Good Morning, I’m Cecelia Neihouser. I’m from the firm Bennett, Boehning and Clary in Lafayette Indiana. 415 Columbia St., P.O. Box 469, Lafayette, IN 47902. We represent the Barbara Merrick Hawkins Charitable Trust. I’m going to call that the Hawkins Trust and the Belle Moore Sheetz Trust, I’ll call that the Sheetz Trust. The Sheetz Trust has 1 Parcel and the Hawkins Trust has 2 parcels for a total of 3 parcels. You can read the objection we filed on behalf of both landowners but just briefly our argument is: We procedurally and substantively objects to these proceedings that the procedural aspects required by statute have not yet been fulfilled. Um, just a couple of examples, um, we don’t believe that the report was filed correctly and that the explanation of assessments was incorrectly pursuant to the statutes we’ve listed. So, our first request that we’re asking is for the Board to adjourn until these remedies have been fixed. Secondly, we substantively objects to the Report and the Schedules for the following reasons that are listed. Here, pursuant to statute the costs, damages, and expenses of the Proposed Reconstruction exceed the benefit to the landowner and the benefits assessed against landowner are excessive and the damages assessed are inadequate so pursuant to statute Indiana Code §36-9-27-52. It’s also our contention that statutory factors in §112 described Indiana Code §36-9-27-50 have not been adequately considered. We further object to the purported need, purpose, and benefits of the Proposed Reconstruction and also object to the total cost and find that the Proposed Reconstruction is unjust and unreasonable. We do have an expert, Chris Freeland, she’s not able to be here today so we do have letters that she is going to provide evidence in our favor but she’s not able to be here today. Her testimony would or report would show that no amount should be apportioned to Hawkins and um, at least a much lower amount, if anything should be apportioned to the Sheetz Trust. So we would request that this hearing be adjourned and continued until we can provide further evidence in support of our position.

Board Member David Diener: Do you have that report that you’re indicating that she’s provided?

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: No, we just communicated by phone and she would provide a report as written evidence or come here and testify in front of the Board for oral evidence, either one. But, her contention is that nothing should be apportioned to Hawkins and very little if anything should be apportioned to the Sheetz Trust.

Board Member David Diener: So, it would be fair to say that she’s talking about the drainage area or the drainage field or watershed…

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: Yes, correct.

Attorney George Loy: It’s her contention that they’re simply not in the watershed?

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: I would say that they’re in the watershed, but they don’t need this drain because they have already put drains in on their own land? Um, so it’s not a need at all for them. So, they shouldn’t be apportioned the cost because they will not be using it is generically what the position is.

Vice President John Heimlich: Well, there would still be an issue. The new drain that has been put in, does it still go to the same place?

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: I don’t believe so. But, she would be better able to speak to that. I wouldn’t want to misrepresent anything in front of the Board. Um, but she would be the best one to provide further evidence on that issue. Again, I would renew my overall request is to adjourn as George and I have previously discussed to give time to provide written and oral evidence in support of our position without prejudice to the Board or the Sheetz or Hawkins Trust.

Attorney George Loy: Again, just to follow up on that…the law does require that we file in response.

President Steve Burton: I have a problem with this because there’s…

Attorney George Loy: It just says she can’t be here.

President Steve Burton: She can’t be here.

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: Is there a specific issue you have with that?

President Steve Burton: There’s no evidence on that piece of paper.

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: Yeah, she doesn’t have any evidence, I would be happy to provide something further once we adjourn and we would like to do that and we can provide more on our position. Um, she just wasn’t able to come here today or have time to prepare a report either.

Board Member David Diener: Well, it’s going to be rather difficult for us to respond to whatever she provides if she doesn’t provide it to us first.

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: And I can do…

Attorney George Loy: You can do that?

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: I can do that, certainly.

President Steve Burton: Uh…

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: What kind of time frame would you think would be appropriate, George?

Attorney George Loy: Well, I would kind of…

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: So we can talk.

Attorney George Loy: I personally would like to consider that at the conclusion…

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: Sure.

Attorney George Loy: Of whatever we’re going to hear today.

President Steve Burton: When were these mailed out?

Surveyor Brad Ward: Roughly, 30 days ago.

President Steve Burton: Do you have anything else?

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: Uh, nothing at this time.

Surveyor Brad Ward: August 5th.

President Steve Burton: Uh, anybody else? Yes, sir…

Yes, I’m Dan Sullivan and I’m here on behalf of my mother Darlene Sullivan she’s got one of the tracts in question and uh, she doesn’t believe that it will add any value to her. There has never been a problem back there on the back 14 acres that are in question, um, so um, she’s against the taxes because she’s going to spend $8,000 that’s not going to change anything on her behalf or her farm so, and she didn’t know what to do on this whether she needed to file something or um get an attorney, she asked me to come to this meeting. Apparently, there was a letter that came out a few months ago that she wasn’t aware of until this second letter came out so I was asked to come on her behalf.

President Steve Burton: Ok, thank you.

Jon Thompson, I represent Prairie View Farms, LLC, we have 5 parcels in this we are towards the tail end or closer to the ditch on this watershed so, um, we see great benefit from it because we take a lot of water across our farm that ends up ponding on our farm, um, from the adjacent landowners. Watersheds cannot be redirected. The water runs where the waters wants to run and there is a clear waterway that runs through the Widmer property onto our property and eventually makes it to the ditch. Brad, maybe you can tell me…how old is the main we’re talking about reconstructing?

Surveyor Brad Ward: Well, what we’ve patched is clay so, I mean, I’d guess 50-60 years old, at the newest. It was probably put in around 1910 um, and I could pull those records. But it is, unless it’s been patched in places where it was dug up it’s probably old clay tile it’s (inaudible).

Jon Thompson: We have numerous repairs across our property every year on this tile. It’s a big tile, it’s a nuisance and it hinders us to be able to farm our farm. It was one of the very last fields we were able to farm this year, which, it was an extreme year but we have to have drainage in order to have, you know to handle some extreme conditions, also. We tried to work on this project a little bit privately before this and had to go this route. We need this drainage so I would appeal to you if we have to table it, we need to speed it a long as quickly as we can. So we can have it in by next spring. It is a great hindrance to our farming operation on the land we own.

President Steve Burton: Next?

Board Member David Diener: There’s 39 owners, we’ve had 4 of them…

President Steve Burton: Anybody else? So, with uh…

My name is Chad Widmer , I farm about 300 acres that I do not own, but I have some landlords that are here, but back to, and I’m just curious, they’ve got a little discrepancy in watershed issues there between us and Hawkins. It’s been brought to my attention that that watershed has been moved to the Roudebush on the Hawkins Farm and I was just curious if that was taken off this Conway tile or if that was still involved? Cause I know that affects me on another farm, cause it’s overloading that Roudebush tile and it looked like to me that they took everything to the Roudebush Tile.

Surveyor Brad Ward: Watersheds have not been changed.

Chad Widmer: The watersheds. But, the underground drainage can go to a different watershed? Does that have to go through the Board or how does that work?

President Steve Burton: The Board was not, this Board was not notified of the change.

Chad Widmer: Cause it overloads another tile that I have that goes into that Roudebush and I didn’t think it was supposed to go that way but, uh, I think they’re using the Conway as an overflow according to Dwengers, when I talked to them. I, do whatever, that’s not my ground but with watershed, with the underground drainage being brought to another farm I have on another drain it has affected me a lot. I didn’t know if that part of it had been changed went through the Drainage Board or not. So that’s my concern. As far as the Conway, there is an issue there that should probably somewhat needs to be addressed.

Board Member David Diener: Chad for the record can you give us the name of who you farm for in this watershed?

Chad Widmer: Bonita, oh in the Roudebush? In the Roudebush watershed it’s the Kelley, Max and Karen Kelley.

Board Member David Diener: In the Conway?

Chad Widmer: Bonita Widmer.

Board Member David Diener: Does it involve…how many parcels? We started out here…

Chad Widmer: We have 200 acres.

Surveyor Brad Ward: 2 parcels.

Chad Widmer: And there are 60 on the Kelley that goes into the Roudebush.

Board Member David Diener: Just trying to keep track of the number of parcels, we started with 16, kind of as we go along here. Thank you.

Chad Widmer: Thank you.

President Steve Burton: Anybody else?

Vice President John Heimlich: Brad, you had no uh…

Surveyor Brad Ward: I knew there was tile work being done, I don’t think I realized that…

Vice President John Heimlich: But no one has contacted your office about the changes in the watershed?

Surveyor Brad Ward: No. Not about changing watersheds.

President Steve Burton: Okay.

Uh, question, Kyle Rule…are we talking surface or subsurface? Are we talking a changing a watershed subsurface or surface? And this is about the Conway not the Roudebush. So if we need to follow-up on the Roudebush, we need a separate hearing.

Vice President John Heimlich: That’s always a question where you’re changing, when someone wants to change the watershed they’re in they say “well I tiled over to someplace else” but they still may have surface water that’s still going the way of that watershed.

Kyle Rule: I think that’s what we’re asking to investigate the difference in.

Surveyor Brad Ward: It’s my understanding that if you take rain and you drop it on the ground where that surface water runs to it was the watershed you were in.

Kyle Rule: Well, they didn’t change the watershed.

Attorney George Loy: Well, the Board changes watersheds.

Board Member David Diener: Yeah, private farmers aren’t going to change the watersheds that are under the Surveyors purvey.

Vice President John Heimlich: Yeah, you have to go through the Surveyor’s Office to do that.

Board Member David Diener: And I guess that’s part of the issue that there has never been a question of someone getting permits to change, whether, its sub or the ground itself.

Jon Thompson: So, I have a follow-up question. If the watershed hasn’t been changed what are we arguing about?

Board Member David Diener: Well, I don’t think that anyone is arguing, it’s just a question here. It was asked.

President Steve Burton: We’re kind of getting them confused, two items here. We’re in a hearing for the Conway and with the Conway watershed.

Jon Thompson: The Conway watershed is defined.

President Steve Burton: Defined in his legal books, under this Conway #525. Anybody else have some comments? As I’m going along here under advisement from the legal department.

Attorney George Loy: Anyone else?

President Steve Burton: If you want to, I’m going to continue or I’d like to continue this if the Board is on board with this so if you have a comment please make it now.

Jon Thompson: I just want to know what the objections to the petition are if it isn’t the watershed.

Attorney George Loy: You can see a copy.

President Steve Burton: They’re objecting that their cost does not benefit them, that’s what you’re…

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: Correct, it’s not any benefit to us and the cost is certainly too high for the lack of benefits that we are going to have to our farms.

Jon Thompson: But does it really matter what the cost is to their farm if their water runs off of their properties?

President Steve Burton: That’s what we’re trying to decide here.

Attorney George Loy: Well, yeah, and that’s a legal question. Uh, that depends upon the facts and many times at a hearing. The purpose of a hearing, first of all is to hear everyone’s views for or against and to literally get a lay of the land and to know some things that perhaps the Board didn’t know.

Vice President John Heimlich: There objection is also claiming that the report was not properly completed and filed.

Attorney George Loy: Yeah, there substan….

Vice President John Heimlich: (inaudible) so there are some other.

Attorney George Loy: That we’ll have to evaluate.

President Steve Burton: We have to evaluate that we’ve completed our tasks.

Chad Widmer: But, can you run subsurface drainage to another watershed? That is my question.

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: That’s irrelevant.

Board Member David Diener: Yeah,that’s…

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: at this hearing at this time.

Chad Widmer: Because it’s no benefit to you because you’ve taken it a different direction, that’s the issue. That I see right here. They’ve taken it another direction, they’ve taken it out of our watershed except their surface drain and that’s why it’s no benefit to them today.

Jon Thompson: If the subsurface would’ve gone the direction that the watershed intended it to it would be of great value to that property.

President Steve Burton: Um, first and foremost on our table right now is the hearing for the (inaudible) and then what you’ve brought up is kind of a secondary away from this.

Jon Thompson: No, it’s not what we’re trying to say is there would be great value to that property would the water go the direction its supposed to.

President Steve Burton: But see this Board doesn’t recognize that water going anywhere except for in the watershed.

Jon Thompson: That’s all we’re asking on your recommendation. As far as what values would be because the water is intended to go that direction.

Board Member David Diener: Do you have a time frame George to respond to the two remonstrances that have been filed? These were just filed on August 29th

Attorney George Loy: Right.

Board Member David Diener: We’ve just seen them today. So…

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: Uh, for the record they were filed within the correct statutory timeline as well.

President Steve Burton: Yeah, we’re not…

Board Member David Diener: No, no I’m just saying..

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: just putting that out there.

Attorney George Loy: Well, I…

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: Just putting that out there, that’s my position.

Attorney George Loy: I understand your position. I, I would schedule it for a maybe not the next meeting but…

Vice President John Heimlich: The next one would be September 16 and the next October 7.

Attorney George Loy: I would suggest that later date, unless that conflicts with something. Our Engineer is here from HWC if you want to engage him. You’re going to submit something to us, I guess? If you want…

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: Yes.

Board Member David Diener: We need, I think, to put some time constraint because if we’re going to try and make a decision on October 7th, we don’t want her giving us information October 6th

Attorney George Loy: Correct.

Board Member David Diener: To be somewhat fair, it appears you already have something based on this letter.

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: How about 15 days for us to submit additional evidence, if your talking about the October 7th meeting about 30 days out. 15 days prior to the hearing is our deadline.

Attorney George Loy: Yeah.

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: With the opportunity that once you provide your response that we could then respond back to that rebuttal as well.

Attorney George Loy: I don’t want to turn this into a federal case.

Vice President John Heimlich: The evidence that is going to be presented is not one that comes under the same statutory requirement that you send back a rebuttal to it?

Attorney George Loy: No, but I mean all…

Vice President John Heimlich: but we do need to have it.

Attorney George Loy: We have to, have to respond to this.

Vice President John Heimlich: Right.

Attorney George Loy: And thus far, this is all we have. So, if you want to…let me get my paper calendar. How about, can you submit what you’re going to by September 16, that’s two weeks from yesterday?

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: Could we do the 17th, two weeks from today? Cause that would give us two full weeks.

Attorney George Loy: Okay, and you’ll do that thru the Surveyor’s Office and Brad will disseminate and our Engineer will take a look and I really don’t see any reason for us to maybe confer until we see your report.

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: Okay.

Attorney George Loy: And then we’re going to do some…

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: We’re going to submit evidence to you by the 17th, we can confer and then you’ll respond to our objection?

Attorney George Loy: Yes.

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: Before the hearing?

Attorney George Loy: Correct, by the hearing…by or before.

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: Could we have it a little before the hearing so we can have it to come to the hearing? And have something to, to review it before we come to the hearing.

Vice President John Heimlich: I guess to speed things along why don’t, I guess I don’t understand why it’s going to take till the 17th to submit information that had this person been here today, she would’ve presented.

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: I don’t know what her schedule is like, if it’s really busy the next couple of weeks. I don’t want to have another constraint where we don’t have enough time.

Vice President John Heimlich: I mean we should…

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: I will get it to you as soon as I certainly can.

President Steve Burton: We don’t necessarily have to respond…

Board Member David Diener: No, we’re not going to go back and forth, this can go on forever.

(Inaudible discussion)

Attorney George Loy: Yeah, it’s going to take a while. I mean we’re going to respond to what you filed.

President Steve Burton: So have we agreed on a correspondence timeline?

Attorney George Loy: Well, first of all we’re going to do October 7, is that right? For the…

President Steve Burton: Yes.

Attorney George Loy: continue the hearing to. I’ll leave it of course, up to the Board the timeline for submitting further evidence.

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: I think the statute allows us to submit it up to the next hearing, um…but…

Vice President John Heimlich: I can understand what the statute allows, but my question again is that this person was prepared to deliver evidence today if she would’ve been here. All she’s got to do is provide that in writing.

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: I don’t know what her timeline is you know, I don’t know if she’s busy the next couple of days or if she’ll be out doing other things. I just want to make sure we’re not coming up on any time constraint to her and us as well.

President Steve Burton: And the fact that this has been out there for 29 days and we get a response…

Attorney George Loy: What I propose, that the next Drainage Board, what the 16th because we’re all going to be here. The Drainage Board…

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: Okay.

Attorney George Loy: 24 hours shouldn’t make any difference to you, it makes a lot of difference to us.

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: I believe that will be fine. So, by the 16th we’ll submit information and you will submit your report….

Attorney George Loy: By or before.

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: by or before the um…

Attorney George Loy: October 7 continued hearing.

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: And at the hearing we can also present evidence as well? We’re not precluded from submitting other evidence.

Attorney George Loy: No, and anyone else either here or not here can submit further evidence as well. For or against.

President Steve Burton: At the October…

Attorney George Loy: October 7, at 10:30.

President Steve Burton: Right.

Vice President John Heimlich: So then, do we need a motion?

Attorney George Loy: We’re going to close the hearing.

Vice President John Heimlich: I would move that we continue the todays hearing to October the 7th at 10:30.

Board Member David Diener: I second the motion.

President Steve Burton: We have a motion to continue, all in favor say aye.

President Steve Burton, Vice President John Heimlich, Board Member David Diener (simultaneously): Aye.

President Steve Burton: opposed…

(No response)

President Steve Burton: So moved.

Attorney George Loy: Everything we just recited it okay with your landowner’s right?

Attorney Cecelia Neihouser Harper: Correct.

RECONSTRUCTION HEARING

H.L. VICTOR & BORDNER TILE #595

Surveyor Brad Ward: Yes, Reconstruction Hearing on that.

President Steve Burton: So, we’re kind of going to go through the same thing here. Um, did you receive any…

Surveyor Brad Ward: No, I’ve not received any communications, we’ve not received any communications on this at all. For or against.

President Steve Burton: With that being said I’ll open the hearing.

Surveyor Brad Ward: Okay, just some figures here really quick, 17 landowners, we have a $725.00 an acre assessment is what we advertised. For a total cost of $212,902.78. Current maintenance is variable between $1.50 and $3.00 an acre. Just for the record, the Town of Brookston pays the assessment for the landowners and they have 35 acres benefitted. So, that’s probably the Northeast corner of Brookston, East side.

Attorney George Loy: And how much per parcel did you say?

Surveyor Brad Ward: I don’t know, I don’t know how they divvy that out. It’s paid for…

Attorney George Loy: By the town.

Surveyor Brad Ward: By the town.

President Steve Burton: Acres?

Surveyor Brad Ward: There are 294 acres in this watershed.

President Steve Burton: And that would equate to…? Per Acre?

Surveyor Brad Ward: $725.00 an acre.

President Steve Burton: Is what this project will cost?

Surveyor Brad Ward: Yeah.

President Steve Burton: (inaudible) I would invite anybody to speak either pro or against this project please step forward.

I would echo the sentiments of this lady here…I see no benefit for my farm at all from the assessment.

Vice President John Heimlich: Excuse me, could you give your name.

Oh, Hyla M. Clark and my brother, Howard Clark. Um, we have no problems a drain has been put in and that took care of standing water in my front yard. Everything is fine, I see no benefit from it whatsoever. That’s all I can say.

President Steve Burton: Thank you. Anybody else?

Again, Jon Thompson, this time I’m representing myself as a landowner and Prairie View Farms Incorporated as a landowner within this same watershed. We have property towards the tail, towards the bottom side of this watershed and that is where the underlying issue is. The water collects there and we pond up and drown out a very large area. Um, around the catch basin because we don’t have an adequate drain. It also is…

Surveyor Brad Ward: a 100 year old drain

Jon Thompson: A 100 year old drain. Every year it is broken down, it’s not a very good outlet. The reason we have a problem is we collect everybody else’s water on our farm.

President Steve Burton: Yes, Ma’am?

Uh, Charlotte Brown. My property has been assessed in the Town of Brookston, but I have also been sent a paper. So, what’s the rule on that one? Cause I’m in…

Vice President John Heimlich: Is all of your ground in, within…

Charlotte Brown: Yeah, it’s just a section. I’ve only got like 3 ½ acres and it’s a house and a garage and that’s it. And they incorporated us back in ’08.

Attorney George Loy: Probably as a courtesy.

Surveyor Brad Ward: Um, I have her in the assessment roll I have you for having two parcels a 1.035 and a 0.704, so I don’t know if half the parcel is in the town or if..

Charlotte Brown: It’s all in the town.

Surveyor Brad Ward: it all got incorporated and never got transferred to my office…

Charlotte Brown: Because we asked you when they did that if we were still under the drainage policy because we were paying back then and you told me we had to go and talk to them. So…

Attorney George Loy: Correct.

Charlotte Brown: But nothing was ever done after that.

Attorney George Loy: Well, are you paying anything out of pocket?

Charlotte Brown: Uh, there is nothing in my property taxes.

Attorney George Loy: Okay, so Brookston’s paying it. I guess.

Vice President John Heimlich: Well, or not…

Surveyor Brad Ward: It’s on the assessment roll.

Vice President John Heimlich: Do you have a list?

Surveyor Brad Ward: Yes.

Vice President John Heimlich: A list of the properties that Brookston is paying? Or is it just…

Surveyor Brad Ward: Just total parcel that I have, just two parcels on the assessment roll that would be getting a tax bill. And I can verify that or check into it.

Charlotte Brown: Because like I say, they did us and the elevator and the others.

Surveyor Brad Ward: Well, the elevator is still separate too, the elevator is still on the assessment roll. So, the Town never picked up that tab would be my guess.

Attorney George Loy: It surprises me that the town has paid anything, really…

Surveyor Brad Ward: Yeah, I know that the Town of Monticello doesn’t pick up any of the watershed assessments.

Attorney George Loy: Unless of course it’s property they own. But, if you’re not getting an assessment…

Charlotte Brown: So, I didn’t know whether or not when I got that what it was all about or…

Vice President John Heimlich: You haven’t been paying an assessment but you got a notice now?

Charlotte Brown: If it hasn’t….I don’t know I just pay my property taxes and don’t pay no attention to it.

Surveyor Brad Ward: Well and it’s…

Charlotte Brown: I did a long time ago.

Surveyor Brad Ward: Everything’s a payment, but it is $5.00, is your assessment

Charlotte Brown: We did before they put us in town. Cause it used to be part of the Curtis Farm.

Attorney George Loy: Well, it makes sense for a landowner to get a notice of this hearing even though maybe you’re not assessed anything. So that you’re in the loop.

Charlotte Brown: So, I was like okay… I’m lost now.

Attorney George Loy: Nothing has changed as far as she’s concerned.

Surveyor Brad Ward: Um, right now I have her on the assessment roll. I mean that’s all I can speak to for $750.00 and $500 some…

Charlotte Brown: Almost $1300

Attorney George Loy: You are proposing to assess her?

Surveyor Brad Ward: Yes.

Attorney George Loy: Okay, got it.

Charlotte Brown: So…

Attorney George Loy: So, that’s why you got a notice.

Charlotte Brown: So, I still have to pay that amount then?

President Steve Burton: That’s to be determined.

Vice President John Heimlich: That has to be determined, I don’t know, so, how much is the town assessed for this?

Surveyor Brad Ward: The town is assessed $25,375.

Vice President John Heimlich: I guess the question is with her is her property part of that.

Surveyor Brad Ward: It’s separate from what the town parcel is…

Attorney George Loy: The Town of Brookston is assessed how much?

Surveyor Brad Ward: $25,375.

Attorney George Loy: Do they own any of the property being assessed?

Surveyor Brad Ward: Not that I’m aware of, unless roads…then they would own the roads being assessed.

Charlotte Brown: Well see that would be the road in front of my house.

Surveyor Brad Ward: But like the trailer park, well the trailer court, I don’t want to call it a park, the northeast corner.

Charlotte Brown: The elevator.

Attorney George Loy: Okay

Vice President John Heimlich: Yeah, some towns do that, the town just pays

Attorney George Loy: Yeah.

President Steve Burton: So, are we just going to clarify what happened whether it got changed or didn’t get changed?

Attorney George Loy: To…whether…

Vice President John Heimlich: Whether her property was annexed.

Board Member David Diener: Whether she’s in the city or not in the city.

President Steve Burton: Or whether the city

Board Member David Diener: is paying hers or not.

President Steve Burton: Right. This needs clarification.

Surveyor Brad Ward: Well, if the elevator was annexed, and that I can’t speak, I don’t know but the elevator is still on the assessment roll here.

Attorney George Loy: The elevator pays theirs…

Charlotte Brown: Yeah, they was annexed along with us and what used to be United.

Attorney George Loy: United Feeds.

Charlotte Brown: All this corner was put into town.

Attorney George Loy: Right. Well, so your question is…

Charlotte Brown: If I’m liable for that money then, because…

Attorney George Loy: Well, that’s the question…So you have, you know

President Steve Burton: It can’t be answered today.

Surveyor Brad Ward: Yeah, I mean where I sit today I would say yes. Um, without doing any research.

Vice President John Heimlich: You’ll have to check with the Town.

Surveyor Brad Ward: Yeah.

President Steve Burton: So, we’ll have to get back with you. Yes, sir…

I’m Howard Clark, Hyla’s brother we got this notice and didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. We damaged $7000 bucks over 10 years and so we took it to Bob Little who supposedly contact you and you didn’t respond…

Attorney George Loy: I was at a conference all week last week, I didn’t respond to a lot of emails.

Howard Clark: So, I still don’t understand what the hell is going on. So it’s going to cost us $7,000? Am I getting $7,000 worth of benefits out of it? I don’t think so. I mean I can see we’re part of the watershed I understand that stuff, I’m an Engineer but um…you know it’s (inaudible, coughing) it doesn’t make sense I tried to find out information and I didn’t get it.

President Steve Burton: Okay.

Attorney George Loy: I couldn’t have provided you with any technical information at all.

Howard Clark: Well, if you could explain it to Bob Little maybe he could explain it to us but that didn’t happen. I’m not pointing fingers it’s just you know I still don’t understand what’s going on.

Surveyor Brad Ward: I guess generically I can speak to it is um, a lot of the tiles in the county are hitting that age in life where they’re just not adequately serving the needs of the landowners. Whether they be too small to handle the developments um, or just broken down enough. So these tiles get petitioned to get replaced and these are the costs that not just White County are seeing but around the state. It’s just to put these, er, adequately sized mains in to serve the need of farmers, municipalities and everyone else, the costs are just what they are, I mean. And, you know, $700 is a lot of money but that’s just kind of where the costs are at today and I don’t know, its sounds like a lot and it is a lot I don’t want to diminish that at all. The one we did 3 or 4 years ago was $650 an acre.

Board Member David Diener: And that’s the purpose of a hearing is to make a determination whether the property owners involved, cause they’re the ones who pay for this, no one else. Just the people in the watershed whether there is a determination this benefit is worth the cost and that’s the reason for the hearing and I think we all understand the way that drainage/ tile work that is done today is a lot different than it was done 40 or 50 or 100 years ago and so the farming community has found a way to discharge much more water, much faster uh, and some of these drains which were hardly adequate before are certainly inadequate at the time were talking about today. But, there still has to be a justification for these costs that creates a benefit to the entire watershed and not any one particular one parcel owner, that’s our determination.

President Steve Burton: When it rains whether this is farm ground or this is a housing addition or something else, the same amount of rain falls in that watershed. So the idea that if it wasn’t farming we wouldn’t need this tile that’s not the case. A housing addition needs adequate…

Board Member David Diener: Paved roads.

Vice President John Heimlich: Well, that’s the other issue…when you get some of these numbers there are areas that run off more water than other areas. For instance, you talked about the elevator. Through all that ground is impermeable surface so there probably running off more water than say acreage of farm ground. And we have some drains that are on variable rates that take into account whether is wooded ground or pavement or whatever, but most of the ground (inaudible) that assesses according to the amount of water that’s being run through the system.

Howard Clark: That would make sense to me. One of the things I’m concerned about because this land is between our land is 20 acres that we farm or the neighbor farms is on the other side of the watershed, the main part of the watershed and you know are we funding somebody that is going to subdivide the land across from us? Which I would be very unhappy about. And I don’t believe that we understand it well enough. Procedure or whatever.

President Steve Burton: I don’t know how to explain it any other way. Kyle?

Kyle Rule: Can you explain how the watersheds that are currently in place are what they are? I’m not sure…I mean is it from 1960’s land surveys? Taken by soil type? Or have they driven these? Measured the volume of water flowing? Cause we all know that ground isn’t flat if it’s all flat and there is a slope there then we would end up with all of it. But we’re talking about ground that has pockets and swales.

President Steve Burton: Do you have any idea going back to Indiana Code?

Surveyor Brad Ward: Indiana Code was about 1960, I believe does that sound right?

Kyle Rule: Is that something that should be considered?

Surveyor Brad Ward: Um, I guess the watersheds were probably delineated from topographical maps and field surveys, they go back a long ways on these watersheds.

Kyle Rule: Is it fair to say that the watershed may not actually, physically be the same as the 1960’s topographical maps that we’re going off of?

Attorney George Loy: It’s possible throughout the state.

Kyle Rule: That’s something that I think most land owners like to know when they’re having this large of expenses is proof that something that they’re being assessed on is actually the acreage that is draining surface-ly.

Attorney George Loy: And there is a mechanism under the code that permits landowners to submit that evidence to the Surveyor’s Office that if you think that your land isn’t in a watershed anymore but, water has to go somewhere, it’s in a different watershed instead, for you to submit that evidence to the Surveyor.

Kyle Rule: That gets into our debate about surface and sub-surface, as you know water pockets, water drains into the pockets and if you drain pockets surface water doesn’t flow the same that it does if those pockets weren’t there.

Attorney George Loy: Well, we’re talking about surface water, generally period.

Kyle Rule: Right, so then just proof of what you’re saying…

Attorney George Loy: And surface water drains, you know, on the surface of the table and also goes under for our purposes, that’s by in large all surface water.

Kyle Rule: There is a County Road how is it farm ground on this side and a watershed on that side, the water has to go up and over the road.

Attorney George Loy: We can have a private talk about that sometime.

Board Member David Diener: Well, there’s tile…

Vice President John Heimlich: There’s pipes under the road to level that.

Kyle Rule: And in functioning order.

President Steve Burton: We can’t, this Board can only operate on um, our legal documents which are watersheds. Uh, so we have to make our decision based on these facts that we have and this Board hasn’t had a reputation of deviating from Indiana Code.

Attorney George Loy: But again, if you, if any landowner has evidence there is a procedure under the code 36-9-27 to, that a landowner wants to uh, submit to the Surveyor, then to the Drainage Board that the watershed should be redefined then take advantage of that.

President Steve Burton: Yeah, we’re still in the Victor Bordner hearing…

Attorney George Loy: Yes.

President Steve Burton: Anybody else? Comment to the Victor-Bordner, pros or cons? This hearing is to hear the evidence

Vice President John Heimlich: (inaudible) the list of assements.

President Steve Burton: Hear the evidence, again you received no mail on this one? My sheet that I read off of George?

Attorney George Loy: The Board, it’s not appropriate for the Board to determine whether the costs and damages of the proposed reconstruction exceed the assessments or whether or not those costs are less the benefits accruing to the landowners. If that answer is yes, the project is duly approved.

President Steve Burton: Anything else to add? Anything from the Board? At this time at the explanation of our Attorney, I would entertain a motion.

Vice President John Heimlich: I would make a motion that the reconstruction project be approved.

Board Member David Diener: Second the motion.

Hyla Clark: What was that we couldn’t hear you…

Vice President John Heimlich: I moved that the Reconstruction Project be approved.

Hyla Clark: Our lawyer has never had a chance to talk you.

Attorney George Loy: I can’t provide him any more information than Bob already knows.

President Steve Burton: Again, like before its been available again, according to Indiana Code, we’ve notified we can’t do more than that.

Attorney George Loy: If they’re approving, the motion is to approve the project, uh, because the benefits to the landowners are, uh, that the costs, damages and expenses of the project of the Proposed Reconstruction do not exceed the benefits accruing to all the landowners. That’s what they’re considering.

President Steve Burton: There’s been a motion.

Board Member David Diener: Second.

President Steve Burton: and a second. All in favor say, Aye

Vice President John Heimlich, Board Member David Diener: Aye.

President Steve Burton: Opposed?

(no response)

President Steve Burton: So moved.

President Steve Burton: Um, we’ll just have to find out Charlotte, that’s something that we can’t answer right now. We’ll just have to get a hold of the Town of Brookston and see.

Surveyor Brad Ward: Yeah, and I’ll check with the Treasurer’s Office.

Attorney George Loy: Can…

President Steve Burton: We have no knowledge to make a decision right now so, we can do some background and find out.

Charlotte Brown: And they’ll just send me a letter?

Surveyor Brad Ward: If you leave your phone number next door or either in my office, I’ll give you a call. Might be easier than a letter.

DISCUSSION

Shannon Mattix discussion about F.M. Coonrod assessments.

There being no other business before the board, the meeting was adjourned.

 

 

____________________ _________________________ ___________________

Steve Burton, President John C. Heimlich, Vice President David Diener, Member

COMPLETE DIGITAL MINUTES ARE AVAILABLE TO BE HEARD IN THE SURVEYOR’S OFFICE