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July 18, 2005 Tape #014

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, O. D. Ferguson and John C. Heimlich, Attorney George W. Loy, Surveyor Dennis W. Sterrett and Secretary Romana Kiser in attendance.

Others attending were Charles Mellon, Don Pauken and Bill Pyle.

Chairman Burton asked for approval of the minutes with one spelling correction Secretary Kiser reported for Weaver-Boos. Board Member Heimlich moved to approve the July 5, 2005 minutes as corrected. Board Member Ferguson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Chairman Burton recognized Surveyor Sterrett on the next item on the agenda. Surveyor Sterrett reported, “That would be the Harp – Helfrick Drain. That is why Mike Ezra is here. I had a complaint from Walter Hough, the Liberty Township Trustee.” Board Member Ferguson asked if that was the ditch that comes down into the north side of Buffalo. Mike Ezra said it is behind Buffalo Discount.

Surveyor Sterrett continued, “Last year this is the way it looked, (photos displayed) this is the gravel pit and the river goes down here. Water was going straight through there, but I think it was higher than it is now. This is the Harp-Helfrick Ditch (identified in photo). NOW this is the way it looks (current photo displayed). There is a sandbar across there and the water has turned and is going towards right where he has his boat docked (Forsythe). I don’t know how it got turned there, but you can see the water is not very high because here is the side of the bank and here’s the side of the bank last year. You can see the water is way down to what it was last year. That gentleman (Mr. Forsythe) hasn’t complained, it is the Liberty Township Trustee.” Board Member Heimlich asked if he is complaining in his behalf. Surveyor Sterrett said, “I don’t know, he said it looks like heck. This is standing right here looking toward the pipes under Palmer Road and there is, I guess it is a log jam (Mike Ezra said he didn’t look on that side.) in these twin pipes. I was standing right here looking back to the north. The big pipes are under Palmer Drive.” Photos are discussed and location of cottage and pipes. (See tape)

Board Member Heimlich said this is the same location we have looked at before. Surveyor Sterrett said yes, but it has changed. Mike Ezra said, “He put a new seawall in. They took some dirt out and when they did they lowered the dirt there and that let the water come that way. So I really think he created this problem.” Board Member Heimlich asked if it is regulated down there. Surveyor Sterrett said it is regulated clear to the river. He said Forsythe is getting assessed and so are the other people down through there. Mike Ezra said he had dipped out that channel but he didn’t know it was regulated at the time he did it. Charles Mellon said that was before they took all of the silt out of there.

Board Member Heimlich asked what Mr. Hough wants. Surveyor Sterrett said, “He didn’t say. I called him to have him come to this meeting and Mike says he is in the hospital. I went up there and took the pictures. He wanted me to look at it (the site). He was worried about the brush, the log jam on the north side of the culvert.” Board Member Heimlich said that does look like it could be a problem. Surveyor Sterrett said there is a lot of sand up there and he didn’t know if that would come down stream if we cleaned that out.

Contractor Mike Ezra stated, “In my opinion, that dirt right there didn’t come from downstream. If you look, they’ve got retaining walls on both sides. I think all that water when we got that great big rain two years ago, that it kind of undermined the bank. And that’s his own water underneath of his property. Those pipes are not showing any signs of any major amount of dirt coming through. I think it is his own dirt, which it makes no difference where the dirt came from. I know that one guy from Illinois says all those farmers up there are letting their dirt come down and blocking him off. Well that’s not exactly the case. That dirt has a real challenge getting through all those limbs and trees, there’s almost a mile of that. That dirt isn’t going to silt through there.”

Chairman Burton had questions on what was the gravel pit and where is the regulated drain. Surveyor Sterrett showed an aerial. See Tape. Surveyor Sterrett said to him the top of the sandbar was the top of the ditch bank. It made its own bank back. He said this sandbar was not here a year ago. Mike Ezra said the way it is flowing now, the water is actually flowing OUT of the regulated drain. Surveyor Sterrett said the water has now turned whereas it used to go straight through.

Mike Ezra said their original complaint was dirt up there and fish were getting up on there and dying. Surveyor Sterrett said, “Last year we sent him, Mr. Forsythe, a letter telling him that the Drainage Board discussed the situation and told him there is no obstruction to the ditch and the cost to remediate the situation far exceeds the benefit.” More discussion on photos – see tape.

Surveyor Sterrett explained that Mr. Hough just talked about the brush, saying it doesn’t look good. Board Member Heimlich asked, “What is your assessment of this, is there possibility that stuff could get caught in that?” Surveyor Sterrett said yes, but it wouldn’t hurt Mr. Forsythe. Board Member Heimlich, “I just wonder if that brush should be removed or not.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “I say if we remove it there will be a bunch of sand come on down in there.” Charles Mellon agreed that silt is not getting through all that brush in there. Mike Ezra asked if he is just talking about all of that up against that culvert, not cleaning all of it. Board Member Heimlich agreed with that. Surveyor Sterrett said we can take it out. Mike Ezra said more than likely with a big rain it will clean itself out. Surveyor Sterrett said he thinks that was there last year, maybe not so much.

Chairman Burton asked if there was any intention by the Board to deal with the brush. Surveyor Sterrett asked if Contractor Ezra thought he could get in there to work. Mike Ezra said, “I thought you were talking about the dirt out there. I went out there to see what it would take to do that.” Chairman Burton said, “Let’s hold off on the brush issue. And you are actually here to bring the silt problem up?” Surveyor Sterrett answered, “Yes, it is different than last year.” Board Member Heimlich asked, “But Walt Hough never actually mentioned it?” Surveyor Sterrett said no, he didn’t.

Chairman Burton said if it is ok with the Board he would like to go out before the next meeting and look at this. The Board agreed.

Mike Ezra said, “When you go out there and look at that, take this thought with you. In the first place it is going to be very hard to do anything there without tearing up someone’s yard. What I was looking at, was going to the east and taking that dirt up and throwing it up against the bank, which is where some of it came from to start with, but take that dirt and throw it up against that bank and build that bank out and give the guy more yard. I think that could be done and be a lot cheaper. Because hauling that dirt out, you’d have to get it on trucks and find some way to get through yards. I don’t know if that is feasible with you guys.”

Surveyor Sterrett reported that a suck hole has developed at the north edge of a mobile home in the Viking Mobile Home Park in Monon on a regulated tile drain, the Watson Tile Branch of the Winkley Drain. He said that there are five or six mobile homes that are setting on top of our regulated tile drain. Board Member Heimlich said they are not a permanent structure. Attorney Loy advised to tell them to move it over. Surveyor Sterrett said that has been tried. He said, “Dave Scott, Town of Monon employee, called the owner, Sandra Dukes an attorney from Lafayette. We started this in 2003. I got a contractor to go look at it. Then Dave Scott took over and was going to have the mobile home moved and we were going to get it (tile) fixed. I thought it was getting fixed but it didn’t. So Dave called me back last month and I went up there. The hole has gotten a little bit bigger.” Board Member Heimlich asked if it is plugging the drain. Surveyor Sterrett said, “No, it has not got the drain plugged up. We think there is a six inch tile coming in to it that Ron Kyburz worked on and plugged, and disconnected it and ran it around the other side of the trailer. We think that during the heavy rain we had in 2003 that it blew the concrete plug out of the six inch tile and it is sucking through that six inch now. But, HE (Kyburz) won’t dig at it and I took Randy DeVault up there and Randy won’t dig there either because it is too close to the mobile home and, there’s gas line, water lines, electric lines.”

Attorney Loy said, “So people have placed their mobile homes on top of our regulated drain. Do they get assessed for the drain or does Monon?” Surveyor Sterrett said he thinks Monon pays the assessment. Attorney Loy asked how long those mobile homes have been there. Surveyor Sterrett thought since the early 1970’s. Board Member Heimlich asked what the trailer is setting on. Surveyor Sterrett said it is on blocks but he doesn’t know if the wheels are still on it or not. Board Member Heimlich thought it shouldn’t hurt the structure of the trailer to move it. He asked how deep the tile is. Surveyor Sterrett said probably five foot deep. Attorney Loy asked what problem it is causing for the drain. Surveyor Sterrett answered, “None that I can tell. That hole has been there since 2003. It has gotten a little bit bigger but not much.” Attorney Loy said, “It apparently is a functioning drain.” Surveyor Sterrett answered it is a functioning twenty-one inch tile drain. Board Member Heimlich said, “I guess what I was getting at is, if you thought you could work on it, it isn’t going to get much drier, the subsoil, than it is right now.” Surveyor Sterrett said he tried two contractors and they wouldn’t work on it because of the gas line; there is a gas meter right by it. Attorney Loy asked what needs to be done. Surveyor Sterrett answered, “The trailer moved off of it and the hole fixed. We think there is a six inch tile coming into it. We think the six inch tile is plugged.” Attorney Loy said he will give the landowner a call Surveyor Sterrett said he has a call into her and she hasn’t returned his call. Surveyor Sterrett said it is Trailer #418 and it is on the Watson Tile Branch of the Winkley Drain. Attorney Loy said, “And we want the trailer moved.” Surveyor Sterrett said yes, the contractor won’t work on it. Board Member Heimlich said it is not a permanent structure, it can be moved.

Surveyor Sterrett reported that Dan Alexander, the sprayer from Shideler Spray Service, called this morning and won’t be here until Monday to continue spraying. He said he is about half done.

Surveyor Sterrett reported that his office has been working on Section Corners, transfer splits, GIS watershed problems. There are three drains on the drawing board for maintenance projects. He asked Contractor Mike Ezra if it would be better to let them go until after crops are out to get quotes on them. Mike thought it would be best to wait until fall because if you have grass growing up you can’t get to it to see what you’re looking at to quote on it.

Chairman Burton reported that he was contacted about water standing in the Town of Wolcott. There is water standing at the end of town where a dredging project stopped down by the treatment plant. Mike Ezra said he did that and he knew at the time it needed to go farther but we did help it. That is all they wanted done at the time. That was where the cornstalks had washed into the man’s yard. Chairman Burton said, “Right there where you quit, they feel that is low and the water is not getting away. That makes sense. I will check that out. I think it is just a matter of trying to work with them.” Surveyor Sterrett said there is money in the fund, but where do you stop? Chairman Burton said that’s why he wants to go look at it and talk to them. He said there’s no need to dig it out and the same thing happen over again. Mike Ezra suggested taking some shots so you knew how far you had to go to get the water out.

Chairman Burton reported, “I met with Dan Alexander on his input on spraying and my concern that on a 3 year cycle we had a lot of growth getting through. That might be something I’d like for him to come in later when he’s through or slow and look at the possibility of getting better control. With some ditches it is not an issue but the more I am out there, the tree growth is gaining in the third year cycle.”

Chairman Burton asked if an individual who has ground on the ditch chooses to spray his ditch on off years on his own without reimbursement, would that be ok. Board Member Heimlich said he didn’t see a problem. The Surveyor agreed.

Chairman Burton adjourned the meeting.