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September 6, 2005 Tape #017

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.

Landowners in attendance for the Reconstruction Hearing on the relocation of the Royer Tile Branch of the Amelia Suits Drain were Wayne Schroeder, Marlin and Mary K. Hunt, Donald Godlove (did not sign the register) and Paul Couts for C & S Engineering.

Others attending the meeting were Mike Ezra, Don Pauken, William S. Gatewood and Charles Mellon.

Chairman Burton opened the meeting and asked for the approval of the minutes. Board Member Ferguson moved to approve the minutes of the August 15, 2005 meeting. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Surveyor Sterrett opened the Hearing on the Reconstruction of the Samuel Royer Tile Branch of the Amelia Suits Drain in Jackson Township. Surveyor Sterrett recognized Engineer Paul Couts of C & S Engineering (representing Bixler Hog Operation project who was responsible for the costs of the Hearing). Engineer Couts submitted two proof of publishing documents and an affidavit of notices sent to landowners advertising the Hearing.

Engineer Couts displayed a drawing and explained, “What I have done is I have given you a copy of a small portion just where the actual work is going to go on. I xeroxed a part of the overall plan. I know you are familiar with it, this is like the third month in a row you have talked about it. So I don’t necessarily want to go into a lot of details. What we are here for today on behalf of Mr. Bixler, is to obtain approval for Phase II (Bixler Hog Facility). I have Phase II highlighted. It will basically consist of three things. We want to build building number two and if you will notice I have highlighted building number two and then going kind of in a northwesterly-southeasterly direction there are a pair of double-dash lines that indicates where the approximate location of where the existing tile is right now, the Royer Branch. Obviously, we would like to build the building where that tile is right now, so that’s why we are here asking for approval for reconstruction. The other part of the approval is that we intend to construct a levee around the southern and western side of the building and tie it back in which would give us the required storage. And we would put a six inch connecting pipe to the new tile which would provide the outlet for the detention storage around the southern end. We previously turned in all the calculations for the total project. Then the third part involves what I highlighted in the pink or red, which is the actual reconstruction of the line itself. According to the record that Denny gave us, what they could find, the pipe supposedly is an eight inch pipe, and because we are going a little bit further with it, if you scale the distance we are about a hundred feet further than what it is now, 512 versus what was 412. We are going to upsize that pipe one pipe size and so we are proposing to put a ten inch pipe in place there so we will have the same capacity, really a little bit more than what is there now so it will carry the same amount of water. I think the only thing there was a comment to, I put a note on there that if it were more than an eight inch tile, we’re still going to upsize it based on actual field verification of what size that tile is. I think that is in a nutshell what we are talking about here. I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.”

Chairman Burton asked if the tile is currently an eight inch tile. Surveyor Sterrett said the records indicate it is an eight inch tile. Wayne Schroeder stated that it is an eight inch tile there going into Hunt’s and somewhere south of the buildings it turns into six inch tile. He didn’t think there would really be any need to go to ten inch tile when your outlet is only eight inches. Board Member Heimlich also wondered why we would go with ten inch tile. Engineer Couts explained, “It has to do with capacity. The engineering situation in terms of hydraulics, by going the existing 412 feet it is running at, and these are very flat grades, .11 percent and so when you go the longer distance you only have .09 percent. So just hydraulically it’s not much but just a little bit different as far as grade so you’re a little flatter. So if you are going to carry as much as what you carried before you need to bump it up a pipe size. Our feeling was hydraulically we ought to be carrying at least what we carried before.” Board Member Heimlich agreed.

Chairman Burton asked for public comment. Wayne Schroeder asked if it had been changed to run the tile around the south side of the barn. Engineer Couts answered yes. Conversation between Schroeder and Couts inaudible.

Surveyor Sterrett stated that Phase 1 of Bixler Hog Facility was approved last month and we’re here to approve Phase 2 also and the reconstruction of the tile. He said that Engineer Frauhiger said it was alright. Board Member Heimlich stated right now we are having the Hearing for the reconstruction of the tile. Chairman Burton said we will come back for the Phase 2 approval. Attorney Loy asked if any objections or remonstrances have been filed with the Surveyor. Surveyor Sterrett and Secretary Kiser answered there have not been any.

Donald Godlove asked, “Does this affect the change in the maintenance we are charged on the ditch?” The answer was no, the total cost of the project will be borne by Mr. Bixler. Surveyor Sterrett stated that it is on maintenance with the Amelia Suits Drain. Attorney Loy stated the future maintenance assessments will remain the same.

Chairman Burton read the Adoption of Reconstruction Project I.C. 36-9-27-52
There being no further evidence to be submitted in these proceedings, the chairman would now consider a motion to determine that the costs, damages, and expenses of the proposed reconstruction will be less than the benefits accruing to the owners of the lands benefited by the reconstruction.” Board Member Heimlich so moved. Board Member Ferguson seconded the motion. “Upon a motion duly made and seconded, and after having considered all of the evidence and any objections concerning the proposed reconstruction, those members of the White County Drainage Board in favor of the motion that the costs, damages and expenses of the proposed reconstruction will be less than the benefits accruing to the owners of the land benefited by the reconstruction please answer by saying “aye.” Those opposed ‘’nay.” Vote taken. “The motion passes by a vote of 3 in favor and 0 opposed. The White County Drainage Board therefore adopts the reconstruction report of the White County Surveyor and the Schedule of Assessments, including any annual assessments for periodic maintenance. The White County Drainage Board now issues its written Findings and Order declaring the proposed reconstruction of the Samuel Royer Tile Branch of the Amelia Suits Drain established.”

Surveyor Sterrett stated, “Phase 2 of the (drainage) plan is ready to be approved according to Todd (Engineer Frauhiger). (Displaying drawing) This was Phase 1 and this is Phase 2 and the reconstruction of the tile.” Chairman Burton said, “And the retention area is meeting the requirements?” Surveyor Sterrett answered, “Right. We approved this so they could go ahead and get started.”

Board Member Heimlich made a motion to approve Phase 2 drainage plan for the Ray Bixler Hog Facility project. Board Member Ferguson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Concerning the silt sandbar in the Harp-Helfrick Drain north of Buffalo, Surveyor Sterrett reported, “Yesterday Mike Ezra and I went up and talked to Mr. Looney at the Buffalo sandbar and I guess Mike thinks he can get in there and do it with the shed there. Mr. Looney didn’t have any problems with us putting the dirt up on his bank. I guess I am looking for the next step.”

Contractor Mike Ezra stated, “I’d like to make a comment. I’m still concerned about the guy that has his house built on the right-of-way (identified as Mr. Forsythe). When the comment is made that if the dirt comes away from my house are you going to buy me a new house? I don’t like messing with that comment.” Attorney Loy stated, “That was going to be my next question, if you had any concern and all about the integrity of his foundation and if so, that’s a problem.” Mike Ezra stated, “I have very much concern. I don’t feel good about it, not to do the job right. We can get the island out but to do the job right, with him not having a wall there.” Board Member Heimlich said, “The problem is, even if you did nothing that wall could erode away and that house fall in. It could do it anyway.” Mike Ezra said, “His attitude toward that bugged me too much. If you just want the sandbar out, that guy we talked to yesterday (identified as Mr. Looney) he made the comment it means nothing to him. He said that the first big huge rain we get it will wash it right out. He said it has happened many times before.” Attorney Loy asked, “It is going to wash the obstruction out?” Mike Ezra said, “Wash that sandbar. He said that sandbar has been there before and it gets washed out. He said it’s no big deal. The guy that is real concerned about this is the guy that doesn’t want to do anything about it.” Chairman Burton said, “It affects him the most.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “And some of the others. The Township Trustee has been calling me.”

Mike Ezra asked if there was anyway that could be taken off of that ditch instead of the farmers upstream having to pay for all that. Board Member Heimlich said you would have to go through the legal process of abandoning it. Mike Ezra said you are talking about a farm ditch going into a residential area. He doesn’t agree with that guy that the silt build-up is coming from the upper end. He said, “There is a mile of brush laying down in that ditch now and that sand don’t get through that brush. Job after job we do digging ditches, if there is a tree down in the ditch, the dirt is all backed up behind it. That pretty well makes it obvious that if there is going to be a build-up it will be on the back side of all that brush.”

Surveyor Sterrett stated, “It is built up back at the end of the culverts at the brush there. Another reason I brought this to the Board, it is in a flood hazard area so we are going to have to get DNR permission to do anything.”

Attorney Loy stated, “I honestly don’t know what you could do, we discussed with Mr. Forsythe the last meeting that before we did anything we would have to have a waiver.” Board Member Ferguson said, “He said he would build a wall himself, didn’t he?” Board Member Heimlich said, “Well, he SAID he would.” Mike Ezra said, “When we met there it was obvious, he said I’m not doing nothing, that’s your responsibility.” Chairman Burton said, “Even when he said he would build the wall, he said he would not sign…..” Attorney Loy said, “Yes, and it would be difficult to draft anything, for starters, to totally insulate the County from responsibility….inaudible…..” Board Member Heimlich said, “No, when he’s kind of put you on notice to start with. Mike could stay thirty feet away from the house and still if anything happens to it, he’s going to say you undermined my…..” Attorney Loy said, “It’s your fault.” Mike said, “He’s going to come back to you and if…inaudible….he’ll come back to me. And that’s why I’m truly not in favor of it.”

Attorney Loy stated, “It is ultimately his problem having bought a house that is situated right on the right-of-way.” Mike Ezra asked, “Did he not actually take that on as a responsibility when he bought it?” Attorney Loy explained, “It’s like anything else, you buy a house that, you didn’t look at your title. There’s a roadway easement going right through your living room, it’s your problem. It’s the same thing, or you bought a piece of property that was a hazardous landfill.”

Charles Mellon stated, “That big sandbar was there when he bought that house in 1995 because it was hauled out in 1998. It was built right over to the edge then.”

Chairman Burton stated, “I agree with Mike. I am uncomfortable moving forward with the project at this point and time until a lot has been clarified from the County side of it. I’m not against the project. I just want to make that clear that I am not trying to nix it but I would like from the Board’s side, to be a little sure of where we are before we proceed.” Board Member Heimlich said, “I think we have to have the legal issues cleared.”

Attorney Loy asked, “What problem is it causing from a drainage stand point for the drain?” Board Member Heimlich and Chairman Burton answered, “None.” Attorney Loy said, “So as far as you guys are concerned it is even less a problem actually. (Board members answered “Right”.) He has an access issue for his boat, recreational purposes, right?” Mike Ezra added, “A big issue was fish were dying and they smell, that’s what started it.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “That and mosquitos.” Board Member Heimlich said, “Part of the problem is lack of rain this summer.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “It seems like every time the river gets low the problem comes up, and the river IS low.”

Attorney Loy stated, “If it is not a drainage impediment then your need to do something is minimal.” Board Member Heimlich said, “We don’t really have anything to table or deny. They came in to talk about it and we talked about it, but until legal issues regarding that house are clarified I don’t see how we can move forward.” Attorney Loy asked if the house was built in the 90’s. Board Member Heimlich said he thinks it was added on to, there was a small cottage or something there and then it was added onto in the early 90’s. Surveyor Sterrett stated, “I’ve looked, I went to Area Plan and they couldn’t find any issue of building permits.” Charlie Mellon said it was built on a long time ago, probably ten or fifteen years ago in the 80’s, it was there when he bought it in 1995.

Chairman Burton stated, “If there is nothing further I will go with the recommendation that until something is cleared up with the County’s legal issue with how we would affect the house, that we would not act on anything at this point and time.”

Surveyor Sterrett reported letters addressed to the Drainage Board from DNR concerning a seawall north of there on the river. It is a Certificate of Approval for construction in a floodway and all it concerns is a seawall on two lots where the river bends and goes north. They are not asking for our approval, just sending information.

Surveyor Sterrett reported that we have received the prepared Easement for the detention pond for Tribbett Subdivision.

Surveyor Sterrett reported, “On the Wolcott Unroe Drain Engineer Frauhiger got ahold of the State Highway on the reconstruction of the tile that goes under Highway 24, because they are going to resurface Highway 24, and we are going to meet them next week. We are going to meet with INDOT. He talked like they were going to pay for whatever is in their right-of-way.”

Chairman Burton asked if our spraying is complete. Surveyor Sterrett said yes.

Board Member Heimlich reported that the Monon Ditch Joint Board meeting was cancelled last month and there should be one September 15, 2005. He also reported that he had heard nothing on the Indian Creek project since last reporting.

Chairman Burton will be the fifth member on the Joint Board with Benton County and Jasper Co. on a tile that does not come into White County.

Chairman Burton adjourned the meeting.