Get Adobe Flash player


October 17, 2005 Tape #020


The White County Drainage Board convened at 10:40 A.M., EST 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 the meeting were Harold Reiff, Howie Reiff, Dale Gudeman, Brian Huber, Terry Beasy, Bill Shaffer and Charlie Mellon.

Chairman Burton called the meeting to order and stated that Agenda items 2 and 3 have been reversed. There were no objections to the change.

Board Member Heimlich made a motion to approve the minutes from the October 3, 2005 Drainage Board meeting. Board Member Ferguson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Surveyor Sterrett stated he requested four quotes on the M. K. Reiff Drain maintenance project and received three. Attorney Loy opened and read the quotes as follows, “The quote from County Line Tiling/Excavating of Winamac appears to be $8,470.00 and that includes cleaning the ditch to the original flow line and also clearing brush. (@ 53 cents per foot for dredging only - $4,470.00) and for clearing brush ($4,000.00). The quote from Dennis Sparks, we have to do some math here. The dredging and leveling of spoil is 65 cents per foot and Item Two which is the dredging, leveling of spoil and brush clearing is $1.24 per foot.” Surveyor Sterrett stated, “I had them bid that two ways because there was some talk about the landowners taking the brush off.” Attorney Loy said, “Actually County Line Tile has 53 cents per foot on Item One. Howe Excavating Item One, which would be just the dredging, their cost per foot is 55 cents or $4,587.00 and Item Two appears to be 87 cents, coming to $7,255.80. County Line quotes, again, to clean ditch to original flow line 53 cents per foot, $4,470.00 and then Item Two appears to be to clear brush $4,000.00.”

Surveyor Sterrett said, “This was sort of a complicated ditch. When we first brought it up, I think it was in April, there was three thousand dollars in the maintenance fund and Mr. Reiff wanted the ditch cleaned and him and the landowners were willing to do the rest of it past three thousand.” Mr. Reiff said, “That was our talk at that time, but what I was wondering, how far south does the Reiff farm ditch go? It ends about Old Town doesn’t it?” Surveyor Sterrett said it ends right down at the County road south of town, Division Road. Mike Ezra thought about four hundred feet from Division Road. Surveyor Sterrett said we are just talking about north of Highway 24.

Howard Reiff said, “What I meant is where the old ditch is. You took funds out of the Reiff farm ditch but that was out of the area that the Reiff farm ditch covered.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “A little bit, yes, but it was silting up the ditch and wasn’t working right.” Harold Reiff asked how much funds are left in the Reiff Ditch. Surveyor Sterrett said around $1,920.00 is the current balance. Harold Reiff asked how much funds is there in that tile line that comes in there from the northeast? Surveyor Sterrett said he did not have that information with him. Mr. Reiff said, “That should pay for part of it, too.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “No, we discussed that.” Mr. Reiff said, “If you charge for the Reiff Ditch funds to clear outside their area…. because it caused the problems. That tile line coming in from the northeast is the one that brought the sand in, caused the problems in the Reiff farm ditch. Some of those funds should be used to help offset the cost of this contractor. You’ve got two similar situations. You go one way with one and one way with the other one. They should be treated similar.”

Surveyor Sterrett stated, “I ask the Commissioners for help on that. There’s a tile that Mr. Reiff is saying causes backup, and it is on its own maintenance, separate maintenance from the Reiff Ditch. And he’s wanting to use the funds out of that tile to pay for cleaning out the Reiff Ditch. He’s saying it is silting up the ditch.” Chairman Burton asked, “That normally doesn’t happen does it?” The answer was no. Surveyor Sterrett said, “Those people paying on the tile are actually paying on the ditch also. They are getting double-dipped.”

Charlie Mellon asked if the tile coming into the Reiff Ditch is broken down or caved in or something causing the dirt in the Reiff Ditch. Surveyor Sterrett said it was in the Spring. Harold Reiff said there is a sandbar that has built up just south of where that tile comes in from the northeast and caused the back-up and we haven’t had the drainage to it and that is partially the cause why the ditch is filled in is the sand and stuff coming in from an 18 inch tile and it goes clear into Cass County.

Surveyor Sterrett stated, “Well, I thought Mr. Reiff wanted to help out cleaning the ditch out, so that’s why we went ahead and got quotes on it. That’s what they said at the last meeting, I have the minutes.” Harold Reiff said, “We are willing to do that, but to us a partial fund should come from that other tile line because it was the cause, just like it was when they cleaned out and took the funds out of the Reiff farm ditch.” Bill Shaffer said, “And it wasn’t on the Burnettsville ditch where you worked in the Spring down there.” Surveyor Sterrett answered it was within a couple hundred feet of the end, you have to get the silt out of there. Attorney Loy asked Surveyor Sterrett if he was doing some work on the outlet. Surveyor Sterrett answered yes, down below where the legal description ends.

Chairman Burton asked what dollars are available now. Surveyor Sterrett said there is $1,920.00 in the Reiff Ditch maintenance fund and it brings in $1,000.00 a year. Chairman Burton wanted to know what funds become available from the tile. Surveyor Sterrett did not have that information with him. Attorney Loy stated we do not take funds from another maintenance fund to work on this one. Board Member Heimlich said, “Plus those people are already paying on this one (Reiff Ditch).”

Harold Reiff said, “I talked to the ones that are primarily benefited by it and they are willing to go along with the funding, the difference …inaudible… get it done right away and we know what probably ought to be done is increase the maintenance fund on that ditch because of higher prices are not keeping up with it. But what we were talking about, if we pulled funds out of the other tile, because it caused the problem, it would offset what we have to put up cash out of our own pockets right now.” Chairman Burton stated, “It has been established that, that is not proper.” Howie Reiff said, “Then the money that has been spent out of the Reiff maintenance, that’s been spent outside of the ditch legal boundary, is improper use of funds anyway.” Attorney Loy explained, “No, that is permitted for the outlet, to do work on the outlet.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “We can go down and work on the outlet to help the ditch upstream.”

Attorney Loy advised the Board, “You can’t award any quotes until you have all of this squared away.” Board Member Ferguson asked if the ditch is just this side of that trailer place over there, it crosses under the road there. Mr. Reiff answered yes; it is just east of CFS fertilizer plant.

Contractor Mike Ezra stated, “When you are digging that ditch, you want to be sure that you aren’t liable for that bridge because there are suck holes under the asphalt that big around. That thing is ready to come through.” Surveyor Sterrett said that isn’t caused by the ditch. Mr. Reiff said they are aware of that because they have been surveying that area and the plans are to replace that bridge. He said, “The bypass will come onto us and we want to get the ditch cleaned before they put the bypass in to simplify matters for us.”

Chairman Burton recapped that we have already established that common practice with this Board is not to use funds from the tile to work on the open ditch. And you have already given example as to why funds were used to work on the outlet, so that is an established legal precedence. Surveyor Sterrett said we talked about it at a Board meeting. Attorney Loy said, “Yes, that is one of the necessities that is permitted under law. And then, if there is going to be contribution from landowners, it has to be in writing with everyone knowing EXACTLY what is going to be done before you award the bid.”

Chairman Burton said that we clarified the issue today that we do not use maintenance funds from one drain to work on another drain. He said once we leave this meeting there is not going to be any further information that would change that. He said there is no use continuing that on.

Attorney Loy stated, “No matter what, take the quotes under advisement until you know exactly what you are going to do.” Surveyor Sterrett stated, “We haven’t collected on 2005, so there will be $2,900.00 in the M.K. Reiff maintenance fund at the end of the year and the lowest bid is………(The discussion on lowest bid is not correct – Howe’s total bid for dredging and brushing is $7,255.80). See tape for discussion about understanding the bids. Attorney Loy said you can ask the bidders to explain their bid but you cannot negotiate the price with them or change the dollar amount of the bid. Surveyor Sterrett explained that Item One is included in Item Two. Chairman Burton stated, “We are taking this under advisement.

Harold Reiff said, “We were discussing here, we said we would try to make up the difference between the bid and what funds were available, to get the work done. Approximately how much would that be from the landowners according to bids you have now? That will be one of the first questions I will be asked when I talk to them.” Surveyor Sterrett stated, “If we accept this, which I think, dredging and brushing $7,255.00 would be the lowest bid….” Chairman Burton said we are subtracting $2,900.00. Harold Reiff said then the landowners would have to come up with $4,300.00 approximately if we go ahead with it according to the bids there. Mr. Reiff asked how many acres are involved. Surveyor Sterrett said there are 1,634 acres involved in the watershed, 36 property owners and 59 parcels. He said you probably won’t get too many people down below that to chip in any money. Mr. Reiff asked if he knew how many acres each one would have. Surveyor Sterrett gave him an assessment roll.

Mr. Reiff asked, “If we agree to cover that cost could that contract go ahead now so we can get that work done?” Attorney Loy stated, “We need to prepare something for the landowners who are going to pay to commit themselves contractually. The short answer is yes, but there has to be some paperwork prepared, I guess you need to ask some other landowners, right?” Mr. Reiff said he has talked to most of the main ones right close by. He said you get into some of the small parcels it becomes more of an aggravation than what it is worth. Attorney Loy said it is up to them who they talk with about paying for it.

Chairman Burton said, “So it is possible that when we convene in three weeks that this could all be ironed out and we could have a go.” Contractor Ezra asked if that money has to be deposited. Attorney Loy said, “Not so long as you know it is going to be paid. What I am thinking about doing is, the Statute allows gifts to be made to the drain funds and these affected landowners would just pay that money in.” Chairman Burton said, “That’s the timetable we are working on now. Between now and the next meeting this all gets worked out and that’s presented and that’s agreeable and we’ll have this other situation clarified on exact dollars. You should know that prior to that meeting anyway.”

Charlie Mellon asked if the bids hold same as today, there would be no re-bidding? Attorney Loy said, “Right.” He said, “Get the list of the landowners that will be paying in, exact names from Denny’s list of landowners.” Chairman Burton said, “It wouldn’t have to be all of them, he could pay for it himself.” Attorney Loy said, “Yes, and then pass the hat among your neighbors.”

Attorney Loy opened one sealed quote received for the maintenance dredging and brushing of 10,310 lineal feet of the Fern McKillip Branch #1 Drain in Princeton Township, White County, Indiana. The only bid received was from County Line Tiling/Excavating (Mike Ezra) for $8,700.00. Surveyor Sterrett stated that $14,811.00 was his estimate. He said he asked for 4 quotes and just got one. Surveyor Sterrett said the bid was what he asked for and is way under his estimate. He said last year we raised the maintenance to $3.00 an acre for two years and then it drops back to $1.00 an acre; it brings in $10,000.00 a year so there is plenty of money in the maintenance fund for that.

Board Member Ferguson made a motion to accept the bid of $8,700.00 from County Line Tiling/Excavating for the maintenance dredging and brushing of the Fern McKillip Branch #1 Drain. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Surveyor Sterrett stated that Mr. Gudeman is here to hear Board Member Heimlich speak on the Monon Ditch. Maps were laid out on the table. Board Member Heimlich asked people to come forward (Dale Gudeman and Brian Huber). Board Member Heimlich stated, “As I explained to Mr. Huber, at the last Monon Ditch meeting the engineering company talked about three different places in White County where there were waterways cut into the bank. These would all be on the east side of the ditch. What the engineer was proposing was to put pipes in and level these off, both for the dredging now and for future maintenance. They wanted my approval and I told them I would want to talk to my landowners about it, because I had no idea how much water goes through there ……..inaudible conversations on tile locations. See Tape……….” Mr. Gudeman pointed out there is a major erosion at one site and he doesn’t see a lot of surface water and he doesn’t know how it happened, whether it was dug that way years ago or it was eroded, but it is not a lot of surface water. He pointed out one location that is not a problem. He said they put a brand new tile through that bank. Mr. Huber and Mr. Gudeman pointed out there is some surface water that comes in one site but it is not major. See Tape for conversations on locations of cuts, location of tiles, where to put pipe in, surface water, etc. Mikc Ezra asked how far down they were going to actually dig. Board Member Heimlich said they were going clear to the lake. They are going to put a silt trap in at the lake. Board Member Heimlich said the next meeting is November 15, 2005.

Surveyor Sterrett reported, “A couple of weeks ago a lady came in and was building a 38 foot by 120 foot tool shed, boat storage. I told her that she wouldn’t need anything from the Surveyor’s office because it was under 10,000 square feet. They are also rezoning the property. It went to Area Plan (meeting) and there were property owners there that didn’t want them to build this boat storage back in there.” Attorney Loy asked if it is on a ditch bank. The answer is no.

The landowners out there are concerned that they have to drive up through the trailer park to get to the boat storage. So they were going to make a requirement that they build another road from Road 2.8 back to the boat storage, which would increase the impervious surface to 10,000 square feet. So Area Plan recommended they go before the Drainage Board before any approval of rezoning. There are already two buildings and they can’t tell how many more they are going to build. So we are supposed to check it out because there are some drainage concerns.” Board Member Heimlich asked if he had checked it out. Surveyor Sterrett answered no, he told them they needed a drainage plan and he hasn’t been out there yet. Surveyor Sterrett said since they can’t say how many of them they plan to build; they have five acres they could build ten of them. Attorney Loy said, “You have that option to require it.”

Surveyor Sterrett reported that on the Rangeline Properties Transfer Station fees have exceeded the $2,000.00 drainage fee. Secretary Kiser sent them a letter and gave the Board and Attorney Loy a copy of it. Secretary Kiser said that Engineer Frauhiger said that they are aware that there may be additional fees over and above their $2,000.00 deposit.

Also it was discussed that Dave Jordan etal, owners of West Side Commercial Subdivision again will be reminded by certified letter of the fees they still owe on their project. They were last contacted in November 2003 and we have not heard anything from them about it since that time. B. J. Mursener attended a Drainage Board meeting and objected to the charges. Funds paid to CTE Engineers, Inc. for reviews, meetings, correspondence, and site inspections need to be reimbursed by the owners of the project. They owe $1,937.50 and it was paid out of Contractual Engineering. The fees included final inspection. Attorney Loy advised to send them the billing letter by certified mail and said if we get no response we will discuss our options.

Surveyor Sterrett stated that the Reconstruction Hearing on the F. G. Church Drain will be held next month.

Chairman Burton adjourned the meeting.