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November 21, 2005 Tape #022

The White County Drainage Board convened at 11:15 A.M., EST in the Commissioners’ Room of the White County Building in 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 attending the F. G. Church Ditch Reconstruction Hearing were Herbert D. Whiteman, Steven R. Rosentreter and Bill Criswell. Others attending were Dan Hunt, Steve Brooke and Charles Mellon.

Board Member Ferguson made a motion to approve the minutes of the November 7, 2005 meeting. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

First on the agenda was the Reconstruction Hearing on the F. G. Church Drain. Surveyor Sterrett stated, “In the matter of the reconstruction of the F. G. Church Drain, this drain was petitioned December 30, 1998. There are 1,858 acres draining into it, 39 landowners, 59 total parcels and 5 minimum parcels. It is on a maintenance program right now at a dollar and a half an acre. The project will be cleaning and dipping from where it dumps into the Carter-Hines Drain, this ditch lays north of CR 400 North, and continues east across CR 800 E , 900 E and 1000 E and where the project ends is at a headwall and a tile outlet 22,000 feet later. So you have four miles of ditch. There was approximately 9,545 feet of dredging and brushing and 12,600 feet of dredging only. So, there’s 9,545 feet of brush. Some of it is pretty heavy at the start and at the end. My estimate was $44,161.00 for dredging and leveling, and $21,900.00 for clearing, and $6,606.00 for miscellaneous outlet repair. That came to $72,667.00 and divided by the acreage that comes up to $39.05 an acre. We set the minimum at $50.00. There are five minimum parcels. The minimum, like one acre tracts are $50.00. Like, 1.3 acres and anything above that would be $39.05 an acre.”

Bill Criswell asked if the brushing was going to be assessed toward the ditch or did the landowner have to pay. Surveyor Sterrett said that is part of this estimate. He said his estimate is probably high. Chairman Burton said, “Obviously, to be here today, the landowners have been notified of this hearing. And we have landowners in the room currently, correct?” The answer to both was yes. Chairman Burton opened the floor to comments.

Bill Criswell stated, “I don’t have a problem with it. I’ve got a crossing for where I live and one field crossing and the culvert is too narrow. I’m wondering how that is handled. Is this ditch going to be dredged down the middle? All to one side? That involves my crossing to my house. And the field crossing, the culvert is too narrow, how is that handled?” Surveyor Sterrett answered, “Private crossings are PRIVATE crossings. I guess it is up to the Board to decide. I was not changing the crossings in these plans.” Attorney Loy agreed it is up to the Board to decide. Bill Criswell asked, “If I have a longer pipe there, would it be installed? Basically the pipe that’s in there is too short, it has to come out to be safe.” Chairman Burton stated it could be put in but the property owner would pay.

Surveyor Sterrett stated, “I believe the last reconstruction we did, the J. P Carr Drain, which is not done yet, the pipe was paid for by the property owner and it was installed with the project.” Attorney Loy stated, “Yes, it is a judgment call on the Commissioners’ part whether or not the project necessitated the removal or the replacement of the pipe.

Bill Criswell said, “My next question would be, which would involve Steve Brooke (Supt. White County Highways), at my crossing going into my house, which, I have semis, the crossing is wide enough, we cross it all the time, but right at the edge of my crossing there is an under-road crossing, a sewer, can that be moved? Because the road is not wide enough and right in the middle of my driveway, across the road is a light pole and telephone box. You cannot swing out, we DO it, but sooner or later there is going to be somebody in the ditch…..inaudible……Can that pipe be extended or angled? I’ve built up, pushed up and it’s still too short. If it is extended it will have to be supported.” Steve Brooke said it is a surface pipe. Conversations inaudible – see tape. Steve Brooke said, ‘I’ll look at it. I don’t see any reason why it can’t be moved.”

Bill Criswell said, “The other thing, if you are not going to dredge this ditch in the middle, will my crossing have to be moved…..inaudible…..see tape.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “It will be bottomed in the middle, yes.”

Bill Criswell asked, “Are you going to put a new sewer in the header, where it starts?” Surveyor Sterrett asked if it is rusted out. Bill Criswell replied, “It’s still round, I don’t know what it looks like behind the header. There’s a cement pad where it comes into the ditch…..(inaudible conversation on who and when it was put in)….maybe in the 50’s. Were you going to……?” Surveyor Sterrett answered, “We can do that. I wasn’t planning on it but I’ll take a closer look at it.”

Surveyor Sterrett said, “I guess if you want a longer private crossing, that’s six foot corrugated metal, I have it 72 inch, I ask the Board, is that his item to do? He has a private crossing, six foot corrugated pipe and it’s not long enough to get the slopes down to the end of it.” Attorney Loy said it is up to the Board. Surveyor Sterrett said, “Usually when the contractor is there it doesn’t take him an hour to dig it. Chairman Burton said the owner assumes property of the old culvert.

Herb Whiteman commented, “On Miller’s crossing that goes north from Bill’s, Is that sewer sufficient?” Surveyor Sterrett answered, “It’s a thirty-six inch and Mr. Criswell’s is forty-two, so it is six inches smaller than that and it is upstream. I think it is, yes.” Herb Whiteman said there was always more water up north of that and that’s what made him wonder. Bill Criswell says the ditch seems deeper on north. Surveyor Sterrett said, “You’ve got a private ditch coming in there.” Mr. Whiteman said, “I’ve got 120 acres that goes that way, and if that stub ditch is not cleaned it’s not going to do me much good. We’re laying on the bottom now.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “The only thing we can do on that private ditch is go upstream 100 feet.” Herb Whiteman said, “Yeah I know that. Can we get the contractor to do that when he is out there?” Surveyor Sterrett said, “Sure, if you talk to him.” Herb Whiteman said, “Because all I’m doing is getting rid of surface water. I’m losing about thirteen acres of low ground that he (tenant) can’t even touch, can’t even get close to it. Were you going to clean both sides, the brush?” Surveyor Sterrett answered, “DNR requires one side and off the slope on the other side, but there’s just a couple of trees on the other.” Herb Whiteman said Miller’s has got everything on theirs.

Bill Criswell and Steve Brooke discussed the feasibility of putting the dirt on the other side of the road for safety sake. See Tape. Steve said you could, but don’t know if the contractor will do it. Leta Tam owns that. Steve said you’d have to get permission from the property owner. Surveyor Sterrett said to see what the contractor says.

Steve Rosentreter said there is $1.50 an acre maintenance now and does it drop off when the project is done? Surveyor Sterrett said no, it remains $1.50 an acre. There is no new maintenance established, we just keep the old one. Bill Criswell asked if we have any maintenance money to offset this, is there any we could put toward that project? Surveyor Sterrett said, “I don’t think so, there is not that much.”

Chairman Burton stated, “If there is nothing else, I would entertain a motion to amend the F. G. Church Drain reconstruction project to include that Mr. Criswell will be purchasing such culvert and the County agreed to install it at the time of the cleaning.” Board Member Heimlich so moved. Board Member Ferguson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Chairman Burton stated, “And with that amendment included in this, I will read the Adoption of Reconstruction Project IC 36-9-27-52. “There being no further evidence to be submitted in these proceedings, the Chairman will consider a motion to determine that the costs, damages and expenses of the proposed reconstruction will be less than the benefits occurring to the owners of the lands benefited by the reconstruction. (Board Member Ferguson so moved. Board Member Heimlich seconded.) On a motion duly made and seconded and after having considered all the evidence and any objections concerning the proposed reconstruction, the 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 occurring to the owners of the lands benefited by the reconstruction please answer the same. 3 YES and 0 NO. Motion passed in favor of by a vote of 3 to 0. 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 F. G. Church Drain established. Hearing adjourned.”

Board Member Heimlich reported that he attended a Monon Ditch (Big Monon) Hearing at West Central High School last Tuesday. He said approximately 600 interested citizens came and gave input. The hearing was continued to December 7, 2005. Board Member Heimlich said, “I had a stack of written objections and a lot of them from North Judson and Starke County, probably ¾ of those that spoke were from North Judson and Medaryville area. Some of the arguments were complaining that it was flat rate instead of variable rate, which I think I had indicated that I had argued all along for variable rate. I think there will be more discussion about going back to variable rate because I think most of the work for variable rate has been done. There were some complaints about the minimums. Complaints from North Judson people that their land no longer drains that way since that new sewer has been put in. So I think those issues will have to be addressed. Probably the consensus of the speakers was just do the brushing, no digging on that and that’ll make a difference. I’m not qualified to make that judgment; I’d have to have an engineer tell me that doing just the brushing is going to give me the most benefit. I don’t know if it will or not.” Board Member Ferguson asked, “Is there any tile covered up?” Board Member Heimlich answered, “I don’t think the problem is really that tile is covered up. The area east of Francesville is flooding every two inch rain because there’s not enough………..inaudible.”

Attorney Loy asked who the attorney for the project is. Board Member Heimlich said, “It is Dan Tankersley. There was also a formal objection made that two of the Board members were illegal. The Pulaski County Member, who has been on the last three years, was not re-elected Commissioner but their Commissioners re-appointed him to stay on. According to the objector the State doesn’t allow for that. Also the fifth member retired and did not run for re-election. He also stayed on as well. They are arguing that those two are not legal since they are no longer officials. What is your opinion? I thought that locally the commissioners didn’t have to be the Drainage Board. You could appoint the Drainage Board.” Attorney Loy answered, “As I recall, the Statute requires the Drainage Board to be composed of members by Ordinance, one way or the other, either all commissioners or they’re not.”

Board Member Heimlich stated the continued Hearing is December 7, 2005. He said, “Denny and I have a meeting over at Cass County that day at 4:00 on Indian Creek and at West Central at 7:00.”

Board Member Heimlich stated, “I got a call over the weekend from a guy who indicated he was a developer, developing seven lots along the Monon Ditch, just south of Highway 16, the bridge there at 16. He didn’t call?” Secretary Kiser said, “I don’t think we heard from him. Before when someone wanted to build on the Monon Ditch we referred them to Pulaski County.” Board Member Heimlich said, “That is what I did. He had been in contact with them and they referred him to me. I told him anything that is done there is going to have to go through joint board. What he was talking about was cutting the bank, leveling the bank off where it is spoil on the east side and putting a seawall in. I told him I didn’t see that happening. The one thing he talked about was clearing brush, which would make it cheaper for us. I said if you want to get on the agenda, our Board here can’t give you permission for anything.”

Chairman Burton adjourned the meeting.