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December 5, 2005 Tape #023

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 Heimlich, Attorney George W. Loy, Surveyor Dennis W. Sterrett and Secretary Romana Kiser in attendance.

Others attending were Lynnora Blissett, Ray Hardesty, Bruce Clear, Charles Mellon, Gordon Denton, Bill Pyle and Mr. Pauken.

Chairman Burton called the meeting to order and asked for approval of the November 21, 2005 meeting minutes. Board Member Ferguson so moved to approve the minutes and Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

Chairman Burton asked Surveyor Sterrett to address the next item on the agenda, The Hearing on the petition by Gordon Denton to remove obstruction on the Ida Lahr Drain Waterway in Big Creek Township.

Surveyor Sterrett stated, “This petition for removal of obstruction in a natural surface watercourse was filed by Gordon Denton October 21, 2005. At the November 7th meeting it was accepted by the (Drainage) Board. We had a landowners’ meeting on November 7th. Gordon was here and Doug Lekamp, the farm manager for Northern Trust who owns the ground the obstruction was on. This is on County Road 650 South about a half a mile east of County Road 300 East. After the meeting on November 9th, Doug Lekamp called me and said that they were going ahead and put the waterway in. I said that would be fine. We sent letters for the Hearing, which is today; we mailed those on November 9th to Northern Trust, Gordon Denton and Doug Lekamp. On November 28th Gordon Denton called me and said that the job was done. I told Gordon that he probably should come to the meeting and get it in the record that he was here. So Gordon can get up and talk and here’s some pictures of what it looks like now.”

Attorney Loy said, “We are now conducting the public Hearing on the petition, for the record. Nobody from the Northern Trust is here?” The answer was no. Chairman Burton said, “But the work was done satisfactorily?” Gordon Denton answered, “Yes, to my satisfaction.” Attorney Loy asked, “Is that something that will stay there for a while without much maintenance, or will it need maintenance?” Gordon Denton stated, “It really should be seeded, but it’s too late to seed it now. It depends on how it is farmed.” Board Member Heimlich asked, “How far out did they dig?” Gordon Denton answered, “A long ways, gradual.”

Surveyor Sterrett stated, “Actually NRCS had done a plan on it, right? I don’t think they followed that plan. (Gordon Denton said no.) They took the soil clear down to the culvert.” Chairman Burton asked who actually did the work. Gordon Denton said Milt Crowell. Chairman Burton asked if we need to do anything else at this point, since the work is satisfactory.

Attorney Loy answered, “There’s two alternatives, one is Gordon can show it withdrawn. My suggestion is that you conclude the matter by entering the standard findings that there was an obstruction, that it should be removed and you can conclude that it has been removed and find in his (Gordon Denton’s) favor so that we don’t have to go through this again with the same situation.

Board Member Heimlich asked, “And, you have inspected it, Denny?” Surveyor Sterrett answered, “Yes, the obstruction is definitely removed.” Board Member Heimlich stated, “We need a motion that we find in favor of the petitioner, that there was an obstruction.” Attorney Loy added, “Correct, and that the removal of the obstruction will promote better drainage and will not cause unreasonable damage to the other lands.” Board Member Heimlich stated, “I make that motion.” Board Member Ferguson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Attorney Loy stated, “I will draw up the Order you just approved and copies will be sent to Gordon Denton and The Northern Trust. They need to get notice of it.”

Chairman Burton called a short recess until time for the landowners’ meeting on the H. Stewart Drain at 10:45 A.M. Chairman Burton called the Henry Stewart Tile Drain landowners’ meeting to order.

Surveyor Sterrett had opening review, “The first of November Mrs. (Lynnora) Blissett called me and said that the water at the outlet of the Henry Stewart Tile Drain was clear over the tile and getting in her yard. So I went down and looked at it and we talked about it at the last meeting. The tile is regulated up to the end of the tile then there’s an open ditch that runs through her property and the Jewell, Little and McKnight properties and on farther. The open ditch is not regulated, that’s the problem so that’s why we are having a landowners’ meeting. This is south of Brookston, north of the Standard Oil Plant. The regulated tile goes probably a mile and a half southwest.” Chairman Burton said, “Across State Road 43 and by John Ward’s.”

Surveyor Sterrett said, “Attorney Loy suggested we have a landowners’ meeting to discuss doing some work on the outlet end of the tile, the open ditch part. I went out and did a survey and it looks like we can go a little over 400 feet and take care of the silt. There’s about 250 feet length of the silt that’s in the ditch. The ditch has an eight foot bottom to it and it looks like about a foot has to come out. It would be in front of Blissett, Jewell, Little and Knight properties. On November 14, 2005 a Dan Mathews called me and he said he wouldn’t be able to attend the meeting, but he didn’t have a problem with it, in fact he wanted the spoil so we could leave the spoil on the bank. That is the only person who has contacted me.”

Board Member Heimlich asked if we need the approval of the landowners where we are digging because it is on their property and the open ditch is not regulated. Surveyor Sterrett said the open ditch is the outlet for the tile. Board Member Heimlich said there would be four properties that we will have to go onto. Attorney Loy said we would need their permission. Ray Hardesty stated he owns Little’s property now and he would take most of the fill for his property. Lynnora Blissett said Mr. Jewell is not here and she doesn’t know what his thoughts are on it. Surveyor Sterrett said his office sent out letters. Attorney Loy stated we have to clean out our outlet in order for the water to get through our tile. Surveyor Sterrett said, “To get OUT of our tile. You can hardly see the tile because the water is over the tile.”

Board Member Heimlich said, “First question, what legally do we have the right to do?” Attorney Loy asked, “Has there been any consideration given to extending the jurisdiction, making it a regulated drain, to include the open ditch?” Board Member Heimlich and Surveyor Sterrett answered no, that question hadn’t come up. Attorney Loy said if we get the landowners to agree there shouldn’t be any problem. He asked for the approximate cost. Surveyor Sterrett answered, “I got an estimate from a contractor that went out and visited the site, Randy DeVault, $750.00 to leave the spoil and $850.00 to level the spoil.” Attorney Loy asked if that was the whole total to do what we are talking about. Surveyor Sterrett answered yes.

Attorney Loy stated we will need the written consent of all the landowners. Board Member Heimlich said if $1,680.00 is what is in the maintenance fund for the tile then there is plenty in the fund to pay for the project. Surveyor Sterrett answered yes there is enough money for it. Attorney Loy again stated we should look into making the open ditch regulated. Chairman Burton said it goes into a natural watercourse as it gets closer to Moots Creek. Surveyor Sterrett said he hadn’t gone clear on down but you can tell it has slope. He said he was just going to go down to the end of McKnight’s property and take this little hump out here.” Chairman Burton said, “This ditch runs into an unregulated stream.” Attorney Loy asked how this ditch was constructed. Surveyor Sterrett said it must have been a natural waterway. He said he looked and he couldn’t find any legal description for it.

Charlie Mellon stated, “If the County tile is regulated then the ditch through those properties ought to be regulated, because your regulated water has to go through there. It all ought to be on pay I would say.” Board Member Heimlich said, “We have a lot of them like that where the last half mile or mile before it goes into the river isn’t regulated. But those four landowners, if we get their permission I don’t see a problem. We have two of them here.” Surveyor Sterrett said Blissetts are the only ones being assessed on the tile. He said, “The tile ends on their property, about forty feet into their property and the tile was constructed in 1894.” Attorney Loy said, “Get the written permission of all the landowners and if we CAN’T get all of them for some reason, then your only alternative would be to try to extend your jurisdiction so you have a right to go on the property. You don’t have a defined easement area for doing work.” Surveyor Sterrett asked, “What about an obstruction of a natural surface waterway?” Attorney Loy said, “You would have to have a Hearing.”

Board Member Heimlich asked if Dan Mathews has purchased the McKnight property or is he just in the process. Ray Hardesty said Mathews has purchased it. Surveyor Sterrett said it is not in the record yet at the Court House. Attorney Loy said he might be buying it on contract. Chairman Burton said, “He’s agreeable to it so right now basically other than Jewell we have 3 out of the 4 (landowners) so there is the possibility that this could be worked out agreeably and then we could work on the easement, or that becomes Plan B.” Attorney Loy said, “I still would recommend considering that, no matter what, just so you don’t have to go through this again.”

Attorney Loy said, “How many people are assessed maintenance on this drain?” Surveyor Sterrett answered, “Only one of these people (Blissetts).” Attorney Loy asked, “What about to the south? I’m just trying to think about if we need a Hearing.” Surveyor Sterrett said there’s 1,321 acres. Board Member Heimlich said, “If it is done under maintenance, which is basically what we are doing, to allow outlet for our tile……” Attorney Loy said, “We’re not doing a reconstruction.” The answer was no. Chairman Burton asked if we needed a Hearing to add them to it (assessment). Attorney Loy asked how many landowners. Surveyor Sterrett said, “There are 35 parcels. Brown owns quite a bit…..inaudible…” Attorney Loy asked, “Did you receive a complaint or request from any of these landowners about their outlet?” Surveyor Sterrett said no, just Mrs. Blissett. Attorney Loy said, “I assume it is backing up.” Surveyor Sterrett said yes, it is causing the tile to blow up. Attorney Loy stated, “I think we can do it under maintenance, without a formal Hearing. Get the consents from the affected landowners. Mr. Hardesty wants the fill, right?” Mr. Hardesty said he has talked to Mr. Mathews several times and told him he would move his fill for him. He said he knows Mr. Mathews does not have a problem with the project and he can take papers to Mr. Mathews and have him sign them if the Board wants him to. Lynnora Blissett said that Mr. Hardesty can have her fill, too. Board Member Heimlich said the Jewells are the only ones we have to make sure we contact. Lynnora said they both work. For discussion on Jewell’s private tiles see tape.

Board Member Heimlich asked, “Are you working from the east side or the west side?” Surveyor Sterrett said probably the west side. Board Member Heimlich said, “The hole you are talking about is on the west side.” Lynnora Blissitt said both of the holes are on the west side. Surveyor Sterrett pointed out where there is a crossing, two forty-eight inch corrugated metal pipes.

Chairman Burton stated, “At this point, we are going to proceed with getting permission from the landowners.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “Get letters to the landowners.” Attorney Loy said, “Yes, and don’t do anything without permission from ALL.” Board Member Ferguson said, “Just the four landowners.” Attorney Loy said, “Right.” Surveyor Sterrett asked if it is alright to go ahead and get that contractor after we do the letters. Board Member Heimlich said, “You are doing it under maintenance so after you get the letters to the landowners you could go ahead with that.”

Board Member Heimlich asked Mr. Hardesty and Mrs. Blissett if they understand what is going to take place. Chairman Burton said Surveyor Sterrett will be contacting them and Mr. Mathews and Mr. Jewell. Surveyor Sterrett asked for Mr. Mathews address. Lynnora Blissett said it would be McKnight’s old address. Attorney Loy said to make sure the buyer and the owner know. Ray Hardesty said he would have Mr. Mathews call and give his address. Mr. Hardesty gave his address as 4725 Autumn Lane, Lafayette, IN 47909. He said he is buying on contract from Mr. Little who lives in Monticello.

Surveyor Sterrett explained why Jordan Manufacturing and Green’s Boat Storage were not on the agenda for drainage approval today. See tape.

Chairman Burton adjourned the meeting.