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May 1, 2006 Tape #009

The White County Drainage Board convened at 10:30 A.M., EDT 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 present were Charles Mellon, Hugh Pence, Marvin Good and one unidentified woman.

Chairman Burton called the meeting to order. Board Member Ferguson made a motion to approve the minutes of the April 17, 2006 meeting and Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. The minutes were approved unanimously.

Surveyor Sterrett reported on the progress of several Reconstruction projects. He reported that Derflinger & Son has got the main ditch dipped, still has brush to pile and burn, and some spoil to level on the J. P. Carr Ditch project. A culvert on 75 E will not be done until the County opens 300 E. Surveyor Sterrett stated, “I have a change I’d like to make. There is a seven foot tank car west of 75 E on Waugh’s property and I think that thing needs to be removed. It is a private crossing and it is not being used and it is causing a wash on the east outlet side. Mr. Derflinger said he could do it for $500.00. I didn’t have that in the specs. I’m asking approval to get that done. I think it needs to be done. My estimate on the J. P. Carr when we first started was $90,556.00 and the bid came in at $74,000.00 so we are way under the estimate.” Chairman Burton asked if Derflinger would dispose of it after he takes it out. Surveyor Sterrett said he might leave it lay there, he didn’t know. He said there is a grass waterway there.

Chairman Burton asked for the location. Surveyor Sterrett said, “It is west of 75 E, the road that goes east of the popcorn factory runs north and south, bends and goes back east. It is a private crossing. They weren’t using it when we surveyed it; it had trees growing across it. They can get in from the north side of the bridge there and from the south side. I think it was just a cattle crossing.” Attorney Loy asked, “It is her private crossing? She installed it?” Surveyor Sterrett answered yes. Attorney Loy said, “You will need to get in touch with her.” Surveyor Sterrett said he has been in touch with her tenant, John Brettnacher and he said take it out, they aren’t using it. Board Member Heimlich said we still have to get notice to the owner. Attorney Loy said yes, after the meeting we should whip up some sort of consent for the owner to sign and we do need to decide how we are going to dispose of it. Surveyor Sterrett said, “Or we can leave it in. The ditch is slid in on the north bank and that has caused the water to come out and go around it. As soon as he gets that dug out in front of that pipe, it is going to run straight through there. He’s got all the trees cut off of it.” Attorney Loy asked what’s wrong with leaving it in, potential for problems down the road? Surveyor Sterrett said, “Nothing. We thought it might be causing erosion. I don’t think it is myself.” Board Member Heimlich said, “I don’t think we can take it out without her (Juanita Waugh) consent.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “As soon as he takes the slide out, in front of the pipe, that washout won’t be there.” Attorney Loy, “The problem is solved?” Surveyor Sterrett said yes.

Surveyor Sterrett said, “Also on the Branch, there is a thirty inch culvert under a private crossing and it was brought up at the Hearing that was going to be replaced by two thirty-six inch culverts and the owner had to pay for it and the project was going to pay for the removal and the replacement. How will I bill that person? The contractor is going to go ahead and get the pipes.” Attorney Loy asked, “The owner knew that was part of the project?” Surveyor Sterrett answered, “Yes, it was brought up at the Hearing.” Attorney Loy said it is just part of the normal assessment.

Surveyor Sterrett reported that Branch 9 of the J. L. Ackerman Drain, which was Monty Moss’s tile project, is done. He said the County Road pipe has been lowered, tile has been put in and it has all been leveled off. Surveyor Sterrett stated that was at no cost to the landowners. He said the ditch has been dipped on Mr. Malchow’s property up to the end.

Surveyor Sterrett stated, “At Excel Co-op in Reynolds (Klyla Ditch Reconstruction), they haven’t started that project yet, but I see they are building a bin.”

Surveyor Sterrett reported that the F. G. Church Ditch project along CR 400 north (it runs from about 750 E to 1100) is about done. The estimate was $72,667.00 and the bid was $44,000.00 and there were some extras. The head end needed a pipe replaced at the headwall and there was seven other outlets along the ditch that were broke down. I actually had that in my estimate as extras. The extras came to $1,548.20 so that made the total cost $45,548.20 well under the estimate. He still has some mopping up to do.

Surveyor Sterrett reported, “On Carter-Hines Branch #3, that’s up along CR 1400 E & CR 600 N, that job is about half done. The brush has been cut and the ditch has been dipped once. We have to clean out the culverts under the road to get the water to flow. My estimate there was $13,321.00 and he bid $7,950.00. And, we wanted to talk about the F. G. Church check.” Secretary Kiser explained, “Mike Ezra’s invoice of March 6, 2006 said job completed. So, we have to hold $6,800.00 for sixty days. (15%) So, we went ahead and turned in to get a check for him because we are within five days here. But, Denny said he still has work to do, so, do I turn that check back in to the Auditor or just release it when Denny decides that he is done?” Board Member Heimlich said, “I would just hold it until he is done.” Surveyor Sterrett said he should be finishing up in a couple of days.

Surveyor Sterrett reported, “The M. K. Reiff Ditch over at Burnettsville is done and we paid the final payment. That was a maintenance job that Mr. Reiff paid for. And, the Leslie Henry Tile out on Highway 39, I think everybody could see that water was standing a half a mile north of Highway 24 on 39. It runs up through Mr. Phelps’ yard. We have to work on that about every other year. It gets roots in it. I got DeSabatine from Winamac, he has a root cutter on his jetter, so he came down and we got it opened up again. It was running clear full when we left it and I see the water is down now. He didn’t get completed what he wanted to because the gears went out of his cutter, but we got through it once. We went up the tile and I think he’s got 500 feet of hose, so we got clear up to the highway.”

Surveyor Sterrett reported, “Over in Round Grove Township, I met Tony Cain over there to look at a tile on John Brettnacher’s farm that had a suck hole in it and was collapsed. We drove down to the Roudebush Tile, it comes up along 1000 W and runs along 900 S. There is a private ditch coming from the east. Tony had a job, he was going to dip that private ditch out and there wasn’t any water flowing in it. So we took a look at this from a culvert under the road here to the culvert under 900 S and by dipping that 650 feet out we could lower the water table a foot there. So I went ahead and got him a work order to do that. He has already done it, 670 feet. Right now my help and I are working on the Vanatta, Big Pine, Bush and O’Conner at Round Grove.”

Chairman Burton asked about the Wolcott sewer situation at a residence. Surveyor Sterrett reported, “Chad Reynolds from the Town of Wolcott called me up Saturday and we had a work order for Kevin Emonds to look at a suck hole that was developing over the Unroe Drain. People that lived in the house were complaining about their sewer not working. So he dug it up once and couldn’t find anything and their sewer still didn’t work and the suck hole came back. So Saturday they called me and said there were five people in the house and they needed their sewer working. So, I got a hold of Kevin and he dug it up and Chad Reynolds, the town employee, called me back and said the sewer was working. I haven’t been over there to look at it but they got it working. Bob Thomas was in this morning and he said that he heard that when they put the storm sewer in they cut that tile so then they spliced it and had it all crushed in so we are taking the blame for it.”

Surveyor Sterrett recognized Huge Pence who addressed the Board concerning Minoaki Farms drainage. Huge Pence stated, “We have an ongoing problem out here on Minoaki Farms south of town here about three or four miles. We have drowning out spots. If you look at the map, here’s our farm, it’s the C. C. Spencer Ditch. The lower end of it is in great shape, the head wall is in great shape. We've been watching it the last year or two and that outlet tile rarely runs over half full. The lower 1,500 to 2,000 feet has probably got at least a half a percent of fall or maybe more. It’s got quite a bit of fall, maybe closer to .8 or one percent. Then it comes up through here and flattens out and I assume that mark is where the fifteen inch tile changes to a twelve, would you guess? (Surveyor Sterrett said right.) I’m sure this is about nine feet deep right here.” Mr. Pence pointed out an area where they are losing about ten acres. He showed what 300 feet of tile down to a low spot has been replaced three times. He said they did it themselves in 1981, plastic tile with a sock and as far as he knows it is still fine. But from here on down, I’m sure this tile is on a real flat grade, and I was going to propose if we could come down here where this thing has a lot more grade on it and bring a fifteen inch tile up here and give us some relief on this hole here. This tile here comes on across the road back here and we are losing all of this besides. I don’t know what kind of arrangements we can make on that. If you have a better suggestion it would be fine. The low end has enough fall on it that it can handle double the water.”

Board Member Heimlich asked, “So you are just requesting permission to hook the……” Mr. Pence said, “Well, it’s a County Tile, it is just undersized, I don’t know what the…..” Chairman Burton said, “It is going to turn into a reconstruction.”

Surveyor Sterrett asked, “Are you wanting to put the tile in or are you wanting us to put the tile in?” Mr. Pence said, “Well, it’s a County Tile, we ought to work out something on it. You’ve repaired it a few times haven’t you? As far as I know it is in pretty good shape on down through Jennings.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “I don’t remember since I’ve been here repairing it. Oh down here, yes, we have a repair going down here.”

Board Member Heimlich asked how many landowners are on it. Huge Pence said, “Not very many, it would be ourselves and Jennings and (Board Member Ferguson said Meents would have some) and it goes on across the road here and it actually comes out to Rangeline Road. I think Schroeder owns the 80 next to us and he has quite a bit of water goes in there. I think what happened, this is way under capacity, sometime about 1920 or 1930 a guy named Dressback owned the farm and they put a private ditch in that comes clear up here and goes into Haller’s.” Surveyor Sterrett said he would say the watershed would probably be to Luse Road. Huge Pence pointed out other tiles. He said, “It would give us a better outlet and I don’t think it would overload that lower end, having that much fall on it.” Mr. Pence checked capacity on his chart. Board Member Heimlich said, “Still it would have to be petitioned for reconstruction.” Mr. Pence said, “If that’s what you suggest to get the problem solved.” Chairman Burton said, “That is our only legal……” Board Member Heimlich said, “That’s our only option with a County tile.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “Actually won’t the farm be paying for most of it?” Mr. Pence answered yes. He asked if they had the total acres in the watershed of the C. C. Spencer. Secretary Kiser answered, “No, we didn’t get that far. I thought you wanted to put some fifteen inch tile in and hook into the C. C. Spencer, I didn’t realize you wanted to replace the twelve with a fifteen.” Mr. Pence said, “We wouldn’t tear the old up of course, we’d just put it on in addition.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “You can put a twelve inch tile in without permission. If you had a Hearing on it, I don’t know whether those downstream landowners would……..” Mr. Pence asked if the people on the open ditch would have any say in it. Surveyor Sterrett said the C. C. Spencer is open ditch and tile. Board Member Heimlich said they would all have to be included in the Hearing. Mr. Pence asked what their recommendation would be.

Chairman Burton said if we petition and have the Hearing, they will all be notified. Surveyor Sterrett said you need to get on the list. Board Member Heimlich asked if there is tile that runs through somebody else’s property. Huge Pence said they would have to go through Bill Schroeder down below them. Surveyor Sterrett said also Jennings. Huge Pence said, “After you surveyed it would be a question of how far down here you would have to go to pick up the extra fall. From here on it has a lot, from here back to our fence line I’m not sure how much fall it would have on it.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “You mean the ground looks like it has a lot of fall.” Mr. Pence answered yes. He thought the right thing to do is to take a shot and see how much grade there is. He said the tile has to get awfully full to run any place. Chairman Burton asked, “What is your timing?” Mr. Pence said, “If I was going to do it, I’d probably do it a year from August. There is a lot of quick sand in that country. It is going to have to go nine or so feet deep for about probably a thousand feet part of the way. I’ve done some of this on my own. I paid all the expense to do that 300 feet and we fixed this tile down through here (indicating on a map). There’s a lot of quicksand in here. So it would be a job you would want to do in August when it is super dry.” Surveyor Sterrett explained that right now he has a dozen reconstructions to be done. Huge Pence asked if he wanted to get something going on it and maybe work on it a year from August. Surveyor Sterrett said it depends on what the Board wants to do. He said he only gets about three reconstructions a year done.

Chairman Burton asked, “Is it possible that at some point in the next year you can check grade from Point A to Point B and then we have some idea…..” Huge Pence said he could probably get his grandson who has a laser to come up and take a couple of shots. He said you wouldn’t have to take but four or five up through there and you would know where you are on how much fall.” Chairman Burton said, “Back to the response that there is a list and a time issue and it is probably not going to happen in a year.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “If he wants a petition I can get him a petition.” Huge Pence said, “Why don’t I come up here before the crop gets too big and we’ll get a grade from here to there and I’ll check back with him and we’ll just kind of wing it from there and see what we might do, how is that? When I get a little more information I’ll be back.” Surveyor Sterrett said that is fine.

Surveyor brought to the attention of the Board an article that says the State still has to pay ditch assessments. Attorney Loy said, “Yes, the legislature changed that. I think the Statute is effective immediately.” Surveyor Sterrett read, “State Senate Bill 71, House Bill 1212 are both written to simply say that a ditch assessment was not considered a tax on the State of Indiana. Both bills passed the General Assembly and have been signed by the Governor.”

Marvin Good addressed the Board about a situation on the F. M. Coonrod Ditch at the Junction of CR 700 E, on the west side, just across from Kenny Nogle’s old house. Marvin Good explained, “I have some pictures here. Some individuals are actually damming the ditch and there is some erosion.” Surveyor Sterrett said that it looks like a beaver dam. Marvin Good stated, “It is not a beaver dam, I tore it out two years ago and they put it back in. It is about fifty or a hundred feet from the culvert.” Board Member Ferguson said there are some houses there that are pretty close. Marvin Good answered, “Right, and that is part of the other situation. Right on the bank is a pole barn-like structure, which of course is in the easement. They put the building on your easement and there is a trailer house that I think sits on the easement, too. The real problem, I think, is if those facilities were not there, this would not exist.”

Chairman Burton asked, “Why do you think they are damming, what is the advantage?” Marvin Good said, “I don’t know, probably kids. I guess there are kids that live there. But, what it does, if you are familiar with that ditch, on the east side there is not a lot of fall and on my side, the west side, there is quite a bit of fall. The situation is, they should not be causing erosion. And of course, they’re not supposed to have any facilities on an easement. Those buildings are owned by a firm from Rensselaer, Wampler Development. They are rentals. There are actually two trailer houses on that 300 by 230 foot. There’s two mobile homes on a little lot and further up there is a pole barn.” Surveyor Sterrett stated he has not been up there, he did not know anything about this.” Marvin Good described the dam as being some cement blocks and he said obviously they had pulled some brush out of his woods there.

Marvin Good explained, “The ditch goes 80 rods through my place. I usually go down it every year and take out stuff. Elms keep dying and falling in. I take that kind of stuff out. I have never asked the Drainage Board for anything. I try to keep it clean so there isn’t any erosion.” Board Member Heimlich asked where the people live that Wampler Development leases the trailer to. Mr. Good said they live in the trailer. Attorney Loy asked if the obstructions are adjacent to his property or somebody else’s. Mr. Good explained, “Mine, on the high bank where the erosion is. The other people are on the opposite side. It is a high bank and it is wooded. The bank was never leveled when the ditch was put in there a hundred or so years ago. There are two or three oak trees in there that are probably a hundred and fifty or a hundred and seventy-five years old. I hate to lose them.”

Board Member Heimlich asked, “When did these buildings go in?” Marvin Good answered, “They’ve been there…..inaudible…….before……Stearn owned it and I think his brother owned it before him…..back then sometime.” Chairman Burton said, “Two things here, one is the obstruction of the ditch and the other situation would be the buildings on the easement. The buildings on the easement, isn’t necessarily causing the obstruction.” Marvin Good answered no it is not. Chairman Burton stated, “The one thing I would like to pursue is the obstruction.” Marvin Good suggested as far as the buildings are concerned, they might want to go through Area Plan. Surveyor Sterrett said the buildings were probably built prior to Liberty Township being under the jurisdiction of Area Planning. Board Member Ferguson said Liberty Township was not under zoning until around 1993. Board Member Heimlich said that wouldn’t affect the drainage easement issue. It wouldn’t be affected by that.

Board Member Heimlich said, “I guess the question we have had before is when it is done without our permission, if we give Consent to Encroach then we are saying it was alright to do that. If something comes up later…….” Attorney Loy said, “What you do is send them a notice that what they have done was without our consent and we are not consenting to it. But, we are not consenting to any further construction on their property.” Board Member Heimlich said, “Any further building would be triggered through Area Plan.” Attorney Loy stated, “Nor would they have our consent if that was destroyed or something, to replace it in the same spot.” Board Member Heimlich stated, “I think Denny needs to go up and look at it and tell them to take the obstructions out. I guess I don’t know why the obstructions are in there. You can’t tell by this what it is.” Chairman Burton said, “If they refuse to take it out, the next would be…….would we go ahead and clean it out…….” Board Member Heimlich said, “I’m trying to figure out what would be the reason for doing that.” Marvin Good said kids don’t need a reason. He said, “There’s definitely two different issues and personally I think they both ought to be taken care of eventually. What avenue or route……” Surveyor Sterrett said you could send them a letter. Attorney Loy said, “I would eyeball it first and then let’s send them a letter to remove the obstruction.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “I don’t know where the legal description ends, I’ll find that out.” The Board agreed to proceed that way, to get the obstruction removed. Attorney Loy asked Surveyor Sterrett to take some pictures.

Marvin Good asked, “Then I will proceed to Area Plan?” Chairman Burton replied, “Well, you can talk to them, but if you heard what Denny was saying, they will be notified in this letter that they are in violation and if anything else was done it would be a violation.”

Marvin Good stated, “I guess what I’m saying is it is unacceptable that they have the trailer house and the building on that ditch easement to me. I realize there is enough fall there that you will never ever clean that section of the ditch. But, that would force you to come on my side and clear my woods in lieu of their facilities and that is unacceptable. Because somebody else is in violation of Indiana Statute. So, I will pursue this whatever it takes to get them removed. I think the lot is actually too small for two trailers. They have dog pens. I find straw and dog stuff in the ditch. I will pursue with Area Plan and see what I can get them to do.” The Surveyor will get his own set of pictures.

Board Member Heimlich reported, “I got a call last week from Mr. Underhill concerning the area that Surveyor Sterrett and I waded in the Lane Ditch (the regulated part is called Faris Ditch) south of town a year ago or so. Mr. Underhill was stating that the situation is getting worse in the bay area , you might walk across there now. And, he is blaming it all on that place behind the airport. Which, there was erosion there but there were several places on up between there and Freeman Road where there were places being cut out. And there is a lot of fall in there. I can imagine with any size rain, that water really tears down through there. So I don’t think it is all that airport area. I talked to Steve Brooke this morning and I forget whether we had talked to him before about this. But, this guy says that back in 1980 or 1981 Lake Freeman had been lowered and the Commissioners went in and scooped silt out of there and the Highway Dept. hauled it away and dumped it at the south end of the airport where that area is. He was blaming that for part of it, that they put it in that area and now it is washing away and he says part of it is the same silt. Well, part of it was but there is erosion in several areas up that ditch. I said we would go look at it again, but I don’t know what the solution is. There is no way of getting back in there with anything.” Surveyor Sterrett said the ditch is not regulated down there. Board Member Heimlich said, “Even if you were able to get back in there to do anything, you are going to spend major bucks. I suppose we ought to go down and see how much silt is in that outlet and whether there is anything we can do down there. Really he is blaming the airport but when it was hauled off in 1980 it shouldn’t have been put back there where it was. I don’t know if the airport wanted it back there or that was just the easiest place to put it. Steve didn’t remember. I told him (Mr. Underhill) we would go look at it again.”

Chairman Burton adjourned the meeting.