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June 19, 2006 Tape #012

The White County Drainage Board convened at 10:45 A.M., EDT in the Commissioners’ Room of the White County Building, Monticello, Indiana with Board Members Steven Burton, O. D. “Bud” Ferguson and John C. Heimlich, Attorney George W. Loy, Surveyor Dennis W. Sterrett and Secretary Romana Kiser in attendance. Also attending were Blair Underhill and Gerry Underhill.


Chairman Burton asked the Board to approve the minutes of the June 5, 2006 meeting. Board Member Ferguson so moved. Board Member Heimlich seconded. Minutes approved.


Surveyor Sterrett asked the Board to set maintenance rates and minimums for Maintenance Modification on the C. M. Mertz #2 Tile Drain in Jackson Township, White County, Indiana. Surveyor Sterrett stated, “We talked about this at the last meeting and decided on $3.00 an acre, but we didn’t set a minimum. I didn’t have information here on it and I do now. You have that in front of you (a print out). It is the one that has the willows on the tile. It is currently $2,453.82 in debt, which is over two years. The yearly assessment now is $1,034.56 and it is at $1.00 per acre and $5.00 minimum. Benefited acres is 833.58, 63 parcels and 45 of them are minimums.”


Board Member Heimlich asked, “Most of them now don’t we have at $3.00 an acre and gone to $10.00 minimum?” Surveyor Sterrett said yes, since he’s been here. He said, “If it was $3.00 per acre and the minimum still $5.00 it would bring in $2,653.00 so in one year we would have it out of debt. As far as I know we are going to continue to work on that tile, the shape that it’s in. If you add $5.00 to the minimum, it will bring in $225.00 more and that would be $2,870.00 if you use $10.00 for the minimum.”


Chairman Burton asked if there is anybody here for this. Surveyor Sterrett said we will have a Hearing on this; this is just to set the rates.


Board Member Heimlich made a motion to set the Maintenance Rate at $3.00 per acre and the minimum at $10.00 on the C. M. Mertz#2 Tile Drain for Maintenance Modification. Board Member Ferguson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


Surveyor Sterrett reported that Dirk Fleck brought to his attention that there is an encroachment on our tile, J. Kellenburger Tile on CR 300 E and north of Hanankratt. It is back in there on Charlie Geier’s three acre tracts called Honey Creek Estates. It is on north of Ten High Acres Subdivision.


Chairman Burton asked how old the buildings are. Surveyor Sterrett answered, “Brand new. The tool shed is new. Dirk farms the ground on the north and he noticed when he was farming that he thought the tool shed was set on the tile. He went out, there’s a catch basin there on the north line and there’s also a catch basin about a thousand feet southwest. So, we assume that the tile is straight between the catch basins. That’s how we set up alignment. It could be, there’s kind of a swale forty feet west of the tool shed, but it’s hard to say where the tile is. Where he built is kind of on a sand hill so the tile is real deep in there.” Chairman Burton asked how big the tile is. Surveyor Sterrett answered, “Ten or twelve. I never got down and measured it. It has been petitioned for reconstruction. It is probably a ten right in there.”


Chairman Burton asked, “There’s not a County Road that actually touches this property?” Surveyor Sterrett answered, “No, this is 700 feet west of CR 300 East. There was going to be a subdivision on the east side of CR 300 that was done by Ted Nichols but it never happened.” Board Member Heimlich asked how the drain is going to be reconstructed. Surveyor Sterrett answered that it would be probably in the same location. (Studying drawing of site) Chairman Burton said it is a big tool shed. Surveyor Sterrett said, “It is 40 feet by 24 feet. He is two and a half feet off of that straight line between those two catch basins.” Board Member Heimlich said, “I hope he didn’t hit it (tile) digging the poles in. (Chairman Burton said FBI builders puts cement pads in the bottom.) It depends on how deep it is there, but I wonder if as part of the reconstruction, move it and bill him for it. Is that possible, George? We have an encroachment on a tile and they built a tool shed practically on top of it. The tile is petitioned for reconstruction. I was wondering if we can, as part of the reconstruction, move that tile and bill him for that detour.”


Attorney Loy stated, “You can contact him and make that demand. I assume he is assessed.” Board Member Heimlich said, “I wonder why they didn’t catch it on the building permit.” Surveyor Sterrett stated, “There’s his survey and it shows the tile on the survey. The survey for the guy he bought it off of. The builder must have bought it off of Charlie Geier and he (owners James and Rhonda Wooten) bought it off of Gunstra Builders back in November 2003.” He said the petition is on the whole route and it is to replace probably from those two catch basins on in to the outlet and it wouldn’t be a problem going out around it. He said that there is a swale and the tile could possibly be in it.


Attorney Loy stated, “In reconstruction you would normally replace it as present location, right? (Surveyor Sterrett answered yes; stay alongside of it so we could hook up all laterals that are tied to it.) But here, you’re going to have to move it.” Board Member Heimlich said we’re going to have to move the tile or move the building.


Attorney Loy stated that he thinks we are going to have to call James and Rhonda Wooten in first. Board Member Heimlich said he thinks with the reconstruction it is easy enough to move the tile around but it is going to be extra expense and he should be assessed for it. Attorney Loy said absolutely, all the costs. Chairman Burton said the next step would be to request an audience.


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “I know there are several more three acre tracts there so I went over and notified Area Plan of the situation.” Board Member Heimlich said, “I don’t know why it wasn’t caught if it was on the survey that the tile was there.” Attorney Loy said, “We ought to talk to Dave (Anderson, Building Inspector) or Area Plan and whatever info that they hand out to people, have a blurb (?WHAT?) in there about regulated drains, tiles and ditches.” Surveyor Sterrett said maybe all building permits should come through the Surveyor’s office to verify whether they are on a tile or not. Board Member Heimlich said there should be a check. Surveyor Sterrett said, “I talked to Area Plan. She issued a building permit in November of 2005.” Board Member Heimlich said, “They routinely check for tile, whether they are building over it. (Surveyor Sterrett said obviously they didn’t.) That’s what we’re asking, whether this was just something that happened……” Attorney Loy stated, “It is ultimately the landowner’s responsibility, but it doesn’t do a bit of good once it is built, what are you going to do?” Chairman Burton said, “Your proposal will have some kind of an information sheet to be handed out at the time they pick up…..” Board Member Heimlich said, “Because there’s too many of these happening for sure.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “And there will be more because that tile curves around toward the road and will be on all those lots.” Chairman Burton said, “Ok, we will request an audience and try to work this out with Dave (County Building Inspector) and Diann (County Area Plan Director) for public information. Board Member Heimlich asked, “You say they‘re going to sell more lots in there? Who owns it?” Surveyor Sterrett answered Charlie Geier; it’s not a subdivision because it has three acre tracts. Board Member Heimlich said, “He probably needs to be aware, too, that it could affect his ability to place houses.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “I’m sure he knows there is a County Tile in there. Should I send him a letter, too?” Attorney Loy said to ask him to come in to a meeting, too. Board Member Heimlich said, “It probably wouldn’t hurt. If they’re going to sell more, and with the reconstruction in the works.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “In fact, south of this one there is a 3.3 acre tract that is sold.”


Next on the agenda Attorney Loy opened two sealed bids received on the spraying of White County regulated drains. One from Dalton’s of Warsaw Indiana and one from Townsend. Surveyor Sterrett said, “I should state that I asked them to bid this two ways. One of them was for the chemical to kill scouring rush, snake grass. I thought that might make the quote pretty high, so I had them submit a quote without. Secretary Kiser said that the contact person for Townsend has been Dan Alexander who used to be with Shideler, and we did not get a quote from Shideler.


Attorney Loy stated, “Dalton’s have bid each individual tile separately. (Surveyor Sterrett said that is what they are supposed to do, because it comes out of that maintenance fund). The total, adding all of them up, comes to $75,714.00 (Dalton’s). The quote for killing scouring rush or snake grass is $652.00 per mile or $1.63 per mixed gallon of solution, whichever is less.” Surveyor Sterrett explained, “That was their problem with quoting, because they didn’t know where the snake grass was and I didn’t know where it was.”


Attorney Loy stated, “Townsend Tree Service, Parker City, Indiana, it is broken down by township. It will have to be totaled. To treat scouring rush it will be an additional $144.00 per acre. You will have to add all of these up. It is totaled by townships.” (Surveyor Sterrett took the bid to have it totaled.)


Chairman Burton recognized Blair Underhill who addressed the Board saying, “I’m Blair Underhill, Monticello, down at the end of Airport Road. We are here to talk about the Airport property. It has massive erosion. A little creek runs along the airport called the Lane Ditch (called Faris Ditch by County) and I’ve got pictures I would like to show you of the erosion that has been going on for the last, since I’ve lived there, has really excelled the last ten years. A real bad erosion problem has filled the creek up and now it is actually filling up the mouth of the lake (Freeman) and going on out towards Ski Island. It has lowered the level of the lake about three feet, and unless something is done about retaining the erosion problem along the east side of the creek, it is just going to continue to fill until the lake level is gone. It is a very serious problem for Lake Freeman and for its homeowners in that area. I have talked to numerous government agencies. I’ve talked to John (Heimlich) about it. It is kind of like an area nobody wants to, kind of like a forgotten area, it’s real woolly, hard to walk. I think the Airport has forgotten about it after they did their excavation back in 1978. Over time it has just gotten so out of control and not been maintained.”


Board Member Ferguson asked, “Is that little creek the one that comes down south of those factories there, under the road there?" ”Blair Underhill answered, “Yes, right underneath Freeman Road there. It starts where Freeman Road is and it’s not too bad there, but as it gets on back toward the Airport property it gets terrible.” Board Member Heimlich said, “The problem is it is not regulated there from Freeman Road on. Is that right, Denny? (Surveyor Sterrett answered yes.) Denny and I had walked it a year and a half ago.” Attorney Loy asked what the name of the ditch is. Surveyor Sterrett explained that the regulated part of the ditch is called the Faris Ditch and the regulated part ends in the woods before you get to Freeman Road on the west side.


Blair Underhill shows photos at this time saying, “That’s the mouth of the ditch, that’s what it looks like looking in from the lake and it goes on back. That right there is a silt trap that was dug two years ago and now it is basically an island, completely filled in. Segal’s did it; SFLECC paid them to do it. It is a real problem with the siltation. Everybody is aware of it but nobody is doing anything about trying to correct the problem. It is not normal erosions. It is steep banks.” Board Member Heimlich said, “Denny and I walked that before and there are several meandering curves in there. As a matter of fact there’s a lot of fall in that area, so you get a big rain and it comes rushing down and with those curves it takes the bank out. The Airport area you talk about certainly is one area, but there were several areas where it was eroding the bank out.”


Chairman Burton asked if the drain is regulated through the Airport property. Board Member Heimlich answered, “That is not regulated in through there. Apparently back in the 80’s, I had talked to the Highway Department and they hauled silt out of there.” Blair Underhill showed photos saying, “Here’s the Airport property in 1950. The Airport wasn’t there yet. See how big those trees and woods are? Here is 1978. The trees are all leveled, there’s nothing but bare dirt. The creek runs right along here. In 1978 they did this. In 1980 the County hauled, you know, this filled in the lake, so they lowered the lake, the County hauled dirt through Darrell Diggs’ property back here to this area right here, dumped it right along Lane Ditch. That’s part of the siltation we are seeing now. That dirt that was dumped back there in the 80’s is back in the lake now. When they did this excavation right here, this thing was partially channelized to straighten the creek out, that is no longer that way, because it has not been maintained. It has just become a windy creek now. Darrell used to dig it out right in front of his property so he could get his boat back there and I think he quit doing it because there was a problem. I think the neighbors thought he was causing all the siltation, and actually I think he was the one probably helping the situation. Everything he dug, it was all getting caught in front of his place and since he has quit it is going right on by his place down to the lake now. It’s not going to get any better. This is Ski Island right here. This used to be over your head over in here and now it is up to here (indicated on his leg). We just need to know who we need to approach or talk to. Nobody wants to take responsibility for that area. I have talked to DNR. I’ve talked to IDEM and they are actually going to come up and take a look at it. SFLECC, Soil and Water Conservation. (Board Member Heimlich asked what Soil and Water had to say.) They said to call DNR, and DNR told me that is not in their jurisdiction any more.”


Board Member Heimlich said that he thought this situation might be similar to a project on Buss Ditch through City Park that Soil and Water helped with. He said it is sort of the same thing, there is a lot of fall down through there and was causing a lot of erosion. Soil and Water had a project where they basically put a stairstep-like structure in there and it prevented erosion.


Gerry Underhill said, “It’s a real problem, several homeowners down there can’t use the lake. The piers have to be so far out that it is against the lake regulations. It’s a real concern. We’ve been talking, Larry my son, we own a Subdivision called Bay Pointe, it’s getting so bad that out in front of one of the neighbors the water is ankle deep. I had a summer home around the hook there twenty-eight or thirty years ago and at that time it was so bad, it was caused I think by the Airport, it was decided it would be dipped up. You mentioned Kelly (Board Member Ferguson said Dick Kelly); they did a lot of work in there getting it (dirt) out of there because it came down after the construction of the Airport. The banks weren’t seeded or whatever they do to hold them and it all came down. Now we have a combination of things, the sand they took out once is going back in, plus we have all of that fall and that …inaudible word….but, if it was deemed necessary back 28 years ago to dredge that out, it certainly is back there now again.”


Board Member Ferguson said Dick Kelly did the work. Board Member Heimlich said County Highway Superintendent Steve Brooke told him the County hauled the dirt away. Gerry Underhill said they hauled it up on the Airport property. Blair Underhill said that Steve Brooke showed him where they put it, right there where it is coming into the creek. Gerry Underhill said, “Blair has been working on this, trying to get some attention at Airport meetings and one thing and another, and (Senator) Hershman, his suggestion was to come to you folks and explain the situation as one of the first steps. Of course the Lake Association is involved, but I guess the funds to go down and dredge that part of the lake have been put on hold by the State. I think they are going to finish the Shafer, but I don’t think the funds (for Freeman) are going to be available for a while.” Board Member Heimlich said it was his understanding they were going to get the project on Lake Shafer finished before they did Lake Freeman. He said, “You’ve probably talked to SFLECC, that would probably take care of getting the silt out, but you still have the problem… inaudible.”


Gerry Underhill stated that it is filling in both directions. Board Member Heimlich asked if SFLECC has plans for a silt trap. Blair Underhill said, “Not a silt trap. They tried that and it really didn’t work very well, but now the plan is to get the dirt out of the lake and then put it in these big huge sacks, put it up on the Airport (property) somewhere, let the sacks dry out and then they can haul the sand away. That’s the plan, but I don’t know when that is ever going to happen. I think they probably will eventually take care of the silt, it may take a few years, but the erosion, it needs at least something done to eliminate a little of it. It’s just a waste of money and time to take the sand out.” Board Member Heimlich wondered if netting would work. Surveyor Sterrett said it slopes pretty steep.


Chairman Burton asked if the Airport owns on one side. Blair Underhill said the Airport owns on both sides. Gerry Underhill said the extension of the Airport and more water coming down will add to the situation tremendously.


Chairman Burton stated, “At this point we don’t have a direction or solution or a really good suggestion. Board Member Heimlich asked if there had been any mention at the Airport Board meetings of them addressing it as part of their expansion project. Blair Underhill said he hasn’t talked about the expansion but he has talked to several people to make them aware of this serious problem so everyone is aware of it. Board Member Heimlich said they will have to meet the Drainage Ordinance.


Chairman Burton asked what the Airport Board’s response was to this current situation. Blair Underhill said at first the Airport Board didn’t think they owned the property but he showed them that they do own the property. They said they would get their engineers on it. He said he showed their engineers the problem and they saw the seriousness of it. The next time he talked to them they thought the acreage it was draining was the problem. They were the same engineers (Armstrong) that designed it originally. Blair Underhill said it is destroying the lake. He said the widest spot on the lake, the bay area, is becoming a sandbar.


Chairman Burton stated, “At this point, there is not a solution to it today. I haven’t personally been up there. I know John and Denny have.” Board Member Heimlich said he and Surveyor Sterrett plan to go back up there and look at it again. He said we also need to talk to the Airport Board, Soil and Water and SFLECC. Blair Underhill said they just wanted to make the Board aware of it. Chairman Burton said, “We are not trying to sweep it under the carpet, we are trying to find direction. I’m sure you’ll keep in touch.” It was decided to put the Underhills on the agenda for July 17, 2006.


Surveyor Sterrett reported that Townsend Tree Service bid totaled $71,295.00 and the other one, Dalton’s, was $75,714.00. Chairman Burton said each had a quote if we chose to do the snake grass, so we could selectively chose the ditches which are most infested with that, and not do a blanket coverage. Surveyor Sterrett said in this quote (Townsend) it is $144.00 per acre.


Board Member Heimlich asked who Townsend is. Secretary Kiser explained that the contact we have had is Dan Alexander who used to work for Shideler Spray Service. Townsend is from Parker City. Board Member Heimlich asked if Surveyor Sterrett knew what Counties Townsend has worked for and what equipment they use. He said we have dealt with Dalton and Shideler before. Surveyor Sterrett said he did not know, but he has heard their name before. Board Member Heimlich asked when Dalton did the spraying last. Surveyor Sterrett thought probably 2000. (2001 was the last year they got the bid.)


Chairman Burton stated, “I would suggest that we at least select a few ditches to at least try the snake grass approach instead of trying to do all of them. Those you may deem that are worse or severe and see what our results are, at least this year.” Surveyor Sterrett asked what Dalton’s quote was. Board Member Heimlich said it was $652.00 per mile or $1.63 per mixed gallon, which ever was less.


It was decided to do the select ditches that are known to have the snake grass problem. Surveyor Sterrett said he would select the one he got the complaint on, which was the Myers Ditch. Attorney Loy said “Let me draw the contract up, as I have, and the contract will say that the scouring rush thing is on an as needed basis.” Chairman Burton said, “If for nothing else, for our experience, to find out if it works, if it is affective and worth the dollar value of that investment.”


Chairman Burton stated, “Back to Townsends. They are the low bidder, but we expressed some concerns of past history and ability.” Board Member Heimlich said we haven’t dealt with them before, so obviously there has to be a first time, but I was just wondering what we knew about them. Attorney Loy stated, “Ask for references, equipment and what’s your plan for application.”


Chairman Burton asked if we chose Townsend to be approved as low bidder today, subject to getting references or should we just flat out wait. Attorney Loy said he prefers to wait. Surveyor Sterrett said we are really pressed for time. Board Member Heimlich said time wise we are kind of late anyway, that’s why I think the motion would be subject to the checking out references.


Concerning the cost to treat scouring rush, Surveyor Sterrett said if you are spraying 100 feet wide, that would be 12 acres per mile, with Townsend’s bid of $144.00 per acre the cost would be $1,745.00 per mile so that is double what Dalton’s is.


Board Member Heimlich made the motion to approve the low bid of $71,295.00 by Townsend Tree Service, subject to getting references. Board Member Ferguson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously. Attorney Loy stated Surveyor Sterrett can get references by phone and they should confirm in writing.


Meeting adjourned.