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July 3, 2006 Tape #013

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 attending were Charles Mellon, Charles Geier, Allen Howe, Jim and Rhonda Wooten.

Chairman Burton called the meeting to order and asked for the approval of minutes of the June 19, 2006 meeting. Board Member Ferguson moved to approve the minutes. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Next on the agenda, Surveyor Sterrett recognized James and Rhonda Wooten and Charlie Geier who came to the meeting to discuss an encroachment on the Joseph Kellenburger Tile Drain that was discussed at our last meeting. Surveyor Sterrett stated, “A new tool shed is built out there and it appears to be real close to the tile, so they graciously came to the meeting so we can discuss it. They have been to my office also to discuss it.” Chairman Burton said the question is actually where the tile is. Surveyor Sterrett explained, “We used the straight line between the two catch basins that are out there and that straight line was 2 ½ feet off of the new tool shed that is setting there. Charlie (Geier) thinks the tile might be a bit farther.” Charlie Geier responded, “It is about sixty foot away from the building. I’ve worked on that tile and well, there are still remnants of the old tile that we repaired on top of the ground in that area. The reason that’s not a straight line is, there’s a low swale that curves around there. That tile doesn’t run in a straight line, it runs pretty much in the bottom of that low swale through there.”

Chairman Burton stated, “The main purpose of this meeting is to notify that there IS a County Tile there and that we do like to follow the encroachment area, especially building. And, to notify that if it is possible that the tile has been compromised and there IS a problem that it was built, we weren’t notified and we didn’t agree with it and anything that might be done in the future…….and if you’re saying the tile is still sixty feet from it, it still would be within the seventy-five foot of right-of-way. We wouldn’t still do the encroachment if it is already built, right?” Attorney Loy stated, “If it is already there……” Charlie Geier interrupted, “That tile was only six to seven feet deep out there. It doesn’t take, probably forty feet is oodles, to repair it or replace that tile you know.” Chairman Burton said, “I understand. This is kind of a procedure situation we are going through here.” Charlie Geier said, “I know you have to go by the rules pretty much, but it is not a problem.”

Board Member Heimlich explained, “I think there was some indication that there might be some additional development on that property. (Mr. Wooten said not that specific tract) Well, not that specific tract, but in that area where the tile is and since that is petitioned for reconstruction that is an issue that was raised. You know, for that development if it would be better if the tile were moved one way or the other a little bit so this encroachment issue didn’t come up again. I agree, sixty foot on a tile like that is plenty, if that’s what it is, but from our indications it might be closer than that.”

Mr. Wooten said, “I have bought the adjoining three point something acres also and the tile cuts right through the middle of it and since now we are aware of it, it wouldn’t be an issue. I understand the tile goes through several lots. If you folks want to move the tile, I certainly don’t want to get too much involved with paying for that.”

Attorney Loy asked if we know exactly where the tile is. Surveyor Sterrett answered, “No, not without digging it up.” Attorney Loy asked if the tile had been relocated at some time. The answer was no. Charlie Geier explained where it is so wet out there and why the tile gets suck holes. See tape. He said the tile needs replaced because it’s been broke down so many times it is half full of mud. Attorney Loy asked if that is part of what is proposed to be reconstructed? Surveyor Sterrett answered, “Yes, through his property, through all the properties.” Charlie Geier said, “It wouldn’t be a bad idea to relocate it beings you’re going to rebuild it anyway.”

Attorney Loy stated, “They are on notice that it is there and we do have a seventy-five foot easement from the center line on each side. We have had problems in the past where people have built right up to it or on it.” Mr. Wooten stated, “If we had known it, of course we sure wouldn’t have done what we did, and we have bought a couple of houses in the past, this is the first time we ever built one. I guess unfortunately it was our assumption that since we got our building permits, we thought you people knew what you were doing issuing us a building permit. Anyway, now we are aware.”

Board Member Heimlich said, “We do need to make sure there is better communication between the Area Plan office and the Surveyor’s office. (Allen Howe commented that it is every County.) And, that both of you understood when you come in again the Area Plan office will be aware of where that tile is, as far as the placing of the buildings. (Surveyor Sterrett said AND TREES. Mr. Wooten said he moved them.). And, so, we wanted to make you aware of that before this reconstruction project proceeds. You know, if that is a problem that’s going to create some problems for development in the future, it should be addressed at the time of reconstruction.”

Chairman Burton stated, “It’s not to say that if you decide to do something with that 3.2 acres that you can’t come in and ask for an encroachment and we might grant that. But please come in and we will grant you……..” Mr. Wooten said had they known they could have put the house anywhere. He said, “We were totally unaware of it. We are aware now and if we ever do decide to build on that other spot, we will take that into consideration and put it outside of the seventy-five foot.”

Board Member Heimlich asked the status of the reconstruction, where it is on the list. Surveyor Sterrett answered, “It is coming up, maybe in a year. It is getting pretty close to being next on the list.” Mr. Wooten stated they won’t build anything else there.

Surveyor Sterrett reported, “Brian Furrer sent us a bill. I had ok’d for him to go ahead and do this. This is on the G. Kellenburger Ditch and T. Westfall Ditch north of Reynolds. He had taken the brush off of it last winter and I got a couple of calls from worried landowners that we were spending money and cutting the trees off of the ditch and I told them I didn’t know anything about it. I went out and looked at it and he had cut the trees off at his own expense. He treated the stumps and everything. I didn’t see that he hurt the slopes. There was some worry about since the trees were gone it would cause erosion on the slopes. So, when I looked at it I noticed that there were 3, 4 or 5 outlets that were broke down that WAS causing erosion. He came to me this spring and wanted to know if he could fix them and I went out and looked at them and took pictures of it. At each one there was a surface drain AND a tile outlet. He combined them both and now there is just one drain that empties into the ditch. I thought he did a fairly good job on it. So, his bill is $829.00 – one tile replaced on the Kellenburger and 4 tiles replaced on the Westfall. I don’t know if I have the bills separated out, I will separate the bills. The total bill was $1,720.00, that was materials plus he wanted $500.00 for installing six outlets. I thought I would bring it to the Board and bring it up front so I wouldn’t have any trouble with any of the other landowners. I have pictures of them before and after if the Board would like to see them.” Board Member Burton asked, “This is work that would’ve been necessary regardless of the ditch?” Surveyor Sterrett answered, “Yes, when the trees were off then you could see where the erosion was. He replaced an 18”, a 15”, two 6” and a 12”. The 12” was on the Kellenburger and the rest were on the Westfall.” Chairman Burton said this is more or less for the record.

Board Member Heimlich made a motion to approve Brian Furrer’s claim for maintenance done on the G. Kellenburger Ditch and T. Westfall Ditch. Board Member Ferguson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Surveyor Sterrett explained, “I do have it itemized here. Including the labor, the G. Kellenburger Drain will be charged $379.20 and the T. Westfall Drain $787.00, $497.50, $29.26 and $29.26 and, there were six outlets before he started and now there are only three outlets. He combined them with a catch basin.”

Surveyor Sterrett reported, “At the last meeting the Board required that I get references for Townsend Tree Service for ditch spraying and I did. They faxed me three references. Indiana Department of Transportation, Ohio Department of Transportation and Preble County Engineer Eaton Ohio. I called each one of them and they returned my calls. They are all satisfied with his work. In fact the guy from INDOT said he’s the best in the state. And in Ohio they had done brush clearing and spraying and mowing. And the other one from Ohio said he did a great job. So we went ahead and sent the contract to them and he signed it. They called last Friday and had started. He got the Arrick, Faris, Snow and Buss Ditch sprayed and probably some more by now.”

Surveyor Sterrett reported, “Mr. Angelo Valle, 103 N. Market Street, Monon, called me. That used to be the tire place on the north side of the Fern McKillip Ditch, coming into town. He sells fire extinguishers now. He thinks that tree needs to be cut down. It’s on the bank of the McKillip. I didn’t measure it. I would say it is about a thirty-six inch Cottonwood, probably seventy feet high. I said I would come and look at it, because I didn’t know where it was at.” Chairman Burton asked if it is obstructing the water. Surveyor Sterrett answered no. Board Member Heimlich asked where the tree is. It is right behind his building in our right-of-way. Chairman Burton asked why he wants the tree removed. Surveyor Sterrett said he didn’t know, but he assumes Mr. Valle thinks it might fall on his building. Charlie Mellon said it is pretty much on the east side of his building and as far as a storm going through there, storms from the southwest wouldn’t hurt. Chairman Burton asked if he is actually the property owner or does he rent? Surveyor Sterrett did not know, it is AAA Valle Fire.

Chairman Burton said, “Well, since we don’t know if he is the owner of the property and you did not see an eminent danger that the tree was going to fall and cause damage either to the ditch or to the building?” Surveyor Sterrett said, “I would say no.” Board Member Heimlich said he wonders why he wouldn’t cut it himself. Surveyor Sterrett said, “I wouldn’t cut it. It would take quite an operation to get that trimmed up and cut down.” Chairman Burton said, “If he is actually the property owner does he have to notify us to take it down if he chose to himself?” Board Member Heimlich said, “Usually they don’t. It is his tree.” Chairman Burton said, “That would be my answer to this whole scenario, that it is his tree and if he doesn’t cause damage to the ditch it is his discretion, not ours.”

Chairman Burton said, “From the Board’s perspective we’re not acting on it?” Board Member Heimlich said, “At this point, unless it is a danger to his property, it could always blow down on the building or something. But you didn’t see that.” Surveyor Sterrett said he did not see that. Chairman Burton said, “But that would be an act of nature.” Surveyor Sterrett said he will inform him. Surveyor Sterrett asked if right through there is where they cut the trees down and weren’t supposed to. Board Member Heimlich said yes, they had to go back and plant trees back in that area for a lady who didn’t want her trees cut (Blount). Chairman Burton said, “So at this point, (Surveyor Sterrett said he could come to a meeting.) either that or, it is his baby.”

Next on the agenda Surveyor Sterrett discussed a Certificate of Approval for Construction in a floodway that he received from DNR concerning SFLECC taking silt out of Lake Freeman down by the Airport property at the end of Faris (Lane) Ditch. He said this issue was discussed at the last Drainage Board meeting with Blair Underhill. He said, “This is DNR’s approval to remove silt. So I called Daryl Johns (Exec. Dir. Of SFLECC) and he said every year they have to get a permit by DNR.” Board Member Heimlich asked if he said when they would be on Lake Freeman. Surveyor Sterrett reported that Daryl Johns said next year. He said he didn’t know if that meant they were going to dredge it next year. Surveyor Sterrett said he thinks Mr. Underhill is coming back next meeting. Board Member Heimlich said, “Yes, he is supposed to come in two weeks. I need to talk to the Airport Board before then and see what kind of drainage plan they anticipate for the expansion or whether they have even thought about it.” Chairman Burton said, “For my information, the expansion is to the north, they really don’t touch anything to the south.” Board Member Heimlich said, “They are still going to have to have a drainage plan for the whole property.” Chairman Burton said, “There is enough grass, plus that brush, other than planting trees down there on the south end, that’s a good watershed as far as not letting it go straight in to that. The issue is more of the way it currently is than what the Airport contributes to it.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “He seemed to be complaining about where they put the silt before.” Chairman Burton said, “How does that change what we would do today? That is then and this is now. That was my idea when viewing that. How do you tie the two together?”

Surveyor Sterrett reported, “We have the assessments ready for the Auditor on the Maintenance and Reconstruction of the Carter-Hines Branch 3 Drain. You gentlemen need to sign it.” The Drainage Board members signed the document.

Surveyor Sterrett reported receiving a billing from the Cass County Surveyor for White County’s share of Engineering fees on the Indian Creek project. Cass County has fifty-four percent of the acres. Fulton County has twenty-two percent, Pulaski County has eighteen percent and White County has six percent. Surveyor Sterrett explained, “Right now they’ve hired an engineering firm to do the assessments. The engineering firm has now billed Cass County Surveyor. Cass County is in charge of the ditch and they will be collecting the funds off of it. We are putting it on Maintenance. They want us to pay our six percent of the engineering bills.”

Board Member Heimlich said, “That was the understanding we had. Denny’s question was, if we pay it, normally that would be reimbursed from the assessment roll when the project starts. His question was, if WE pay that now and the funds come back into Cass County, do we get reimbursed from Cass County for our portion of the Engineering. Did you talk to anyone over there?”

Secretary Kiser stated, “I talked to Joyce (Surveyor Weaver) in Pulaski County, well I actually talked to Jenny her daughter. They are like us, how are we going to pay this? And then get our money back? They didn’t know what they were going to do either. They were going to talk with their Board. I didn’t call Jenny (Cass Surveyor). I wanted to see if you (John Heimlich) remembered more about what was said. Was she going to reimburse the Counties?” Board Member Heimlich said, “Well, I assumed that would be the way it would work, but really we just talked more about how we were going to divide it up. We agreed to divide it up by the percent of acres each County had in it.” Secretary Kiser asked, “You haven’t had the Maintenance Hearing? I wondered why she didn’t get it on Maintenance then we’d have an account for it.” Board Member Heimlich said, “It is kind of complicated. There was a group that filed court action to delay it or alter it and that is what lead to hiring a firm to review the assessments.”

Secretary Kiser stated, “I think what we can do is take it out of General Drain Improvement, Maintenance Repay. Connie (Auditor Deputy) is going to say we don’t have an account on that ditch. IF she can do that without it being on Maintenance……” Chairman Burton said, “Cass County receives all the money from this?” Secretary Kiser said that Pulaski County Surveyor’s office had the same thought she has as to why Cass County doesn’t pay all the engineering fees since she is going to collect all the monies. Board Member Heimlich said the money will come from that overall assessment once there is a rate set and we start collecting. He said, “I don’t know, we discussed it and Cass County talked like they had plenty of money in their fund.” Secretary Kiser explained, “We had something like this with the Ella Baker Drain. We were getting ready for reconstruction and had it flown and everything, but it was on Maintenance. What we did at that time, we took it out of Reconstruction because we thought we were going to do Reconstruction and then we just paid it back out of Maintenance later on (after landowners dropped the Reconstruction). Board Member Heimlich said, “I have to call over to Cass County because they left a message last week. They want to have a meeting in a week or two. I do have to talk to her about a meeting and I will raise this question.” Surveyor Sterrett said there is a meeting set for July 18 at 2:00 P.M. Board Member Heimlich said he does have that written down. He said he will call and see what they had in mind and we can address it at our meeting on July 18, 2006. Secretary Kiser said claims go in on July 24, 2006. She explained, “I think we can do it as far as State Board of Accounts is concerned because we can do $1,500.00 worth of work on a drain that is not on Maintenance and take it out of General Drain Improvement.” Chairman Burton asked how much our share was. The invoice is for $653.10, six percent of the billing from Banning Engineering. (They have billed Cass County for $10, 885.00 on two invoices.)

Surveyor Sterrett recognized Contractor Allen Howe who was present to discuss a work order on John Coble’s property (in the meeting Surveyor said Milt Cole by mistake) where all the willows are. Surveyor Sterrett said he sent an order to Dennis Sparks and he said he didn’t have equipment big enough to do the job because the tile is broken down and there are so many willows over the tile, so he re-sent the work order to Howe Excavating. Allen Howe stated, “I haven’t looked at it this time. I know what’s out there. It will take considerable amount of work. I guess Denny and I want to know how many willows are we going to clear. Because originally I worked on it I don’t know how many years ago, the last work order maybe three years ago, and the Board was supposed to spray the willows I guess.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “The first time I was ever out there the willows weren’t that big and now they have taken over. We are having them sprayed this year if he can get back in there to spray it.” Allen said, “I guess the whole thing needs cleared, the willows off all the tile.” Surveyor Sterrett said he was just going to have it sprayed so Allen could get in there to open it up. Allen said the trouble is to clear it, to get to them with the excavator. He said, “How much money are you wanting to spend? Let me put it this way, that tile is junk and I have preached and harped. They did a waterway project in there. Jerry Gutwein did it. There’s a twenty-four inch main tile comes through Carroll County, comes into this. Then there’s three lines take off from it. One goes into Idaville that all the sewage was draining through and I think they have cured that but you still get all the surface water from the streets. Then one goes clear north across Highway 24, and then one goes up around Eastlawn School. The amount of water going through there is just …inaudible…..” Surveyor Sterrett said he thinks there’s three mains and two branches, but that’s not where we are having problems. Allen agreed but said, “There’s a lot of water coming through there. I’m saying I don’t know if it can be fixed where…….” Surveyor Sterrett said that’s the one (C. M. Mertz #2 Drain) we are having a Maintenance Modification Hearing on at our next meeting.

Chairman Burton asked, “So your question is how much do we want to spend, what’s the cap?” Allen Howe said, “How far do you want to go? Really all the willows need cleaned off of it, IF they ARE plugging it up. Denny and I don’t know for sure what’s there.” Surveyor Sterrett stated, “There’s probably fifteen hundred feet of willows. They may not be ALL on the tile, but they’re close enough. I think you cleaned them off once didn’t you?” Allen Howe answered, “Yes, it was completely cleaned. But it is just mucky, it is just a bad hole, catching all the water. Like I said, the main line downstream, I don’t know if that is part of the trouble, if there’s so much water pressure in it that the water is backing up and then it is causing the tile to blow up or what. Inaudible. But it’s a mess.”

Surveyor Sterrett stated, “When I was out there, the one hole at the north end of the willows had water over it, two foot. Then it was running over the ground a thousand feet south it was going back in the ground. It’s blocked in there somewhere.” Allen Howe made a suggestion, “Can I make a suggestion, since you are going to reassess them anyway. Cobles aren’t happy. The last time I worked on it, it never dried up because there is just so much ground water. To fix it right in my opinion would be to go back to Carroll County and ……inaudible…..or make the waterways more intense in the whole project and try to take the surface water in an open waterway and replace sections of the tile……inaudible…..you’re talking probably a mile. I’m kind of putting a band aid on a sore that’s going to fester up again….” Surveyor Sterrett said that would be reconstruction. Allen said, “As long as they are wanting to farm the ground you are going to have to maintain it somewhat to where the water won’t run across the ground. Maybe for a temporary fix, digging that open ditch through this area…..inaudible (see tape)”

The Board said it is left up to the discretion of the Surveyor. Allen agreed that he will work on it. Surveyor Sterrett said we might wait until it dries up. Allen said there is no problem of him going through crops to get there. Board Member Heimlich said these people are coming in to the Maintenance Modification Hearing at our next meeting so we can discuss it with the landowners at that time and get their input. Surveyor Sterrett said if you go out there and look at it, you can tell it is blocked at the north end and where it is going back in the ground, but you can’t really tell what’s going on with all the willows in there. Allen said it is 4 or 5 foot deep. He said, “Do you want me to, before the next meeting dig some up, dig downstream. I’ve had it dug up before and that tile has been in the ground so long it is all quartered and broke. I think there is just so much water and water pressure……..inaudible…………you are going to have maintenance on holes like that every spring. Why not do sections until you get them all replaced and not have to maintain them. I can dig up…inaudible…and downstream…inaudible…..I can check those two spots again. Maybe if you get back in there and spray this summer and maybe find what’s blocking it.”

Chairman Burton adjourned the meeting.