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January 2, 2007 Tape #001

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, John C. Heimlich and Ronald Schmierer, Attorney George W. Loy, Surveyor Dennis W. Sterrett, Drainage Assistant Mary Sterrett and Secretary Romana Kiser in attendance.

Others in attendance were Mike Rice, Charles Mellon and Ralph Hall.

Chairman Burton brought the meeting to order and asked for the approval of the minutes of the December 18, 2006 meeting. Board Member Heimlich so moved. Board Member Burton seconded. Minutes approved unanimously.

Next on the agenda was the re-organization of the Drainage Board. Board Member Heimlich made the motion to make Ronald Schmierer President and Steve Burton Vice-President for 2007. Board Member Burton seconded that motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Board Member Heimlich made the motion to re-appoint George W. Loy as Drainage Board Attorney for 2007. Board Member Burton seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Newly appointed Chairman Schmierer addressed Ralph Hall’s presence to discuss the Lydia Criswell Branch of the J. T. Williams Drain. Chairman Schmierer said he got a copy of the minutes of the meeting in 1999 when Ralph Hall was in and they discussed the Board taking the tile over and we never did do anything with it. He did not think Ralph Hall gave us the go-ahead. Ralph Hall stated he thought it was finished when he was in here. Chairman Schmierer said, “According to the minutes it was never ok’d was it?” Surveyor Sterrett said, “Ralph signed a paper here in December of 1999. They accepted Plan A is what they accepted.” Chairman Schmierer stated he had not seen that before. Board Member Burton asked, “Was the handwritten note you had the last time, Plan A, B and C?” Surveyor Sterrett answered, “Yes. Plan A was to maintain sixteen inch tile of Ralph Hall’s and maintain original drain from mouth of tile at John T. Williams open ditch to a point seven hundred feet west of County Road 600 East.” Chairman Schmierer asked Board Member Heimlich if he had seen that paper before. Board Member Heimlich said Surveyor Sterrett showed him the paper last week.

Board Member Burton said his (Ralph Hall’s) bill was $2,200.00. Board Member Heimlich said the drain is in debt $3,782.00. Chairman Schmierer said, “I was reading in the minutes that some of the work was done along the State Highway and the State Highway paid for that?” Surveyor Sterrett said, “They paid for their part of that. They put a new tile under the road. The way it came about was, we had a tile hole there on MacOwan and I sent Jim Simons out to repair it. He repaired some of it and then we thought it was blocked under the highway so the County Highway came out and jetted the tile and got to about the middle of the road and couldn’t get any farther. I then called the State, they brought their jet vac out and they couldn’t get any farther either so they decided to replace the tile under the road. They replaced the surface drain and the twelve inch tile under the road. That bill was $4,900.00 after it was done. They paid their part. We paid for hooking it up and Jim’s time out there digging it up.”

Chairman Schmierer said this must be one that the maintenance hasn’t been raised on. Board Member Heimlich said it has been raised, it is three dollars an acre but there’s been a lot of work done. Surveyor Sterrett said it was put on maintenance in 1995. Chairman Schmierer said if he reads it right, it still needs a lot of work done. Surveyor Sterrett said Ralph had fifteen holes repaired. He doesn’t know if it was on the old one or the new one. Ralph said on both. Surveyor Sterrett explained, “We got his bill from the Auditor. That’s why I brought it up.” Chairman Schmierer said, “So it is already $3,700.00 in debt.” Board Member Heimlich said, “And Ralph has submitted a bill for $2,200.00 and it brings in $1,700.00 a year. You are talking over four years to pay it off, if nothing else is done.”

Surveyor Sterrett said, “I’ll bring up another point. Last week Wayne Hunt called me up, and in 2003 we had sent him a petition for the Williams open ditch, which pays this tile ditch, they’re all on the same. So he had submitted a petition to clean the Williams Ditch. At the time, in 2003, I sent him a petition for Maintenance. So, I don’t know if he asked Ralph to sign it. He’s got John Fielding has signed it and Wayne has signed it. Chairman Schmierer said, “John Fielding is up on the far end of that. So, the maintenance for this (Lydia Criswell Tile) is paid by the (J. T.) Williams Drain. So how much does it have to be raised to get it out of debt?” Board Member Heimlich figured if $3.00 an acre brings in $1,700.00 then doubled at $3,400.00 it would still take two years to pay it off.” Board Member Heimlich said, “We’ve had some that we have raised the maintenance for 3 or 4 years as a part of a project and then dropped it back down. Now, my understanding, this isn’t separate, when you say it is $3,700.00 in debt…..” Surveyor Sterrett explained, “That’s the John Williams Drain which includes the Lydia Criswell Tile.” Board Member Burton asked, “So the whole thing brings in $1,700.00 or the tile does?” Surveyor Sterrett said the whole watershed does, 747 acres.” See tape for assessment questions raised by Ralph Hall after splitting George Crosby’s farm. Surveyor Sterrett said it was on the assessment roll.

Board Member Heimlich stated, “The other thing, Ralph pays $3.00 an acre but that is a variable rate, different rates and I don’t know what determines the variations. I wonder if the ones on the branch pay more than the ones on the ditch. I don’t know what the range is from the lowest to the highest. The average is about $2.50 an acre.” See tape for discussion of some of the rates on the assessment roll. Surveyor Sterrett explained it says variable but he doesn’t know why, they are all combined on the J.T. Williams Drain so you can’t tell if they are on the Criswell Tile.

Chairman Schmierer said, “I think the least you are going to be able to do is set up a Hearing to raise the rates because you’re going to have to get it out of debt.” Board Member Heimlich said, “If you’ve got a petition for reconstruction, if we do that like we have most of them, as maintenance, raise the maintenance for so many years to do it.” Board Member Burton said, “But it was for maintenance not reconstruction.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “When I sent him the petition I put maintenance on it, I don’t know if that makes any difference.” Board Member Heimlich said, “I don’t know as that would make any difference. You’re still talking digging the ditch.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “Yes, there’s a bunch of brush on it and after I got to looking at it, there’s a lot of brush, and it needs dipped, too.” Board Member Heimlich said, “I guess that would be my feeling, wait until you do that and raise it enough to cover it, over 3 or 4 years.”

Ralph Hall asked if the reconstruction assessments would be the same proportions as maintenance proportions. Surveyor Sterrett said that would be up to the Board to decide. Board Member Heimlich said they would need to go back in the minutes or in the files and see how that variable was arrived at. He asked when the J. T. Williams Ditch was dug. Ralph Hall said it was dug by machine in 1943; it was reconstructed in 1972 and 1973. He said he was chief in organizing the cleanout and everybody got the same rate when we reconstructed in 1973. He said he set up 600 acres which he thought was the watershed. Board Member Heimlich wondered when the Criswell Branch was established as a County drain. Ralph Hall didn’t know that. Surveyor Sterrett said we probably have records, we have a legal description. Secretary Kiser said according to minutes the Criswell Drain was added to maintenance in 1995.

Board Member Heimlich stated, “I guess as far as the bill, according to that (signed paper) we had agreed to maintain that portion.” Attorney Loy asked what kind of work was done. Surveyor Sterrett answered, “I have a bill Ralph submitted from JVS, which is Jim Simons from Idaville. Work performed: repaired tile in fifteen holes. He used seventy-five foot of fifteen inch tile, a couple adaptors, 24 hours labor and twenty-five and a half hours on the backhoe, which came to $2,197.55.” Attorney Loy asked, “All on our regulated portion?” Surveyor Sterrett stated, “I’m not sure, I wasn’t out there.” Chairman Schmierer said, “Well, it’s all our regulated portion now according to the letter we have here where Ralph signed it over to us. I was never aware it had been signed over to us. I don’t think you were (aware of that) at the last meeting were you?” Surveyor Sterrett answered, “No, I wasn’t.” Secretary Kiser explained, “After these minutes where Chairman Schmierer said all we need to do is get a letter of consent from Ralph Hall then for us to take it over, and it was never brought back to the Board after that. That’s when the Surveyor (Raderstorf) left and we got a new Surveyor and…. (Chairman Schmierer said “It fell through the cracks.”) (The signed document was found in the ditch file in the Surveyor’s office. It had just not been brought back to a Drainage Board meeting.)

Surveyor Sterrett asked when the work was done. Ralph Hall stated, “The work was done in October or November, right after bean harvest.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “His bill is dated November 11, 2005 and your check, I have a copy of your check I think you submitted to the Auditor, is dated March 21, 2006.” Chairman Schmierer said, “I don’t think that makes any difference. I think we obligated ourselves. He signed the contract to have us take it over, you have that there. I think we need to have him contact you before he has work done. Contact the Surveyor; you see that much work should’ve been quoted. You need to contact the Surveyor so he can get quotes to get it fixed. By Statute we have to quote them when they’re over so much money.”

The Board Members were in agreement that it is the Board’s responsibility to pay for the repairs, but Attorney Loy asked Ralph Hall, “It was an emergency repair, right?” Board Member Heimlich answered, “Yes. He had tile holes. I make a motion to pay the $2,200.00 ($2,197.55) bill and the other issue was the debt (maintenance fund) that the ditch was in already – that we incorporate that into the project that has been petitioned so we raise the maintenance for how ever many years it takes to pay for the project when it comes up, to get that out of debt. But I move we go ahead and pay this bill.” Board Member Burton seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously. Surveyor Sterrett asked, “We go ahead and pay it out of Maintenance Repay? It comes out of General Fund and then it gets paid back.” Board Member Heimlich said, “That’s going to increase the debt now on the J. T. Williams Drain to $5,900.00 and when State Board of Accounts looks at it, tell them there is a project planned and we are going to raise it to take care of that. We’ll do a maintenance modification and figure out how much we need to pay for it.”

Attorney Loy cautioned Ralph Hall saying, “If something like this comes up in the future, give the Surveyor’s office a call in ADVANCE.” Surveyor Sterrett stated, “I’ll come out and look at it and get it fixed.”

Surveyor Sterrett asked the Board for a motion to accept the petition on the J. T. Williams Drain. Board Member Heimlich so moved. Board Member Burton seconded the motion. The motion to accept the petition for maintenance on the J. T. Williams Drain was approved unanimously.

Mike Rice representing REMC addressed the Board concerning encroaching on the Buss Ditch for power lines on Sixth Street for the new hospital construction. Chairman Schmierer asked how close they want to go. Board Member Heimlich asked if this is going to be poles or underground. Mike Rice answered it is poles across the ditch. Surveyor Sterrett showed a drawing. Chairman Schmierer asked what do we do if we have to maintain it? Is it their responsibility to remove the poles or what? Surveyor Sterrett stated, “Right here the culvert comes under the road and we might have trouble if we had to replace that culvert, getting into those lines right there.” Mike Rice said, “We could cover these, isolate them if you were going to do any work right there. We would never be able to take it out because it is going to be the hospital.”

Attorney Loy stated, “Our typical Consent to Encroach include provisions that you can locate poles, garage or parking lot, or whatever we are talking about, but it is conditioned on, if in the future removal of that stuff is required in order to maintain or reconstruct or whatever, it is all at their cost, their additional cost. This is a little bit different I guess.”

Board Member Heimlich said, “If that culvert was replaced, do you think, the pole wouldn’t have to be moved would it?” Surveyor Sterrett said, “Well, it might be hard to work underneath those lines.” Mike Rice said, “Well, I don’t know how far this is from the road, but it sits quite a ways back.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “That’s twenty-five feet back from the right-of-way, about 55 feet from the road. This is probably on the right-of-way here.” Mike Rice said, “Yes, it’s probably on the west edge of the right-of-way.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “It looked to me like the line crossed at just about the end of the pipe. As far as dipping the ditch, I don’t think we would have a problem.” Chairman Schmierer asked, “The road culvert would be the biggest thing?” Surveyor Sterrett said, “And we probably could work under that, I don’t know. I think he said it could be covered with plastic.” Mike Rice said, “It could be covered. These guide wires would have to stay in place.” Board Member Burton said, “Worst case scenario, which probably won’t happen, if it is an issue, not knowing what that highway is going to do down there, if you had a run-around. You would re-locate poles for a run-around anyway. So if it was an issue, if the road got widened or whatever, the re-location of the lines would be non-White County, right?” Mike Rice said correct.

Chairman Schmierer said, “Well, I think you have to draw up a contract for them to encroach anyhow.” Attorney Loy asked, “This is on property that the hospital purchased?” Surveyor Sterrett said, “Partly, half of it is probably on the south side.” (Kraybill property) Attorney Loy said, “I think in this case we will just draw up an agreement between REMC and ourselves. Anything done on the ditch requiring relocation or whatever, it is your expense.” Mike Rice said that is acceptable.

Board Member Heimlich made a motion to grant Consent to Encroach to REMC for power lines (for the new hospital) over the Buss Ditch. Board Member Burton seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Surveyor Sterrett presented a letter from Jason Latta requesting a drainage waiver in Honey Creek Township. Surveyor Sterrett stated, “Mr. John Heimlich and I went out and looked at this the other day. He is building a big tool shed of over ten thousand square feet.” Chairman Schmierer asked if the water was going to affect anyone but him. Board Member Heimlich said, “That’s what we wanted to see. The land around him is in his mother’s name and he has power-of-attorney for her (Kenny Latta). So basically it is all Latta ground. I don’t see any problem with a waiver on it.”

Board Member Burton made a motion to grant a waiver from the Drainage Ordinance to Jason Latta for the construction of a large tool shed in Honey Creek Township. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Surveyor Sterrett presented a petition for maintenance on the W. W. Raub Drain in Big Creek Township from Ray Culver. Surveyor Sterrett stated, “The Raub drain is east of Chalmers. I think it was cleaned out in the 50’s.” Chairman Schmierer asked who owns most of the ground, Culver? Surveyor Sterrett said Whitaker. He showed a tile coming in to the ditch and stated it is under water. He said, “When the ditch gets to this bend it falls off quite a bit so we are probably going to stop right here (indicated on map). We have it surveyed but I don’t have any numbers on it yet. There is no brush, about ten trees. I thought we would do it on maintenance.” Chairman Schmierer asked if there is enough money in it to do it on maintenance. Surveyor Sterrett said he thinks so. Board Member Heimlich said it looks like about three-quarters of a mile. Surveyor Sterrett said, “The last time they did it, I don’t have a date, the estimate was $6,300.00 and I don’t think there’s that much in there now, but I don’t think it will cost that much to do it.” (There is $4,000.00 in the maintenance fund.)

Board Member Heimlich made a motion to accept the petition from Ray Culver for maintenance on the W. W. Raub Drain in Big Creek Township. Board Member Burton seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Surveyor Sterrett reported on the J. M. Bess Tile that runs through the site of the proposed ethanol plant north of Reynolds saying, “This one is just getting started. Here is a letter we got from the engineer. There is a regulated drain running through the site.” (Map displayed – location of drain indicated) Chairman Schmierer asked who it will affect. Surveyor Sterrett said just them. Board Member Heimlich stated this is all ground that they are buying. Surveyor Sterrett stated, “We don’t know for sure about this end down here, whether there is anything tied into it. This is woods down to this corner right here. So I doubt if any tile comes through the woods. My help and I went out there and looked at it. There is an air well here and here and the water in this air well was going that way, not to the Fraser Ditch. So I came back and called Ron Allen up and he didn’t realize there was a County tile in his field. I told him the water in that air well is running east and he said ‘I know, I tiled everything east of CR 25 E to the east, to the Diener Ditch.’ There is an air well here that is old and the water is standing in it. We couldn’t tell which way it was going but it’s got to be on that tile there. We never got back to here and the outlet his down here and it is running probably a third full.”

Chairman Schmierer said, “I guess my question would be until they actually purchase the ground, do we want to vacate that tile?” Board Member Heimlich asked what the procedure to vacate the tile is. Surveyor Sterrett said thirty day notice. Attorney Loy stated, “There has to be a Hearing scheduled, all owners affected given notice, and then you follow the same procedure you do as for a reconstruction.” Board Member Burton said, “So to your knowledge there are no other owners.” Surveyor Sterrett said, “Not to my knowledge, because the Holcomb Tile is runs here and it looks like the drainage divide is right here. This water goes this way and this water goes this way. The only possible, there could be somebody coming under the railroad tying into this but I doubt it. So do we need a petition from them?” Attorney Loy said it would be helpful, I would prefer you do.

Surveyor Sterrett said, “Todd (Engineer Frauhiger) is in Florida and he got 100 pages submitted to him. Todd is in Florida. I talked to Todd this morning. This is their detention area here. They are going to re-do this tile with a 15 inch precast concrete with rubber gaskets at joints. Todd thought he had them talked into vacating it all and them maintain it themselves. If anyone pays maintenance on it, it will be them. That was one of the questions, they said will White County maintain the outfall pipe and control structure? Or is the total outfall system the total responsibility of the site owner. They want to know what is the means and method to convert the subsurface drain to a control storm water release system and is this conversion possible in a single drainage meeting?” Board Member Heimlich said, “Don’t they realize the County is going to maintain through assessments which they are going to pay?”

See tape for who should be notified. See tape for conversation on who might need to be notified. Surveyor Sterrett thought we should notify whoever owns the woods. Zarse, Tom Diener, Westphal, Deb Allen and most of it is Ron Allen. Surveyor Sterrett said we won’t be able to vacate it by the January 15, 2007 meeting. It will be a month from when we get the notices sent out. It was decided to put it on the agenda for the second meeting in February which will be Tuesday, February 20, 2007. We can go ahead and review the drainage plan.

Surveyor Sterrett reported on plans for maintenance on the Mertz and Muck Drain. Surveyor Sterrett stated, “We have that surveyed. It was petitioned for maintenance back in November 5, 2004 and approved by the Board on November 15, 2004. There is $61,000.00 in the fund. This print is from our GIS, it is one of the drains Plexis had on. This is the watershed. This is Idaville and Burnettsville. This is the Idaville blacktop. Back in 1980 they did this same project. This is all mucked in right here. This Muck Branch is in really bad shape. It was the same type of project in 1980. My question, I wanted to do it under maintenance. My estimate is $21,365.00. Do you want to have a landowners’ meeting? The last time it was collected was 2002.” Chairman Schmierer said, “I wouldn’t know why we would not do it under maintenance.” Board Member Heimlich agreed. Surveyor Sterrett said his estimate of $21,365.00 is probably high. He said there is a little brush at the top of the Muck Branch. Chairman Schmierer said to schedule a landowners’ meeting on it. Send notice out this week and have it next meeting, which Chairman Schmierer announced is going to be at 1:30 P. M. on January 15, 2007. The newspaper should be notified.

Surveyor Sterrett stated, “It is also in Cass County. Out of 16,844 acres Cass County adds 240 acres. So, I was going to send them a letter asking them to waive their rights. I was going to send them a map of what we were going to do.” Board Member Heimlich said otherwise we would have to have a joint board.

Chairman Schmierer asked if there were a lot of remonstrances on the Indian Creek project. Board Member Heimlich answered, “Yes, I would be surprised if it didn’t end up in court. Three and a half miles of Little Indian goes through White County. We had a Hearing before Christmas and we continued it.” (January 9, 2007)

Surveyor Sterrett reported, “We had given a work order to Stoker Emond in October to explore the tile (Pugh) because WITKO didn’t think it was working right. He has it opened up now. It had some roots in it; we think that is the problem. He has about 75 foot dug out and has to dig out some more to do.”

Attorney Loy asked Surveyor Sterrett, “Do you have a recurring problem like with Ralph Hall’s, with people doing work and then wanting to be paid for it?” Surveyor Sterrett answered, “No, that hasn’t been a problem.” Chairman Schmierer said, “We sent that letter out several years ago” Attorney Loy said, “Should those be put on the ditch assessments again?” Board Member Heimlich said it probably wouldn’t hurt to send out a reminder. Attorney Loy gave Surveyor Sterrett a copy of a statement letter that went to the Treasurer before, for the Surveyor to copy and give notice to the Treasurer to put the statement on billing again this year.

See tape for conversation from Charlie Mellon about hearsay on the cleaning of the (Harp-Helfrick Ditch) canal area above Buffalo. Charlie wanted to make sure the money didn’t come out of their maintenance fund.

Chairman Schmierer adjourned the meeting.