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August 6, 2007 Tape #016


The White County Drainage Board convened at 10:30 A.M. in the Commissioners’ Room of the White County Building, Monticello, Indiana with Board Members Ronald Schmierer, John C. Heimlich and Steve Burton, Attorney George W. Loy, Surveyor Dennis Sterrett, Drainage Assistant Mary Sterrett and Secretary Jamie Rozzi in attendance.


Others in attendance were Don Burton and Charlie Mellon.


Chairman Schmierer opened the meeting asking for approval of the minutes for the July 16, 2007 meeting. Board Member Burton so moved. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. The minutes were approved unanimously.


The second item on the agenda is to approve the petition for Vacation of the J.M. Timmons Branch #5 and Branch #1 of Branch #5. Chairman Schmierer asked if this was the tile that is located on the Smolek property. “Yes, I will show you where it is located on GIS,” Surveyor Sterrett replied.


Chairman Schmierer asked, “Is the entire tile on Smolek’s property?” Surveyor Sterrett replied, “No. The tile supposedly runs from here, up through the Smolek, Miller, and Ploss properties and ends over here (Schmitz property). Then there is a branch that runs through the properties of Smolek and Wells and ends right in here (SE corner of Miller property). There is an air well located right there on the Smolek property and it is actually open right here. Ray Smolek has dug a ditch here and one here and that tile is all on him except where it crosses here. The Millers have retiled their entire field to the south.”


Smolek carried the petition to vacate and returned it to the Surveyor’s office with three signatures: Jerry Lohrman (farms Miller’s property), Richard Ploss, and Ray Smolek. The Miller’s have retiled their fields and it all drains south to the Timmons. Chairman Schmierer commented, “Why didn’t Miller sign the petition?” Surveyor Sterrett replied, “I don’t know. I believe the person that farms the Miller property (Jerry Lohrman) has bought that property on contract. I asked Mike Smolek about it. It is still in Miller’s name. It looks like EGJ, Inc.”


Surveyor Sterrett continued, “The tile has to be cut off through here on the Smolek property. So, it is not taking any water from the east. The tile still ends here, but he wants to vacate the tile and put his own in. He is digging a pond south of the buildings, so we are going to have a hearing on it in 30 days.”


We are sending the letters to the landowners today after we get the approval of the petition in order to have the hearing. Chairman Schmierer entertained a motion to approve the Petition for the Vacation of the J.M. Timmons Branch #5 and Branch #1 of Branch #5 Drains. Member Heimlich so moved. Member Burton seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


Surveyor Sterrett also showed the 1951 aerial map and pointed out both Smolek’s property and the tile. “So do you think it is pretty well chopped up anyway?” Chairman Schmierer asked. Surveyor Sterrett replied, “Yes, the only place the tile could be in is right through here and when he was digging the pond Mike Ezra said that the tile was in such bad shape he thought they would replace it down to the ditch and drain to the pond. He was going to flush it out and Ray was going to pay for it. This is not on maintenance by itself; it is on maintenance with the Timmons ditch (not on maintenance). There will not be any funds that we would have to change.”


Fritz Solomon called me last week and I went out to look at the A.C. Arrick tile. “Is this on the west side of his property?” Chairman Schmierer asked. “Yes,” Surveyor Sterrett answered. “What is wrong now?” Chairman Schmierer asked. “Well, they have a sediment trap on it. It’s a tile and it is 50-75 feet. The tile is dug up and it is open. He thinks it needs cleaned out.” This tile runs across 400 E comes down through here and runs between the garage and the house on the property on the north side of the highway and then runs under US24 and exits right here.


I went back with his son to look at it. I walked out on the outlet of the ditch and stuck my level rod down in there and there was still 2 feet of free-board, but I didn’t do the whole length of the tile. There are some willows growing up in here and around and he wanted those cut down. He thinks it needs dipped out again.


Our office looked up some minutes on prior work. A reconstruction may have been done on that tile in 1988 or 1990. From minutes dated June 6, 1988, “Surveyor Milligan also noted that Berdell Solomon on the A.C. Arrick ditch indicated that he has a settling basin that needs to be cleaned. Mr. Milligan is to get a contractor to clean out the silt.”


In minutes dated July 16, 1990, “Dean Fleck advised that Berdell Solomon had cleaned a portion of the A.C. Arrick ditch and wants the temporary settling pond to remain. Mr. Milligan stated that the maintenance fund should pay for the work performed on the ditch. Dean Fleck was to get a claim form to Mr. Solomon.”


Finally, from minutes dated May 7, 2001, “There were complaints on the north side of the highway. Chairman Schmierer asked if that was where the catch basin is down there on Fritz’s that has to be cleaned out every so often. Surveyor Raderstorf answered, “It runs through the west of Fritz Solomon’s. There is a pond out there. This tile runs into the pond and then there is an outlet coming out of the pond and then there is an outlet coming out of the pond and it goes on down. I don’t know where the catch basin is. Chairman Schmierer stated that Fritz says there is a catch basin that needs cleaned out.”


Chairman Schmierer stated that he did not think that it was cleaned in 2001. Member Heimlich stated that he remembered that there was some work done on the other end up north of that location. Surveyor Sterrett stated that he noticed that it is still wet on the north side of the highway.


Fritz has a fence around the area, about a 100’ x 100’. Chairman Schmierer asked, “Are we able to get in there to clean it out?” Surveyor Sterrett replied that there is a 16 foot gate there, but you can’t really tell because of the brush. Chairman Schmierer asked, “How much money is in that tile fund?” Surveyor Sterrett replied, “There is $2,500.00. It brings in $927.00 per year. It is at $1.00 per acre.”


“If we cleaned that out it would probably relieve that water north of there.” Chairman Schmierer stated. “It might,” Surveyor Sterrett replied. Surveyor Sterrett showed several photos of the site. The outlet is difficult to see because of the willows and other brush. The outlet must be working because the water is down to the bottom of the pipe. Surveyor Sterrett said that he stuck his level rod down in there and got about 2 feet and there was about a foot of silt. There are two pipes that come in there. The one is working, but the other one may be broke down.


Chairman Schmierer asked, “What is your opinion, do you think it needs taken care of?” Surveyor Sterrett stated, “Well, we probably need to get the willows off of it. They are not helping the tile. I suppose that we could get an excavator out there and dip it out and get the brush off of it.”


“How much is the fall there? Is it about a 5 foot fall?” Member Burton asked. Surveyor Sterrett replied, “Yes, it is probably about 5 or 6 feet.”


“You could probably get someone in with a backhoe then, right?” Member Burton asked. “I don’t think a backhoe will get it. It will probably have to be an excavator and they could probably get it done in a half-hour to an hour.”


“So are you just going to go in and take the willows out or are you going to dip it out?” Member Burton asked. Surveyor Sterrett then addressed the board, “What do you think we should do at this point? Mr. Solomon wants to grade the dirt down and level the dirt that is there now. He wants to haul the dirt off. I couldn’t find any record of whether the county put in the pond or not, but we have maintained it.”


Member Burton asked, “You said you have a foot and a half of sediment, but how much from the sediment to the pipe? Two feet?” Surveyor Sterrett replied, “On the top of the water down to the silt it is about two feet. Then I can poke my rod on down another foot.” “


“So, there is still some room there?” Member Burton asked. “Yes, at the pipe, but I don’t know about further out. I couldn’t get out there without my waders. It could be filled out there in the middle. We certainly don’t want it to fill up. I know that.” Surveyor Sterrett replied.


“What do you think the cost of that would be?” Chairman Schmierer asked. “Well, the cost of an excavator is about $120/hour and they would probably charge us to move it in there. They should be able to do it in about half a day I would think, getting the brush off of it. It depends on what you want to do. It looks like the east side is higher than the west side.” Surveyor Sterrett replied. I think the fence was built to keep the cattle out.


“I think there are two things here. One is whether we actually own the retention or not and then what we want to do with it?” Member Burton asked. “It is a county tile and how much work we want to do on it…” Surveyor Sterrett added.


“Back some time ago, the county paid for it.” Chairman Schmierer stated. “It sure appears that way,” Surveyor Sterrett replied.


“What was the purpose of it in the first place?” Member Heimlich asked. “I don’t know. I don’t know how it got there, but it has been there for a long time. It was discussed in the minutes in 1988.” Surveyor Sterrett replied.


“You said that he wants the silt hauled off and not left there?” Member Burton asked. Surveyor Sterrett replied, “He was talking about what is there now….wanting to level it down and getting it hauled out. I couldn’t tell…”


“No, we’re not going to do that,” Chairman Schmierer stated.


“If it is only a half day of work, there should be a plenty of money in there to cover that if we just clean it out,” Member Burton commented.


“I think if we dig it out on the west side and get around there,” Surveyor Sterrett added. “I think we should do the maintenance that needs to be done, but we are not going to haul dirt off. We’ll level it like we do every place else,” Chairman Schmierer stated.


Member Burton and Surveyor Sterrett both stated that they thought it would be a quick job. “We could probably have a couple contractors look at it. It would probably be easier to do it in the fall when the weeds are down, but we can do it now. Do you want me to have someone look at it?” Surveyor Sterrett asked.


“Yes, I think so,” Chairman Schmierer stated.


Surveyor Sterrett went to Wolcott a couple weeks ago and looked at most of the drainage for the Indiana Animal Health north of Wolcott. They had tied the detention pond into the tiles in front of Whitko. The Surveyor mentioned to the contractor that they needed to get that tied into the Pugh drain real fast because we didn’t want to dump anymore water into that, so…The water from the detention pond going through the drains at Whitko and then the new part of that drain has been put in from Whitko to the Pugh underneath the side ditch that runs along 900 East. “The Pugh runs into the Stoller?” Chairman Schmierer asked.


“Yes, we just replaced 100 feet of that, it had roots in it over north of that. So, hopefully that helped a few drains. I think it was a 10 inch that ran into it. They tied into it underneath the surface drain, “Surveyor Sterrett replied.


Walgreen’s have begun to put their drainage in and I think they are almost finished.” Surveyor Sterrett stated. “They aren’t going to have a detention pond are they?” Chairman Schmierer asked.

Surveyor Sterrett replied, “No, it is all underground storage. Their parking lot is also temporary storage as well. I think they put 36 inch in across the west side, 24 inch running down the east and south side. They have outlet it into the drain that goes to Buss Ditch with a 12 inch. So, that 36 and 24 are going to store the water until the 12 releases it.”


At the August 20th Drainage Board meeting we will have the Landowner’s Meeting on the Esther Fraser Ditch. We plan to do that on maintenance and it is 8 miles in length. There is $97,663 in that fund. Surveyor Sterrett’s estimate for dredging and a small amount of clearing was $56,731. There is enough money in maintenance and it collects about $20,000 per year. We have not collected on it since 2005. It drains 7,586 acres. All of the landowners have been sent a letter. Chairman Schmierer stated that he had received a couple responses already. Member Heimlich also mentioned that he had a couple of people ask about it. There were no objections, just inquiries about what work was going to be done.


The drainage review for Clapper Funeral Home in Monon will probably be at the meeting on August 20th.


Surveyor Sterrett also showed the Drainage Board the Section Corner website. This website contains all of the sections corners that we have on record, so they are easily accessible. We have free access to the use of this information. All of this information is recorded in bound books consisting of about 1,200 pages. If someone comes in and wants a witness to a section corner we had to look it up in the book. Now, we can just go online, click on the appropriate one, and print it out. As a surveyor, I think this a really handy site. Others can subscribe to the service for $39.95 a month.


“What do we charge for this?” Chairman Schmierer asked. “We charge only for the paper used,” Surveyor Sterrett replied.


Member Heimlich shared information from the meeting on the Monon Ditch Project.. The bids came in way below the surveyor’s and engineer’s estimates. The estimate was just over $2 million. It was in 3 sections and they totaled about $1.3 million, which was about $730,000 under the estimate. J&J received the two on this end and then Lamar Farms got the other end. There were several that took the plans, but there weren’t many bids. They are to start as soon as they get the go ahead from DNR because there was a change to the silt trap from the original one that was going to be down at the south end.


Indian Creek is involved in a lawsuit against protestors of the project. There was a DNR review last week in Rochester. One of the objections in the lawsuit is that permits have not been obtained. Surveyor Sterrett mentioned that he should call the surveyor to see what was going on, but had not done so yet.


Attorney Loy shared that he and Surveyor Sterrett drafted and sent a letter to Greg Jacobs confirming that the permit had been revoked for the Windward project. Surveyor Sterrett mentioned that Mr. Jacobs has started on his Dollar General stores in Brookston and Monon.


Chairman Schmierer asked if there was anything further for the Drainage Board.


Chairman Schmierer adjourned the meeting.