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February 19, 2008 Tape #004

The White County Drainage Board convened at 10:40 A.M. in the Commissioners’ Room of the White County Building, Monticello, Indiana, with Board Members John Heimlich and Steve Burton, Attorney George W. Loy, Surveyor Dennis Sterrett, Drainage Assistant Mary Sterrett and Secretary Jamie Rozzi in attendance. Board Member Ron Schmierer was not in attendance.

Others in attendance were Robert Thomas, Jerry Pinkerton, and another council member from the town of Wolcott.


Chairman Burton called the meeting to order.


The first item to discuss was the town of Wolcott regarding the Unroe and Pugh drains.


“This is probably the worst time to present this with all the flooding going and I am sure that you guys are overwhelmed, but what we are here for is to ask the county for some help with the county ditch and both north and east of town. The ditch going east along the side the wastewater plant is pretty well grown up with brush. It is causing some drainage issues even with the light rains. We are hoping that the Surveyor can take a look at it and survey it so we can evaluate what the real problems are. At the very minimum we would like to get the brushed cleaned out of the ditch along the wastewater plant and get the waterways looked at as far as getting them back to grade. We are having problems north of town, the outlet there and east of town. The ditch going through town is in relatively good shape. It could probably use a little bit of attention, but most of it is at the wastewater plan, out beside 900 West, and the waterways. If you could take a look at it and see if you could do something to help we would appreciate it.


Chairman Burton asked, “Wasn’t the Unroe Drain west of US 24 cleaned?”


“We dipped it out. We went down to the treatment plant where that fence is as you can see in the photo,” Surveyor Sterrett replied.


“It was dipped out east and west,” Mr. Thomas stated.


“This has been within the last five years?” Chairman Burton asked.


“Yes, it’s been two or three years,” Surveyor Sterrett replied.


Chairman Burton continued, “So, it is to grade then?”

“Probably most of the problem is by the sewage plant and then the waterway past the sewage plant. The trees have really grown up and the waterway…..I don’t know if it is slowing it down or not,” Mr. Thomas explained.


Mr. Pinkerton explained, “I am not the expert, but I don’t know if the waterway can be brought back to grade, if it is off grade.”


“Are you talking about through the field?” Chairman Burton asked.


Mr. Pinkerton asked, “Yes, through the field.”


Surveyor Sterrett explained, “Actually, that is called the Unroe Surface Drain.”


“Is it part of the regulated drain?” Board Member Heimlich asked.


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “Yes, it is part of the regulated drain.”


“The 24 inch tile that goes though town is under there somewhere. From what I am told, at some point it goes under that waterway and follows it out to what I call Vernon Schwab’s old place,” Mr. Thomas stated.


“That is normally what happens is that waterways were cut over the existing…,” Board Member Burton explained.


Mr. Thomas continued, “The 24 inch tile in town is taking water really good other than when they put a camera through it they found that it’s egg-shaped under the highway and when the highway gets fixed we were hoping that the county could replace that tile because they will have the highway closed anyway.”


“The state was supposed to do that, weren’t they?” Board Member Heimlich asked.


“We were waiting on the state…,” Surveyor Sterrett replied.


“It is still in the makings…,” Mr. Pinkerton stated.


Mr. Thomas explained, “They are talking around 2010.”


Board Member Heimlich stated, “No, I mean that they would take care of that.”


“Within their right of way the state would pay and replace the pipe and then we had about 300 feet,” Surveyor Sterrett stated.


“Right, you were going to go a little bit before the highway and then from the highway, Range Street to Burke Street, I think the county was going to replace. After that the pipe is in pretty good shape,” Mr. Thomas stated.


Mr. Pinkerton showed several photos of the sites being discussed. He explained, “Images 8 and 9 are where it crosses 800 West. It is being backed up there a little bit. I know you are probably overwhelmed. Whatever can be done would be appreciated.”


Board Member Heimlich explained, “It’s not a matter of our budget. This is a regulated drain so it is the assessment roll that is paying for it. Is there money in the fund?”


“There is $37,000 in the Unroe Drain Maintenance Fund,” Surveyor Sterrett stated.


“What they are talking about would be maintenance, right?” Board Member Heimlich asked.


“Yes, we were going to try and use that money to replace that tile, it brings in $9,790.00 per year,” Surveyor Sterrett explained.


Board Member Heimlich asked, “What would the estimate be to replace that tile?”


“It is probably over that. We don’t have an estimate yet because we didn’t know what the state was going to do,” Surveyor Sterrett explained.


“You say it brings in about $9,800 per year. So it is at the limit now…is it being collected on?” Board Member Heimlich asked.


“We did not put it on the 2008 roll to collect because it is paid up four times what it brings in,” Surveyor Sterrett explained.


Chairman Burton stated, “The tile you are talking about…We will have some cost on the outside of the state’s right of way.”


“Right, we had some that we were going to replace outside. The state was going to replace what was in their right of way,” Board Member Heimlich stated.


“And you thought that would be in excess of $30,000?” Chairman Burton asked.


“Yes,” Surveyor Sterrett replied.


“Do we know what the state’s timetable is yet?” Board Member Heimlich asked.


Mr. Thomas replied, “We have been to LaPorte to a couple different meetings. They have been telling us…pushing it two years every time we go to a meeting. The last that we have been told is around 2010-2011. They came through town and put two paths of asphalt on US 24 to get us by last year. I think that is buying them some time. So, I couldn’t give you a timetable. You can’t get a direct timetable from them. They are in the same situation as everyone else; they are hurting for money.”


“What would be your estimate on this work here?” Board Member Heimlich asked.


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “I have not looked at it, I would have no idea. It depends on what you do with the waterway that runs through the field. They are just farming over the waterway, right?”


“Is that the norm? Are they supposed to be farming over that or not supposed to be? Or should I say…is that stopping the water from flowing?” Mr. Thomas asked.


Chairman Burton explained, “If you look at your pictures, yes, there is a little water lying there, but the water lying in the field is not impeding your current ditch flow the way it might be today. Just like if you are looking at the sewage plant. There is a little water lying in the bottom of that, but it’s a drainage ditch so you don’t expect it to be dry. To say that the waterway in the field is impeding it…”


“Oh, I don’t know if it is what I am asking is just to get it surveyed and make sure that is correct, if possible,” Mr. Pinkerton explained.


“Yeah, that can be done,” Board Member Heimlich stated.


“When we got that big rain, Chad (Reynolds) and I went out and took rakes to clear it out. The trees were holding back the cornstalks and that was a big problem for us. I think if the trees came out that would help a lot,” Mr. Thomas stated.


Chairman Burton, “What would be the cost to de-brush that?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “That is not too far down there.”


Mr. Thomas continued, “There is a place between the railroad tracks and the ditch that something could drive along there and takes those trees out. It’s not a roadway, but it’s wide enough and sturdy enough that it would hold just about anything that went back there at certain times of the year.”


“I would say that we could do that work out of maintenance. If we need more money when we replace that section of tile, I mean, it will probably have to go back on the roll at that time anyway,” Board Member Heimlich explained.


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “It is right on the edge, so any work you do will probably put it back on.”


“It sounds like it’s going to be a couple years before the tile gets replaced,” Board Member Heimlich stated.


Mr. Pinkerton agreed, “I think it’s safe to say that.”


“We actually have a plan drawn for the replacement of that. We were just waiting on the state,” Surveyor Sterrett stated.


Board Member Heimlich replied, “Right, that’s been….it’s been quite a few years ago.”


“If we could just get the brush off and get the ditch cleaned in the areas needed, it would help tremendously. Actually to the west of the wastewater plant too….from Fourth Street…” Mr. Pinkerton explained.


“Yeah, we started before Burke Street and finished at Fourth Street on the west side of town. You started at the drive at the treatment plant. Now the problem is that the trees have grown up where the fence starts at the wastewater plant, east along that fence,” Mr. Thomas explained.


“We’ll do our part to try and keep that from happening in the future,” Mr. Pinkerton stated.


“Have we been spraying it?” Board Member Heimlich asked.


“No, no one has ever sprayed it,” Mr. Thomas stated.


“We’ve been giving you $200 to take care of that,” Surveyor Sterrett explained.


“We’ve been taking care of the ditch in town, weed eating it and stuff because that is what people see and it gets unsightly. So, we maintain that part of the ditch. We’ve been taking care of in town because of the weeds for…, Mr. Thomas stated.


“You can see from the photos (images 3 & 6) a real representation of the most serious part of this,” Mr. Pinkerton explained.


Chairman Burton stated, “Let’s give Surveyor Sterrett a chance to get out there. if we de-brush that, then the Surveyor could check grade on it a lot easier. Maybe at that point we can make a decision on how close it is. Is that satisfactory with you Board Member Heimlich?”


“Yes,” Board Member Heimlich replied.


“Will that be a bid or can you just award that?” Chairman Burton asked.


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “I don’t think it’s that far. I can take a look at it. If it’s under $1,500…,”


“Otherwise, I think you just ask for quotes if it’s above that and below the bid threshold,” Board Member Heimlich explained.


“Ok, so that is how we will work on the Unroe. Did you have the Pugh on there?” Chairman Burton asked.


Surveyor Sterrett explained, “The Pugh is north of town, but it’s not regulated side ditch. It is a county highway side ditch.”


Mr. Pinkerton explained, “North of town it appears to me that the waterway the surface as it crosses under 900 West is a problem. That waterway has a tree line that goes right through the middle of it and…”


“Are you talking about the east side of 900 West?” Board Member Heimlich asked.


“Yes, on the east side,” Mr. Pinkerton explained.


Surveyor Sterrett explained, “We just had 100 feet of that tile replaced in there and cleared that fence row out if that is the same fence row…”


“Maybe I am looking at the wrong location. It appears the waterway goes behind, I believe that is the Stoller’s house,” Mr. Pinkerton explained.


Surveyor Sterrett brought up the location of the tile and waterway in question up on GIS. It was confirmed that they were talking about the same location.


Mr. Pinkerton asked, “You cleared that out?”


“Yeah, that has been cleared out,” Surveyor Sterrett replied.


Mr. Pinkerton continued, “It appeared to me from the road that the water was passing closer to the road. I didn’t get out of the truck.”


Surveyor Sterrett explained, “We’ve replaced the about 100 feet of the tile because it had roots in it.”


“That was last year?” Mr. Pinkerton asked.


“It sat there all winter…I think it was last winter,” Surveyor Sterrett stated.


“I think that the tile work did help because I went over there on the Wednesday after the flood and all of the water in the park and through there was gone. Before that was worked on, there would have been water in there I’m sure,” Board Member Heimlich stated.


Chairman Burton explained, “Surveyor Sterrett, we’ve got the tile through there, but where he is talking about up by that fence row; that will be just a water course, wouldn’t it?”


“Yeah, I think we’ve looked at that before. That waterway is not regulated,” Board Member Heimlich stated.


“No, it isn’t,” Surveyor Sterrett stated.


“My comment was that it appeared to me that the natural flow of the water had crossed further up and then crossed over to the ditch,” Mr. Pinkerton explained.


“It may, but if it is…the ditch and the tile are going to be under our jurisdiction, but the way that water might go up and around that is private property…,” Chairman Burton explained.


Board Member Heimlich added, “The tile is a county regulated drain, but that waterway is not.”


“The side ditch would be a county highway issue that we would have to look at versus Drainage Board,” Chairman Burton explained.


“Who owns the property where the waterway is?” Board Member Heimlich asked.


“Parrish,” Surveyor Sterrett replied.


“What causes that part to fill up so fast? It does drain off, but…,” Mr. Pinkerton asked.


“It is just the way the water lays from the surface around it,” Board Member Heimlich replied.


“The culverts under the curve are state?” Mr. Thomas asked.


“Anything that is going under the highway would be the state highway,” Chairman Burton stated.


Board Member Heimlich added, “Now out on 900 West that would be county.”


“There is a catch basin on that tile on the north side and I also had stopped over there after the water had gone down and cleaned the catch basin off and the tile was taking water good. Of course, you get that much surface water and it just can’t get out quick enough,” Surveyor Sterrett stated.


“We had cornstalks floating everywhere and that didn’t help anything,” Mr. Thomas added.


“The culverts in the curve might be kind of small. Can you look at them when you are over there?” Mr. Pinkerton asked.


“We tried to clean that out in there. The county highway came down and tried to clean it out. The town of Wolcott has a sanitary manhole right there and the sewer must not be very deep. There is a concrete slab over that ditch and we couldn’t get the ditch to get over it. We dug down to that and couldn’t get the ditch any lower. Actually, the pipes under NIPSCO are lower than the top of that concrete so the water has to go up and over that,” Surveyor Sterrett explained.


“It seems to me that whatever you can do on the east outlet…we would appreciate that. We’ll have to study it ourselves and see if we can get the state to help with a larger culvert. The sanitary main….that is probably something that never should have happened,” Mr. Pinkerton explained.


“Mr. Pinkerton and I were looking at the plans for the water line that went out to Dwyer’s when it first got built and I’m not so sure that isn’t a water line because of the size of it. What we were thinking that when they ran the water line out to Dwyer’s they come across the ditch and come across because the water line comes over to Burke Street. So, that might be a water line, but we’re not sure,” Mr. Thomas explained.


“I thought there was a sanitary manhole there,” Surveyor Sterrett stated.


Mr. Thomas replied, “There is, but I would have to look at the maps to be sure. I am starting to think that may possibly be a water line. I don’t know how they got the water line down to the corner of Burke Street and Sherry Lane from the water line that comes from Dwyer’s.”


“Whatever you can do to the east of the wastewater plant, it would be appreciated. We’re going to have to study a little bit more on our own,” Mr. Pinkerton stated.


Board Member Heimlich stated, “If you think there is a problem under US 24 then you certainly should speak to INDOT.”


Surveyor Sterrett showed photos of a site north on State Road 39. It is on the west side of State Road 39. The photos showed a fence going across the ditch, a right of way fence, with debris up against it. Mr. Vern Wilson called the Surveyor and said that his neighbor stated that the fence was holding up debris and causing flooding. Mr. Wilson was concerned that the fence was holding up debris, it is his property.


Board Member Heimlich stated, “It is a problem when all of the debris comes down and gets caught up in the fence.


“It is actually his fence, Mr. Vern Wilson’s fence. It’s not our fence, is it?” Surveyor Sterrett asked.


“No, it’s not our fence,” Board Member Heimlich stated.


“We can require him to move it if we consider it to be a problem,” Attorney Loy explained.


“He wanted us to remove it,” Surveyor Sterrett asked.


“There isn’t any livestock involved, is there?” Board Member Heimlich asked.


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “No, there isn’t.”


Attorney Loy stated, “I think your initial assessment is correct Surveyor Sterrett. It is his fence; he is responsible for getting it out.”


Surveyor Sterrett showed photos on the Harp-Helfrick. Landowner Kessler called the Surveyor’s office and blamed the problem of the water getting out of the ditch on the brush. There is a low place in the ditch.


“Is this east of the county road?” Chairman Burton asked.


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “Yes, east of the county road.”


“Ok, go up north of Palmer Drive and then come back,” Chairman Burton explained.


“I talked to Steve (Brooke) and he agreed with me that it did wash the road out. There is a lot of brush in there. We looked at the water and the water looked as high as the river. So, I am thinking….it is still water. I am thinking that the water comes down there and hits the river water and then goes out. This location is probably about 1,500 feet upstream,” Surveyor Sterrett explained.


“This is not unlike the Wolcott problem. When we get rains to this effect…we could clean the ditch out which would create a new problem. The water will move through there faster and produce bigger washouts. That is my personal opinion,” Chairman Burton stated.


“Mine too. You can see how much silt has come out and this is 1,500 feet upstream,” Surveyor Sterrett replied.


Surveyor Sterrett reported that he met with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) on the Carter-Hines. Surveyor Sterrett stated that he was going to start the project at State Road 39, north of US 24 and go to 500 North. The area from State Road 39 to just about one mile east of State Road 39 is in a Flood Hazard Area. If any brush is cleared off the DNR states that the brush must be hauled away because it cannot be left in the flood plain.


Board Member Heimlich asked, “How much brush is on there?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “There is about 300 feet from the ditch out to the end of the flood hazard area. There are cattle in one ¼ mile of it so it’s not too bad and the Brian Winterberg residence on State Road 39 is on the other ½ mile. There are trees on there and I don’t think we could get in there to dip it, but it is clean. Also, Bill Geier lives along there. I met with him before meeting with DNR. He wanted to straighten the channel out because he said that was causing flooding. The DNR said that would take a special permit to do any digging at all. I haven’t received their report yet, but they told me in the field that it could be cleaned if we tied the brush down when working in the flood plain. So, we’d have to pile it up, strap it down, and lay it parallel to the ditch. It can be burned or buried there, just not in Winterberg’s yard. I have changed the project to start one mile east of State Road 39.”


“Was that met with favor?” Chairman Burton asked.


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “Yes. They are still going to include on the report that when working in the floodway that the brush has to be piled parallel to the ditch and tied down, but if I start at one mile east of State Road 39 I won’t be working in the flood plain. There are some other regulations also.”


“Do you have a problem with the start of the project being moved?” Surveyor Sterrett asked.


“No,” both Chairman Burton and Board Member Heimlich replied.


Chairman Burton asked for approval of the minutes for the February 4th, 2008 meeting. Board Member Heimlich moved to approve the minutes as presented. Chairman Burton seconded the motion. Motion carried.


Chairman Burton asked if there was anything further for the Drainage Board. Chairman Burton then adjourned the meeting.