Get Adobe Flash player


October 19, 2009

The White County Drainage Board convened at 10:30 A. M. in the Commissioners’ Room of the White County Building, Monticello, Indiana. Board members present were: President Ronald Schmierer, Vice President Steve Burton, and Drainage Board Member John Heimlich. Also present were Attorney George W. Loy, Surveyor Dennis Sterrett, Drainage Assistant Mary Sterrett and Secretary Jamie Rozzi.

Also in attendance were Engineer Todd Frauhiger, Sharon Watson, and Charlie Mellon. Others in attendance were Kenneth Caster, Kit Caster, Dan Hunt, Wayne Hunt, Cindy Hall, Bob Wrede, Verne Wilson, Heather Reynolds, Louise Phillips, Madi Koehler, and Elmer Girtz.

The first item on the agenda was to approve the minutes from the October 5th, 2009 meeting. Board Member Heimlich so moved. Board Member Burton seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.


The next item on the agenda was consent to encroach on the A. P. Gladden #1 Drain Extension requested by Kenneth Caster. Surveyor Sterrett explained, “This is north of US 24 on State Road 39. There is a pond there, right at Hickory Ridge.”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “Is that pond along the road?”


Surveyor Sterrett continued, “There is a ditch running in the back and he wants to add on to his tool shed.”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “How close is he going to be?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “He will be 55 feet from the top of the bank.”


Board Member Heimlich asked, “How deep is that ditch?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “The ditch is like two feet wide…it’s kind of a natural ravine. Several years ago they connected the Gladden, which is up north, to the Leslie Henry which is down south and they used that drain to connect the two and put them on the same watershed.”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “Do you see any problems with it?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “Not really…there is plenty of room to get down there and work on it if we need to. It will be as close as 55 feet and the other corner is 72 feet.”


Board Member Burton asked, “Just by chance, does he own the ground on the west side of the Gladden?”


Mr. Caster replied, “Yes.”


Board Member Burton stated, “So, if something happened…”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “You could go on the other side to clean it.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “There is no problem as far as I can see.”


Board Member Heimlich made a motion to approve consent to encroach on the A. P. Gladden #1 Drain Extension to Mr. Kenneth Caster. Board Member Burton seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.


Chairman Schmierer instructed Mr. Caster that he would need to get with Attorney Loy and submit the proper documents so Attorney Loy could draw up the encroachment documents.


The next item on the agenda is the landowners meeting for the J. T. Williams Drain. Chairman Schmierer explained, “Denny and I went out and took a look at it after Mr. Hunt asked us to look at the ditch. If you didn’t know there was a drain there…you wouldn’t know there was a drain. You’d think it was a woods, it is pretty woolly. We discussed that there is not near enough money to do what we need to do with it.”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “Did you ever come up with any kind of estimate of what we were going to have to do?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “The J. T. Williams runs south of 500 North and up through here and empties into the lake. We went and looked at this and it looks more natural north of East Shafer Drive. So, it is about 5,600 feet that would need to be cleaned and de-brushed. A rough estimate would be about $21,000.00.”


Board Member Burton asked, “So, just to get some facts and figures…how much money is in the maintenance fund?”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “It brings in $1,700 a year…and four times that we have to stop collecting so that brings it up to $6,800. So $6,800 is all it would ever have in the fund. Right now, the drain is in debt…after this year’s collections it would be in debt $700.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “And you’re saying roughly $21,000.”


Surveyor Sterrett, “That is what I’m guessing.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “It brings in $1,700 a year…and what is it, variable?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “Yes, it’s variable.”


Board Member Heimlich asked, “What are the rates now?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “There are three parcels at $1.00 an acre, one parcel at $1.80/acre, thirteen parcels at $2.00/acre, fourteen parcels at $3.00/acre, and six parcels at a minimum rate of $5.00. There are 37 total parcels and there are 752 acres in the watershed.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “If you want to work and raised the rates…one way you could do it is raise the maintenance assessment on it over a set number of years to get the $21,000 in there to do it. If you raised it four times over three years you’d be back out of debt….or you could do it on Reconstruction. If you do it on Reconstruction, it’s about as broad as it is long.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “That would be $28.00 an acre….if you did reconstruction.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “If you raise the maintenance for three years, four times, that would just about get you taken care of. It would be $12 an acre at the highest rate, instead of $28. It’s going to be $28 for even $1.00 an acre if you go Reconstruction.”


Chairman Schmierer continued, “If I understand correctly, we just had an IDEM guy in here and we can only clean one side of it anyhow…and clean the bank back on the other side.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “We can clean the leaning trees off the other side.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “I notice there are several of you on the project. What are your ideas…what are your thoughts on it? Wayne (Hunt)…you asked me about it, what are your thoughts?”


Mr. Hunt stated, “It does need cleaned in the worst way.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “It needs dipped too, doesn’t it?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “Oh yeah…well, there wasn’t any water that week I was out there, it was completely dry. There is water in it now though.”


Board Member Burton asked, “Is there anybody else here for that drain?”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “It’s your drain, so give us your ideas; what do you think we need to do with it? It needs to be cleaned and...”


Mr. Wrede stated, “I like my drainage…I like it just the way it is.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “Let me explain this one more time. If we were to raise the assessments on the maintenance times four…if you’re paying $3.00 an acre you’ll pay $12.00, if you’re paying $1.00 you’ll pay $4.00 on your assessments; instead of bringing in $1,700 it will bring in $6,800. If we did that for three years it would more than likely take care of it. Or, if we go to work and do it on Reconstruction it will be $28.00 an acre.”


Board Member Heimlich stated, “You know depending on…you can still do Reconstruction on a variable rate.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “Right, you can do Reconstruction on a variable rate too, but he said that would average about $28.00 an acre.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “Right, that is if you did an across the board assessment. That is figured down to East Shafer Drive, there at Girtz’s road…it’s not going clear to the river.”


One landowner asked, “What 600 feet are you talking about?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “It’s 5, 600 feet…”


The landowner replied, “Oh, 5,600 feet. And what did you say about the woods…you’re only doing it to East Shafer Drive?”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “Does it look pretty good from East Shafer on down?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “Well, the brush doesn’t look good, but…it’s got fall and down by the river it’s a natural…you couldn’t get down there.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “You can’t touch it anyhow because it’s protected.”


Mr. Wrede asked, “Is anyone having drainage issues besides Wayne’s (Hunt) ground, because he’s at the head of the ditch? Is there anyone else here today that is having drainage problems?”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “Have I got any calls, is that your question? No, I haven’t got any calls.”


Mr. Verne Wilson stated, “I just want to know if it will improve the drainage. I got drainage, but it’s not the best and I’m the last one on that end I think.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “You’re out on the end of the tile…”


Mr. Wilson stated, “Yes.”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “Will it improve him or not, Denny?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “Well, that tile is not in too good of shape; that is mainly what we have been spending the money on.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “So, I’m not sure it’s going to change the tile…is that tile under water at the ditch?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “I haven’t walked the ditch yet. I’ve just been out to look at the brush.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “Unless that tile’s not got an outlet, I’m not sure that…I know what tile you’re talking about now. That is why the fund is in debt is over that tile. So, I’m not sure that will…”


Board Member Heimlich stated, “If that outlet is under water…”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “If it’s under water down there it could cause part of your problem, but I don’t think anyone in the room can give you a truthful answer.”


Mr. Wilson stated, “If there is water over the outlet down there sometimes, or brush over that outlet where the tile runs into…”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “That will cause blow outs.”


Mr. Wilson stated, “I’m sure it would help it, maybe not greatly, but some….otherwise it’ll get worse.”


Mr. Wrede stated, “Are we sure that isn’t a wetland now up at the head end of that? I mean that growth and vegetation has been there for a long time.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “I have no idea.”


Mr. Wrede continued, “You can tell it hasn’t been farmed and I know with the Wetland Act you have to be able to prove that there has been a cash crop off of it in the last three years to drain it. I’m not sure…that hadn’t had a cash crop in it forever. It’s right there at the head end. Denny, is there any way you can check the grades there at 550 N and see what the elevation is static versus where it’s at…see if there’s…just from 550 N on south? I mean I understand…”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “I haven’t run any grade yet. We were just trying to decide what we want to do.”


Mr. Wrede asked, “Are you flooding out, Wayne? I mean, I’m not a farmer, but…”


Mr. Hunt replied, “Well, we had about four or five acres….we had to replant four or five acres.”


Mr. Wrede stated, “Well, lots of people had to do that. We’re spending $21,000.00 for five acres of ground. I guess that’s what I’m looking at is considering what value we’re going to get out of it.”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “Dan (Hunt), are you on this drain?”


Mr. Dan Hunt replied, “My landlord is, and all she has is wood line. She pays into it and wanted me to come.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “I know Hall’s are and it’s probably affecting the farm ground around you, I’m not sure.”


Mrs. Cindy Hall stated, “There are couple spots in there that are damp.”


Mr. Wayne Hunt stated, “It’s sad that the ditch got in that kind of shape.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “That is why we called the landowner meeting because we wanted to know what to do with it…it’s going to cost. We have a…Mr. Fielding and Mr. Hunt had put a petition in for maintenance on it and that’s why we had a landowner’s meeting.”


Ms. Reynolds asked, “Which side are you planning on cleaning off? We live right there on 500 and we’ve already been cleaning out willows all the way down our four and a half acres. We’ve already been cleaning it up.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “I don’t have any idea, the Surveyor would have to answer that.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “Well, it looked like back on Hall’s…there is a woods back there, so it will probably be the east side of the ditch?”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “Do you live on the east side or west side of the ditch?”


Ms. Reynolds replied, “East side.”

Chairman Schmierer stated, “Well, we’re asking direction for what you want to do with it. So, that’s why we have a landowner’s meeting.”


Board Member Heimlich stated, “If we were going to raise the maintenance to do the project we’d have to have a hearing.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “We’d have to have a hearing to do that.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “We’d have to have a hearing either way.”


Board Member Heimlich stated, “We wanted an idea of what to put up for the hearing.”


One landowner asked, “Well, I guess I’d like to ask, if you’ve already got tile in land and it’s not working property to drain…then how is the IDEM thing come in when there is existing tile, even if it has been wet for quite some time?”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “I don’t know that it would come in at all.”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “Are you asking how we would know that is a wetland or not a wetland?”


“Right,” the landowner replied.


Board Member Heimlich stated, “If there is a tile there you can replace the tile.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “You can replace the tile. Just because it’s not working doesn’t make it a wetland. We’ve had that problem before; as long as there is tile there it doesn’t matter. If it’s not working it can be replaced, the tile can. We’re not doing tile...”


The landowner replied, “I understand that.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “The thing of it is, with tile coming into it, we have some tile under water. I didn’t know if the other gentleman’s was or wasn’t, but I don’t think it has ever been declared a wetland.”


Ms. Reynolds asked, “My next question is…if you do the east side where we live, we do have a perimeter drain all around our property that runs into that ditch. If you go to clean that out will it cause an issue?”


Board Member Burton asked, “You’ve got tile draining into the ditch?”


Ms. Reynolds replied, “It’s a perimeter drain around our house.”


Board Member Burton stated, “It comes in there. The repair will pay for any sewers or anything that you have coming into the ditch.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “It will take care of that. I guess we’re still at a stand still as to whether we want to do it under reconstruction or whether we want to do it by raising the maintenance. It’s got to be paid for one way or another and it doesn’t matter to us how we go about it.”


Board Member Burton asked, “You’re not going clear to the lake are you?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “No, we can’t go clear to the lake. It looks pretty natural to me.”


Board Member Heimlich asked, “Is it regulated all the way to the lake?”


Surveyor Sterrett, “Yeah, well within 300 feet, I believe.”


Board Member Burton asked, “Denny said earlier that it’s kind of wooly there, but that there’s a lot of fall. Is that correct?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “It looks like there is a lot of fall. There are rocks and ripples…”

Mr. Wayne Hunt stated, “The right way to do it is to clean off one side all the way to the lake, really.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “Well, that would increase the cost.”


One landowner asked, “We are the woods, well, part of it anyway. What are you calling woods? Where are you starting? How far out are you going?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “Well, we have a right-of-way of 75 feet. Indiana Drainage Code has a right-of-way of 75 feet right-of-way from the top of the bank on each side of the drain.”


The landowner replied, “I’m not talking about the width. I’m talking about how far back from the road where it enters into the lake. What would be the woods that you would not be considering in the project?”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “Well, if he wants to go all the way I’d have to figure out…I don’t know exactly how far it goes from the river.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “We can’t go…we have 300 feet we have to stay off of the river. We didn’t plan on going back (East) Shafer Drive at the present time because there is enough fall that it should still take the water down through there…is what the surveyor is saying. ”


Mr. Wrede stated, “If you do maintenance, you’ve got the original grade that ditch was installed at…and under Reconstruction you can only go to the grade it was originally put in at without reclassifying it as new construction, correct?


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “No, Reconstruction you could.”


Board Member Heimlich stated, “Under maintenance you would have to stay at the original…”


Mr. Wrede stated, “Do you have to clear the Army Corps of Engineers if you go the Reconstruction route because it’s over 1 square mile that drains into it?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “The rule is ten mile of ditch.”


Mr. Wrede stated, “I was at a seminar for wetland determination at Notre Dame and…they were adamant and there are counties getting in trouble for it….through the Army Corps of Engineers and their classification, and by definition, is that they consider it navigable waters…(part of this discussion was in audible). I’m just saying if something happens instead of reconstruction then you better go maintenance because you are going to have an issue. This is what I do for a living, so I can give you all the information you’d like if you want to talk about it.”


Board Member Heimlich stated, “I don’t think we’re doing anything other than what the original grade was.”


Mr. Wrede stated, “Well, you if you are going out to where he said he saw original rocks and original stream bed and taking it deeper.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “We wouldn’t take it deeper any how.”


Mr. Wrede stated, “Denny said there were rocks and stuff back there closer to the lake and that indicates that is original grade elevations. You wouldn’t have rock in the bottom otherwise. My feeling on this is if more than half of my neighbors who ground drains into it want it, I’m not going to be opposed to it at all. If we’re only doing it for one piece of ground or one owner then I’d like to reconsider. Maybe we could look and see if there is a way to give marginal relief at a lower expense, maybe start in just getting that area on the top end. It’s always the guy on the top end that suffers the most…I understand.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “That’s right.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “Well, Denny, why don’t we go to work and…”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “I can check…when the leaves get off and see if we just need to go to 500 North or not.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “Yeah, why don’t you do that. Get us some figures around and we’ll make a decision on whether we go Reconstruction or the other way and we can have the hearing for it.”


Mr. Wilson stated, “Well, if you don’t go across 500 North that won’t effect most of the land or improve it any. You’re just talking about…most of the land that drains into that is north of 500 so that wouldn’t help us a bit, but yet we’d be paying on it?”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “Well, it would be less.”


Mr. Wilson stated, “Well, if I’m going to pay, I want to pay where it’s going to benefit me.”


Mr. Wilson stated, “Don’t you base the project on acres drained? They did on mine.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “Yeah, it’s based upon watershed, that’s what it’s based on. Well, we’ll continue to work on it and then you’ll probably get another notice and we’ll have a hearing on it to get it set up. It will take a while to get to it, but we’ll keep working on it.”


The next item on the agenda is the J. M. Timmons Landowners Meeting.


Chairman Schmierer stated, “The Timmons ditch was cleaned on the east side of State Road 39 back in 1996 or 1997.”


Surveyor Sterrett explained, “The gray area is who is being assessed now. So, these people down here aren’t being assessed even though it’s in the legal description goes down...”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “Why aren’t they being assessed?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “I don’t have any idea. I just found out this week.”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “Are they being assessed someplace else?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “No.”


Board Member Heimlich asked, “Why would those not be assessed?”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “So you need to do some adding to the watershed then? That ditch runs all the way down…why aren’t they being assessed?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “Well, some of it goes into the river.”


Board Member Heimlich stated, “Some of it could be close enough to go into the…”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “How they didn’t get on there…I don’t know.”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “You’re going to add quite a bit of ground, aren’t you? Do we have to have a hearing to add them on?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “That is what I wanted to ask George (Loy).”


Chairman Schmierer explained, “We have a bunch of ground that has not been assessed that should be assessed in the watershed. Do we have to have a hearing to add that on?”


Attorney Loy replied, “Yes.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “You’ll have to schedule a hearing to add that on.”


Board Member Heimlich asked, “Is the rest of it flat rate or variable?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “Variable.”


Board Member Burton asked, “Where did you clean last?”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “From State Road 39 on east they cleaned it. They did that in 1996. So, your question is…”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “Well, Verne (Wilson) wanted the brush taken off of his side. So we decided to call a landowner’s meeting to find out if there were any other landowners west of there would want anything to be done.”


Mr. Wilson asked, “What about the one east of State Road 39?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “It’s been cleaned.”


Mr. Wilson stated, ‘It’s been cleaned, but in 1996.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “It’s still in pretty good shape all the way across. It really doesn’t need anything and it’s been sprayed, too on a regular basis. There at State Road 39 it’s in good shape and if you go on over, even up in Cass Township it’s in pretty good shape all the way around. It’s been maintained pretty well.”


Mr. Wilson asked, “Now did everyone pay on the cleaning of that? All the landowners?”


Chairman Schmierer replied, “I couldn’t answer you, sir; that was the year before I came on as commissioner. That was done in 1996. I know some people did because I heard about it.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “I believe they did. I don’t know whether, except for the people who aren’t getting assessed.”


Mr. Wilson stated, “My question is now…I don’t know amounts, if we got any money in there or anything like that, but if the landowners have to kick in more money is it just the ones from State Road 39 on west or does it pick up the ones east?”


Board Member Heimlich explained, “The ones to the east would pay on it too.”


Board Member Burton stated, “Right.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “We’ve got quite a bit of money in maintenance.”


Board Member Heimlich asked, ‘How much is in maintenance?”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “31 thousand.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “See, they all pay into it. If we do it on maintenance they’ve already paid and so have you.”


Mr. Wilson stated, “Well, I’m paying on both sides on State Road 39.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “Right. Well, you’re just paying on the ditch…whatever your assessment is for your ground.”


Board Heimlich stated, “But if you are talking about taking brush out of there then the people east of that need the outlet so they should contribute to that.”


Board Member Burton explained, “Doing short projects of a ditch and not doing the whole thing is not uncommon so I think that addresses the question of why not go ahead and go east…”


Mr. Wilson stated, “Oh, I’m not saying that…I’d like to have the other side, there’s a lot of brush, but if you can only do one side I’ll have to buy that.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “It’s the law…to answer about going through Verne Wilson’s place, if Hall has some ground down through there too that need some attention we should just do it all at once.”


Surveyor Sterrett, “I guess that’s up to Hall’s and whether they want the brush off or not. There is some brush down in the ditch.”


Ms. Hall asked, “If you did that all the way down there, how much would it cost to do it?


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “I figured this at $3.50 a foot…and through Wilson is $6,000 and through Hall is another $14,000.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “$20,000.00, but it would probably improve drainage for everybody, even up at the upper end.”


Board Member Heimlich asked, “How much comes in per year?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “8,207.23 per year.”


Board Member Heimlich stated, “So, there’s money there to do it.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “Well, I guess we’ll just have to leave that there and Ms. Hall will have to get back with you.”


Surveyor asked, “Go ahead and do Verne (Wilson)?”


Chairman Schmierer replied, “Yeah, but go ahead and see if they (Hall’s) want theirs done too and get it done.”


Mr. Wilson stated, “Two years ago when we had the flooding in January the ditch was backed up enough it ran into the tile into Jean’s old house about two or three feet deep. Margaret Anderson had it in her crawl space.”


The next item for discussion was legal documents for the John Unroe Drain project in Wolcott.


Attorney Loy explained, “The Unroe tile in Wolcott, INDOT is upgrading US 24 and the contract that they had submitted to us had…after I reviewed it; INDOT is going to bid the project, Todd’s estimate of White County’s cost which would be the portion on each side between the rights-of-ways of Scott Street…we pay for that and INDOT pays for the rest. Todd’s (Frauhiger) estimate was $69,000 and I think there is a revised estimate of $71,000.


Engineer Frauhiger explained, “If you remember the downstream manhole is a brick manhole. When we expose it we are going to decide whether we need to replace it, so we put it in the estimate for right now.”


Attorney Loy stated, “INDOT bids the project, but we pay for our portion. The concern that Todd, Denny and I had is what if INDOT likes their bid but the bid for our construction goes way above the $71,000…so I proposed putting the contract ’…in the event the county’s share of the cost is 110% greater than the cost estimate, then the county may, as an option, separately bid and award the construction separately from INDOT’s project.’ They agreed to that and it is now included in this new and improved version of the contract and Todd tells me that it is rather important we get this done today.”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “So, it’s ready to be approved?”


Attorney Loy replied, “Yes.”


Board Member Burton made a motion to approve the contract with the state regarding the John Unroe Drain Project in Wolcott. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.


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