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November 2, 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 Charlie Mellon, Sharon Watson, Clyde Patty and Randy Patty.

The first item on the agenda was to approve the minutes from the October 19th, 2009 meeting. Board Member Heimlich so moved. Board Member Burton seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.


The next item on the agenda was Maintenance Modification on the C Hook Drain #660.


Chairman Schmierer stated, “This is in Lincoln/Jackson Township in White County. You’ve given us a claim history on it. Is it in debt right now?”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “No.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “I see it now, it’s got $1,662.56. It is currently $1.50 an acre and the assessment is $713.06 a year and we are proposing to raise it to $8.00 per acre for three years and then drop it back down to $4.00 per acre. This is because we have a request to clean it. We’ve been cleaning it about every four years….that muck south of 400. That is the reason why we’ve went to this to get it up where we could have the money to clean it. Every four years we’ve been having to dip it. That is our proposal to raise the assessment so it can be cleaned on a regular basis.”


Mr. Patty asked, “When did we dip it last?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “August of 2008.”


Mr. Patty stated, “That was last year.”


Surveyor Sterrett explained, “Oh that was up north on……it was 2004.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “Down there on the Hook farm down there. I don’t think we got on your side of the road. I think we stopped…”


Board Member Heimlich stated, “I think it was 400 North down to the Mertz.”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “I don’t think we dipped on your property at that time, did we?”


Mr. Patty replied, “No, I think we didn’t have enough money to go on up. So I went in there and cleaned it myself. I don’t have those figures, but I think it was $1,500 that I spent on it.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “That sloughs in so fast…that ditch does.”


Mr. Patty stated, “It does on mine, but there is another issue…”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “The cattle?”


Mr. Patty replied, “Yeah.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “We’ve discussed that. Denny and I discussed that when we were up there last time because the cattle didn’t help any, that’s for sure.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “And I think on Mr. Patty, the banks have slid in quite a bit.”


Mr. Patty stated, “Well, I think….here last winter or the winter before we had some bad snow that pulled those banks down.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “Well, we had a lot of rain.”


Board Member Heimlich stated, “Yeah, the floods there two years in a row.”


Surveyor Sterrett explained, “I figured if we were going to clean it there’s about 8,900 feet that goes through Reiff, Patty, and Nacke and I figured $1.00 a foot so that would be $8,900.00. That is why we put it at what we did.”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “Do you understand why we’re raising the rate and why we’re doing what we’re doing?”


Mr. Patty stated, “Yes, it takes money. May I ask a question?”


Chairman Schmierer replied, “Sure, that’s why we’re here.”


Mr. Patty asked, “What will it cost? Do you know how much dirt you’re going to have to take out?”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “I just did a rough figure of $1.00 a linear foot to clean out the whole ditch.”


Mr. Patty stated, “That lower end is more of a problem…do you think that is true?”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “Just looking at it, it all looks the same to me. You mean south of 400?”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “Are you talking about where the cattle are in there?”


Mr. Patty replied, “Yes.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “We looked at it. We were up there together and looked at it and there are a few spots where the cattle had pushed in, but they aren’t long spots. There’s not any spots that are 20-30 feet along through there that’s any worse than the rest of it, but…”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “When Ron (Schmierer) and I were up there, there wasn’t hardly any water in the ditch so you couldn’t really see what was going on. There was only three inches of water in that culvert under the road.”


Mr. Patty stated, “Well, I noticed in your report last month that you said three inches, but that means…that also….I measured down to the water this morning and it was 41 inches down from the top of the sewer down to the water. So, that’s a six foot sewer, 72 inches…”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “Well, there’s a lot more water out there today than when we were out there. The day we were out there wasn’t much water anywhere.”


Mr. Patty stated, “What I’m saying is that there is silt in the ditch…in the pipe.”


Board Member Burton stated, “We’re not really disagreeing with….you want it cleaned, right?”


Mr. Patty replied, “Right.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “Yeah, he needs it cleaned.”


Board Member Burton stated, “Denny will take it back to grade.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “Yeah, Denny will take it back to grade if there is silt in there we’ll get it out of there. We’ll have to drag it out of there somehow. We’ve done that before.”


Mr. Patty asked, “Do you think that down in the Mertz…do you think there is enough fall?”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “I won’t say there’s enough fall, but there is some fall. There’s not enough fall in any of those ditches up there because of the way that ground lays. A lot of those ditches are almost flat all the way down. Some of those ditches don’t have two inches fall and that’s not just your ditch up there Mr. Patty, that’s several of those man-made ditches up there. They don’t have enough fall in to make them go, it’s just the contour of the land. I still think when we get it cleaned out it will go into the Mertz fine. I’m not a genius with it, but it looks to me like it should.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “I can check the grade on it.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “Yeah, check the grade when you’re out there. There is nothing you can do about it if you don’t have enough grade…nothing you can do.”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “Didn’t we work on the Mertz?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “Yes, we worked on it west of there, where it branches and goes north.”


Mr. Patty asked, “Did you do some work on it last spring or winter?”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “Last spring we did some work, was that on the Mertz? Through Heiny up there?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “Oh, through Nacke…that was this spring. That was the upper end, that’s up above you.”


Mr. Patty stated, “Yes, to answer your question; yes I understand that.”


Mr. Patty added, “The cattle thing kind of bothers me.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “It does me too. I was going to ask George (Loy) the legal…I thought there was a…”


Board Member Heimlich stated, “We’ve dealt with this on the Big Monon. The attorney says there is really nothing in the law to outlaw it, but what you can do is if the Surveyor judges that the cattle are causing damage you can charge the owner of the cattle for the increased maintenance costs. Again, that’s kind of a…”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “I was going to ask George if we could send him a letter and tell him that we are cleaning it again, every four years, and if we have to do it again….if his cattle continue to cave it in he would be responsible for it.”


Board Member Heimlich stated, “That is kind of how we dealt with it up there to try and get the owner of the cattle to comply.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “We’re going to ask about it. Each time we’ve done it, it’s been because of the cattle…the last time was because of the cattle, basically a lot of it was.”


Chairman Schmierer asked Attorney Loy “Is there a possibility that we could get you to get a letter and to send to him to tell him that if the cattle continue to damage the ditch then he will be responsible for dipping the ditch? The full responsibility for dipping the ditch…we just dipped it four years ago and it’s right back as bad as it was four years ago. These people here own the ground north of it. Is there any way possible we can send a letter like that?”


Attorney Loy stated, “If it is damaging your ditch, sure. Who is it?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “David Reiff….J&R Reiff LLC in care of John.”


Attorney Loy stated, “Take pictures so we can have before and after…”


Board Member Heimlich made a motion to raise the drainage assessment on the C. Hook Drain #660 to $8.00 an acre for three years and then drop to $4.00 an acre after. Board Member Burton seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.


Mr. Patty asked, “How soon do you propose that can be started?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “Well, I’m working on two other drains right now. Do you have a crop in there?”


Mr. Patty replied, “There is government ground on both sides….of mine. The other is pasture.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “I’ll try to get in there this winter and get some elevations and submit for quotes this winter.”


The next item on the agenda was to discuss the Reconstruction of the Emmett Rayman Drain at I-65.


Surveyor Sterrett explained, “We sent out notices for the DNR 30 day Public Notice and I got this letter emailed to me.”


Board Member Burton stated, “I didn’t know we were reconstructing.”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “Well, there’s not enough money in there to do it on maintenance. I guess we could raise the maintenance.”


Board Member Burton stated, “That’s what I was wondering if we could raise the maintenance like we do on some of these others.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “I took a contractor up there on Friday to take a look at it. I haven’t looked at the plan yet to decide what to do, but it looks like we can leave out the interstate part…maybe, through Kelly and Deckards. I think we can spot dip it and get grade enough to leave the interstate part out. I just can’t imagine…I thought it was up to the state to clean their part under the interstate.”


Attorney Loy stated, “I’ll have to look. We haven’t dealt with this, so…”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “It would make a big difference on the cost of the project if a contractor has to get out there with concrete barricades, signs for two miles each way… I think we can work on the lower end where it goes into the Myers, up about 4,000 feet and let the deep part go through Thompson…”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “It doesn’t look that bad through Thompson.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “No, the problem is up west of the interstate…that would be through you (Burton). There is a hump between you….”


Board Member Burton stated, “It starts west of us is where it gets….or at 1150 South is about the area. We’re ok through our ground. Our tile is well above.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “I think in order to lower the water level we might have to go through you. So from there west…one of the main purposes of cleaning the ditch is to get the Stockman Tile to work…there is a branch that comes into it and its underwater right now and then there’s some problems on west.”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “So you are saying that you can avoid this with the state if you just stay away from the interstate.”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “Yes.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “And you think you can stay away from the interstate and still get the drainage.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “I think so…and the part along State Road 18 is the deepest part. It’s going to take a 55 feet reach or more to get that cleaned out.”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “That along State Road 18 probably doesn’t need it, does it?”


Board Member Burton replied, “Well, we took the bridge out, so water is going to flow through there now.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “I think if we go in there on the west end of those culverts and bring the slope back some it will help get the water into those two big crossings. So, that’s on a variable rate…so you think that’s what we want to do is get a cost and come back to the board and raise the variable rate?”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “That’s what I would do. Raise the rates instead of Reconstruction….instead of Reconstruction, raise the rate for three years or whatever it takes and then go back.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “That would be easier for us.”


Board Member Burton stated, “And I think it will be accepted…I might be wrong…There might be a situation there where he might want some clean up down done up by 300. I know there is a lot of fall there, but when there is a lot of water moving through there it comes out the banks close to 300.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “Yeah, I was going to do the first 4,000 feet up to State Road 18 because it’s curvy. When they cleaned up before they started right there at the big pipes and they didn’t go east. I got shots all along there and there is plenty of fall, but I think we need to straighten out some of the curves.”


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