Get Adobe Flash player


December 7, 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.

County Council members Bruce Clear and Dennis Cain were in attendance. Also in attendance were Sharon Watson of White County Soil & Water, Wayne Beck of Horizon Wind Energy, landowner Margaret Anderson represented by Attorney John Million, Larry Downey, Dave Downey, Mike Ezra, and Charlie Mellon.

The first item on the agenda was to approve the minutes from the November 16th, 2009 meeting. Board Member Heimlich so moved. Board Member Burton seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.


The next item on the agenda is to discuss a tile issue on Margaret Anderson’s property. Mrs. Anderson is in attendance and is represented by Attorney John Million. Attorney Million stated, “Good Morning. I represent Margaret Anderson and she is here today. About 10 years ago she entered into an agreement with her neighbors for maintenance and repair of a common drainage tile which ran across her property. The neighbors involved were Jim Hallar and Wayne Hunt. It provided for the maintenance of a tile which is a six inch clay tile across the property of Margaret Anderson. Mr. Hallar had always hooked into that tile and Mr. Hunt ran a tile underneath the roadway and into Mr. Hallar’s tile which then runs across her property. That tile continues to cause problems and it’s blown up a couple of times. Mr. Hunt has made repairs on it a couple times and the agreement provided that in the event that the tile did fail, and it has a number of times, that all of the parties would then petition the White County Drainage Board to accept the tile as a permanent drain and install a different drain or tile. What Margaret believes is necessary there is at least an eight or even ten inch tile and it is their request, pursuant to their agreement that they entered into back in April of 1999--more than ten years ago, to petition the Drainage Board to take over that six inch tile. It runs up into the Benjamin Ditch.”


Ms. Anderson’s tenant stated, “May I interrupt? That tile is an eight inch tile.”


Attorney Million stated, “The present tile is an eight inch tile. Well, they need a larger one. With Margaret here today…her tenants, Larry and Dave Downey, they farm her ground and they can explain to you exactly what happens and how that blows up. That is the purpose of us being here today. This is preliminary; we haven’t executed a petition yet. We wanted to get ideas from the commissioners to see what is possible. She has talked to Mr. Sterrett.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “Yeah, I’ve talked to Surveyor Sterrett too. This has been going on for some time. We’ve been involved in it before. Do you know how long that tile is, Surveyor Sterrett?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “I don’t even know where it’s at.”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “Where they hook into it….is it alright on their side of the field?”


Ms. Anderson stated, “As far as I know it is. It is flooding my drive up to the buildings, from there, over to Haller’s fence row. It has been repaired ten times in the ten or eleven years he’s been hooked on and Mr. Hunt hooked on to Mr. Hallar with his permission and I did not know anything about it or I wouldn’t have let him do it. My late husband told me that the tile was old and not let anyone else hook onto it.”


Attorney Million stated, “And we addressed those problems in the agreement which they entered into ten years ago, so…”


Board Member Heimlich asked, “Where does it outlet?”


Attorney Million stated, “Into the Benjamin Ditch.”


Board Member Heimlich asked, “And the outlet…is it alright, is it under water? Is it buried in the ditch?”


One of the tenants stated, “It’s in the dirt in the ditch.”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “So they just have to petition to the Drainage Board?”


Attorney Loy stated, “I think you are under Section 18 of the Drainage Code which would refer the request to the Surveyor. It has to be up to specs for them to take over. If the Surveyor determines that the private drain doesn’t meet the standards of construction…”


Attorney Million asked, “So the cost of it would be on the landowners?”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “Yes, all the drainage costs go back to the landowner in the form of maintenance or construction costs. It’s all paid for that way. There are no county tax dollars used. If they want to petition and turn it over to us….it still has to be up to standards before we would take it.”


Attorney Million asked, “So if the new tile is to be installed…they are required to bear that expense and then request the takeover of the maintenance by the county.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “If you put a new tile in, the watershed is going to all share it. In other words, if Hallar, Hunt and her (Anderson) all drain into it, it is shared by the whole watershed.”


Board Member Heimlich stated, “It doesn’t make any difference what shape it’s in, if they are going to put in a new tile they would all have to pay their fair share of it.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “That would be new construction then….and that’s what they are saying needs to be done, a new tile, right?”


Board Member Heimlich asked, “What’s the position of Mr. Hallar and Mr. Hunt?”


Attorney Million replied, “I invited both of them to attend the meeting today and I thought they were going to be here. I don’t see either one of them.”


Ms. Anderson stated, “The water stood in that area on the road for several years and he sat here in the meeting when I was in here the last time and he (Highway Department) thanked me for letting them hook on because it helped drain the roadside and he didn’t know how else he was going to do it. I did not give Mr. Hunt permission to hook on; he did that on his own.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “Well, this isn’t the first time we’ve talked about this tile.”


One of the tenants stated, “Margaret just wants to know if she can put in tile of her own and cut theirs off. They can come down on the east side of that gravel road…that’s all she wants. If we leave that old tile there it’s not going to work anyway.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “It’s a private tile. If they cut that tile off, it’s a private tile.”


Board Member Heimlich stated, “Except, I don’t know what the agreement says.”


Attorney Loy stated, “We’re not going to give… have Mr. Million for legal advice.”


Attorney Million stated, “The agreement did provide in the event that should a different tile was needed to replace the existing drainage tile that the parties agree to petition the White County Drainage Board to accept said tile or drain as a public drain and to install a different drain or tile as a public drain….in a manner prescribed by current Indiana drainage law.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “The problem with that contract is that the county wasn’t a part of that contract.”


Attorney Million stated, “No, that’s true, so it can’t bind the county. I understand that. It just binds those three and that’s what they were supposed to do and that’s what they are doing…or at least what Margaret is doing and if they don’t want to join that then I think her best remedy is to make her own repairs on her own land and leave them to their own devices.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “Yeah, but if she repairs it on her own and they keep draining into it its not going to get any better. And that’s the problem, that’s what they’ve got.”


Attorney Million stated, “But it’s a private drain and I think…”


Board Member Heimlich asked, “I’m a little confused. Ms. Anderson said that Mr. Hunt didn’t have permission to hook on?”


Attorney Million replied, “Originally he did not, that’s true. The contract follows that. My answer would be that it’s a private drain and she can do what she wants with the private drain, but they can bring action against her for cutting off their drainage, which they entered into this agreement with her, but if they aren’t here to petition or to help improve the drain…then the way to go….it looks to me like the next step is to ask them to at least consider with us the repair of the existing tile.”


Board Member Heimlich stated, “I think they are talking about replacing.”


Attorney Million stated, “Well, when I say repair…I meant replace with a different, larger tile in the same location.”


Ms. Anderson asked, “If that would be replaced with a different tile then Mr. Hallar and Mr. Hunt would have to pay their third?”


Attorney Million stated, “Yes, if they want to comply with this agreement.”


Ms. Anderson stated, “Well, I talked to both of them and Mr. Hunt doesn’t agree to put in a new tile, but he will agree to pay on two acres of ground that he drains in there. Mr. Hallar wasn’t very cooperative. He said he thought he didn’t have to do that so I got no cooperation from either one of them. So that is why I’m here because I don’t know where to go or what to do.”


Board Member Heimlich asked, “How many acres does each person have approximately?”


Attorney Million replied, “I didn’t bring my plat book with me.”


Ms. Anderson stated, “Mr. Hunt hooked on to Mr. Hallar and Mr. Hunt is on the east side of the road and Mr. Hallar is on the left side of the road. Now they brought the water from the other side of the road and bring it down on me. Now, I was wondering if I could cut my tile off with Mr. Hallar and since Mr. Hunt brings his water across the road, why can’t Mr. Hallar take that area where he’s at back across the east side of the road and then Mr. Hunt can make a tile down his side of the road to the same ditch I empty in to?”


Attorney Million replied, “Well, you’re asking these gentlemen that question and these gentlemen don’t have to answer. That’s really a matter between Mr. Hallar, Mr. Hunt, and yourself. We did attempt to work this out by this agreement and the agreement only worked for a while and now we’re to the part of the agreement where we’re either going to have to repair that tile or abandon it. And if we repair that tile, and when I say repair I mean replace, they are going to have to participate. If they don’t participate then I think you’re going to have to do something else. That is kind of the way I am looking at it.”


Board Member Burton stated, “Well, I think you understand where we’re at.”


Attorney Million stated, “Yes, I do. Thank you very much for you time. I appreciate it.”


Surveyor Sterrett asked to continue the discussion on the Isaac Benjamin ditch.


Surveyor Sterrett explained, “Like Ms. Anderson said, we want to try to clean that ditch out from the county road north to the Timmons Ditch. There is approximately…down to the bend, where you see the sharp bend, her tile outlets right in here…if we go to the bend I think we can get enough grade to get her tile out of the water and that is about 1,700 feet. I figured about $2,400.00.”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “Does it have any money in it?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “There is $1,930 in it and we did not collect in 2008 or 2009. It is $2.00 an acre and it collects $558 per year.”


Board Member Burton stated, “Is it on by itself?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “Yes, it’s on by itself and the most it can have in it is $2,232. It doesn’t look to bad down by the outlet, but I guess we could get it done for…..I figured $1.50 an acre.”


Board Member Burton made a motion to allow the Surveyor to get quotes on the Isaac Benjamin Ditch. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.


The next item on the agenda is to discuss the partial clean out costs of the J. T. Williams Drain.


Surveyor Sterrett explained, “Wayne Hunt and Bob Wrede drain into this. We had a landowners meeting on it and I was asked to get an estimate on how far we needed to go to get the tiles out of the water. I figure we can go up to…there is 1,676 feet and I thought we could get two foot of fall out of…that would be from the outlets up to the road and then down the road 400 feet where it bends and goes away from the road is how far we’d have to go to get those tile out of the water. I figured on $1.00 a foot to dip it and brush was $3,840, so that came to $5,516.00.”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “And it’s in debt already?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “It’s in debt $2,424… brings in $1,690 per year.”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “Didn’t we decide to raise the rates on that four years or something to pay for that?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “Well, that was for the whole drain, or most of it.”


Board Member Burton asked, “And it’s variable?”


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


Chairman Schmierer stated, “We said we were just going to do it under maintenance and raise the rates, right? Isn’t that what we said?”


Board Member Heimlich stated, “That’s what we discussed.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “Yeah, but you know, that was cleaning all of it. If we raise the rates and we’re only going to do that one part, it’s only going to benefit one or two people.”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “So, you’re saying it’s not going to benefit the people south or towards the lake?”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “Towards the lake.”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “How much acreage is going to be involved, do you have any idea?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “Just for this clean out? No, I didn’t figure the acreage on this. The tiles looked like they were heading from Hunt’s ground and, maybe there was a tile headed towards the southwest which might have went into Wrede. It didn’t look like it would go to Wrede because there was a hill in the way. There might be 30 acres of Hunt’s ground....”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “It’s not going to benefit anyone else?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “Not that clean out. It might benefit Wrede some, but his tiles aren’t under water.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “Wrede doesn’t want it in the first place.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “There was a petition to clean this ditch back in 1995. These are all the people that signed against it.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “I think we should table it for now.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “It’s always the head end of the ditch that has the problems.”


Chairman Schmierer, “The costs outweigh the benefits. The bottom end has plenty of fall. I think you can just shelf that for a while.”


The next item on the agenda is Horizon Wind Energy to discuss ditch crossings.


Board Member Burton explained, “What I have here is Phase II….it might have crept up in Phase I, but I don’t know if it did or not…there are some small crossings where they kind of put in temporary crossings, in particular a cement tile, and the landowner came to me saying it was really nice because he couldn’t get across that ditch before, and would we be willing to leave it in there. Bruce even offered to pay towards….to find out if it has enough capacity for that particular situation. I have another one where the landowner in Phase IV has said he heard they were putting a culvert in, can they leave it and it’s not even in yet. It is kind of approaching, when these things occur how does the board feel about pursuing it? My immediate reaction to Bruce is, ok, we need to know flow and not be restrictive. Obviously, it’s a regulated ditch.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “Well, I think as along as he pays for a private crossing. Private crossings have been put in forever, so as long as it’s put in per standards that is all the county is concerned….big enough to keep the flow going. That is my understanding. There have been several crossings put in.”


Attorney Loy asked, “Are you saying that Horizon is willing to put it in at their cost?”


Board Member Burton replied, “Well, they already have.”


Attorney Loy asked, “And then the question is, do they leave it there?”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “And, is it big enough?”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “As long as it’s big enough there is no problem. I don’t imagine Horizon cares if they have to leave it or not. It would be a lot cheaper to leave it than to take it out. The thing is if you’re going to put one in, and you’ve already got one in, but if you’re going to put one in make sure it’s big enough.”


Mr. Beck stated, “In this instance here, I want to say that the plans called for either a 30 or a 36 inch temporary pipe to go in there and we put a 42 inch in there because that’s what they had at the time.”


Attorney Loy stated, “As long as we are in the midst of re-doing Phase III, IV, and V Road Agreement we can throw that in. That is has to be designed to accommodate the top flow and drain flow.”


Board Member Burton stated, “It kind of puts you in a situation of where it would be a landowner request one way or another. My comment was we need to make sure, kind of like the Gorski ditch there, is that we talk about this before hand so you don’t get caught with, and they don’t get caught and disappointed…and it’s a surprise to us all of a sudden.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “I think we need to know whether this pipe in the Dorsey Ditch is big enough.”


Board Member Burton stated, “Yeah, and Bruce (Brown) understands that. I told him we might have to get Todd (Frauhiger) involved to get some flow numbers and he said he would cover that cost or have someone of his own…he understood that. The question to me was whether it was permissible. If it’s not permissible then there is no use going through the effort.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “Well, there are other crossings in the county that were put in privately, but they’ve always had to have the flow numbers, that’s the main thing. I don’t see any problem…”


Surveyor Sterrett asked, “Did you have the pipe sized?”


Mr. Beck replied, “Yes, and that’s what I was saying it was to be either a 30 or a 36 inch temporary pipe and it’s a 42 inch in there.”


Attorney Loy stated, “So, keep the crossings there if the landowner wants it left in.”


Mr. Beck stated, “We have no problem leaving it there.”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “Does that answer your question?”


Board Member Burton replied, “Well, yeah. There’s going to be more as we progress with Phase III, IV, and V that might pop up. Will you be able to run numbers part of the time and have Todd run numbers part of the time?”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “I would say you would need an engineer.”


Attorney Loy stated, “I just want to ask one more question…there may be two instances where they are dealing with multi-jurisdictional drains where we have relinquished jurisdiction of. Are there going to be any more of those in Phases III, IV, and V and how do we want to deal with those if we don’t….we’re negotiating that contract but some other county deals with the…”


Surveyor Sterrett asked, “Horizon has already been to Tippecanoe County, right? And filed a petition?”


Mr. Beck stated, “I don’t know about that, but I do know Benton County.”


Attorney Loy stated, “Just so you are aware that you need to do that.”


Mr. Beck stated, “Right.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “Those drains have been sent to Horizon that are maintained by other counties.”


Attorney Loy stated, “Because we have our specs and road and drainage use agreement for what we require with respect to regulated drains, but then some of those regulated drains we don’t have jurisdiction over because its some other county.”


Mr. Beck stated, “We are aware of that.”


Board Member Burton stated, “While we’re with Wayne, could we jump on the Substation II water issue while we’re here.”


Mr. Beck stated, “I just need closure in what way we need to go. We’ve got the two options which have been approved, or discussed. I just need closure in what way the Drainage Board, with the landowner, would want me to go.”


Board Member Burton stated, “To kind of recap, we approved the drainage plan for Substation II and it…”


Mr. Beck stated, “It was approved with a concrete spillway with a concrete drainage structure and it would end up on the Yerk’s property. Yerk is worried…afraid that it would wash out on the other side where it spills out. He was wondering if we could put a 10 or 12 inch tile from the pond down to the county tile which is approximately 400 feet. The drainage…said that we would either have to fill in the pond to where there was no ponding water or dig it down an additional four foot to where cattails wouldn’t grow in it. We’re willing to remove the concrete structure and replace it with a rip-rap structure that would slow the water down, the sheeting action, and put a drain tile—either a 6 or 8 inch French drain in the bottom of the pond to get the water from standing.”


Board Member Burton asked, “And that tile won’t be exposed?”


Mr. Beck stated, “No, it will be subsurface.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “But you’re still going to have the two 12 inch outlets?”


Mr. Beck stated, “It doesn’t…I just need some direction on which way to go.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “But you’re still going to have the two 12 inch outlets as planned.”


Mr. Beck stated, “Yes, if that’s the way…”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “You’re going to have to show…if you’re not going to have those outlets you’re going to have to show the drainage board how you plan to drain that pond.”


Mr. Beck asked, “So, you’re talking about saying X number of inch rain fall.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “Yeah, just like you did before because you’re changing the plans if you’re not going to have those two 12 inch ones in.”


Mr. Beck stated, “Well, we can put the drainage structure in there. I just didn’t want the landowner coming back to you all after we leave.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “That’s what will happen if you take the two 12’s out and the 8 doesn’t drain the pond, then you’re going to have problems with it going over the spillway. And if you leave the two 12’s in and put in an 8 inch and you’re telling the landowner that this 8 inch is going to drain that pond and it still comes out the 12’s, then they’re going to come back to the Drainage Board and say wait a minute you approved this and you told us it was going to drain without flooding your land.”


Mr. Beck stated, “All the 8 inch is doing is getting rid of the standing water.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “That’s right.”


Mr. Beck continued, “And the rip-rap versus the concrete spillway…the rip-rap spillway is just slowing the flow rate down.”


Surveyor Sterrett asked, “That was emergency overflow, wasn’t it?”


Mr. Beck replied, “Right.”


Attorney Loy stated, “And Denny we’re talking about the White County Drainage Ordinance, right?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “Right.”


Board Member Burton stated, “By changing what you’re saying there….does it still meet the numbers?”


Mr. Beck stated, “It wouldn’t change anything that hadn’t already been approved. All I’m asking is to go with a rip-rap spillway instead of a concrete and we’ll put the drainage structure in there plus the 8 inch tile to get rid of the standing water…the tile into the county tile.”


Board Member Burton stated, “And you haven’t changed the specs on how it’s going to remove the water, it’s still there you just want to rip-rap instead of cement. Does that make sense?”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “Yeah, I don’t have a problem with that subsurface drain as along as they aren’t telling the landowner that the 8 inch that they are putting in isn’t going to keep it from overflowing on their land because what I’m afraid of is they’ll come back to the Drainage Board.”


Board Member Burton stated, “All the 8 inch is doing is meeting our request that it be either a dry pond or…”


Mr. Beck stated, “Exactly, and why I’m pushing for this is the transformer for the substation is coming around the 15th. I just need to know what direction…if we’re going to get it done before, because all this work is in the same area. We’ll put the spillway in…rip-rap, put the drainage structure in and the two flow restraint structures, and the 8 inch drain tile to remove the subsurface water. ”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “I don’t have a problem with that. I mean, we requested for them to either fill in the pond or put a tile in…a subsurface drain into the pond. As long as it’s per plan…”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “Does that clear it up for you?”


Mr. Beck stated, “Yes, that’s all I needed.”


Board Member Burton asked, “And he can ask for pictures?”


Surveyor Sterrett asked, “…of the 8 inch, because you’re tying into a county tile.”


Mr. Beck stated, “Yeah, I’ll do that. I appreciate it.”


The next item on the agenda is to discuss is the John Youngmeyer Tile.


Surveyor Sterrett explained, “Last week I went up and met with Herb and Dwayne Hunt and if you remember we spent some money on that drain and raised the maintenance on it. We got the outlet repaired and we put in 120 feet of 15 inch tile, took all the trees off the outlet, and now the tile is in debt. I am requesting to do further work on it. The Youngmeyer is in debt $2,100.00. Mike (Ezra) did some work on it on VanMeter just last month. Sparks did the other repair. We raised it to $5.00 an acre in May and it’s going to collect $1,374.00 and I talked to…Dennis Sparks said he was about ready to finish up the repairs on it through the woods and he thought that would be under $800. He said it had roots in it and the tile had a belly in it where it blew out. So, I guess is it ok to repair it? He’s already repaired it. I called him last week as I was with Dwayne and Herb and I asked him if he would want to work on it and he said yes, and he thought I meant go ahead and work on it. He got up there when it was dry.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “Well, maybe it will take care of it this time.”


Surveyor Sterrett stated, “So, it’s going to be in debt $2,900.00.”


Chairman Schmierer stated, “So, it will take a couple years to get out.”


The next item on the agenda is to report on the John Day Tile.


Surveyor Sterrett explained, “I met with Joe Mowrer and Jonathan Borgers with Wesslers at the site on November 20th and they talked like they would angle the outlet different than they had the plan with the stream…and they were going to…they talked like they could hook the old 24 up to the 42 and then we’d only have one outlet in the Buss Ditch.”


Chairman Schmierer asked, “Who called on that?”


Surveyor Sterrett replied, “Max Hauck. So, that’s what they were going to do. They were also going to armor the south side of the bank on Max’s property with some boulders that they were taking out of the ditch. So, they were going to push those over there and armor the bank at that point. The south bank is already eroding because of the boulders that were in the stream, it was diverting water over to that bank, so we’re going to push that over there and straighten out the bank a little bit there or put it back where it used to be.”


Surveyor Sterrett reported that he got DNR approval on the Emmett Rayman project. He reported that he is waiting to hear from Tippecanoe County about waiving their rights and their meeting is on December 9th.


Chairman Schmierer asked if there was anything further for the drainage board. Chairman Schmierer then adjourned the meeting.