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February 4, 2003 Tape #003

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 O. D. “Bud” Ferguson and John C. Heimlich, Attorney George W. Loy, Surveyor Dennis W. Sterrett, Engineer Todd Frauhiger, and Secretary Romana Kiser in attendance.


Signing the register for Ackerman Ditch landowners were Ronald Roth Sr., Oscar Ploss, Ryan Blackman, Toby A. Ploss, and David Charles.


Chairman Schmierer opened the Reconstruction Hearing on the J. L. Ackerman Drain in Cass and Liberty Township, White County, Indiana. The Reconstruction project consists of Branch 6, Branch 2 of 6, Branch 3 of 6, Branch 4 of 6, Branch 5 of 6, Branch 1 of 5 of 6, Branch 2 of 5 of 6 in Sections 3, 4, 8, 9, 10 and 11, Township 28 North, Range 2 West, of the J. L. Ackerman Drain in Cass Township, White County, Indiana.


Engineer Frauhiger addressed the landowners and reviewed, saying, “At the last landowners’ meeting that we had, the discussion was just to do something on Branch 6, which is the main branch, but we didn’t have plans to do anything on any of the branches of Branch 6. The instructions that you had given to us was to go out and do a survey on all the different branches, actually it would be Branch 2 clear up to Branch 5 of Branch 6, and look at improving those branches also. What we have done is we went out and did additional surveying and we did find that we could go in and do some substantial changes on all the branches to the main branch. Branch 6 itself will be lowered any place from one and a half feet clear down to three feet in different places. Someone at one of these meetings had indicated that the pipe on State Route 119 was too high. That was exactly right. We are going to lower the pipe at State Route 119 by about two feet. What we will be able to do on every branch then is take that elevation, go up the branch and get that branch totally back to a good grade and get all the brush off of the sides of it. What we ended up with is a project that was originally about 13, 000 feet and we expanded it to get all the branches included, as it was asked by most of you, and we have about 26,000 feet of what we call new ditch, which will be ditch that is completely cleaned and put in to a good grade to carry the water away. In addition to that, another 3,200 feet where we are not going to do anything with the grade but we are going to go ahead and clean it and take everything off of the banks. By the time that we are totally done with this project, we have a project that is about six miles long, of which about 26, 000 feet is going to be new ditch with new grades put in and all the cleaning done on the banks and about 3,200 feet of that just being cleaned. In general we will be dropping the main branch, Branch 6, any place from one and a half feet to three feet. Any field existing field tiles that are under water won’t be under water when we are done. We are going to have a nice slope established for the ditch, to get the water away. It should be a good project.”


Chairman Schmierer added that any outlets in bad repair will be repaired as we go. Engineer Frauhiger stated that the Indiana Department of Transportation had agreed to pay for the lowering of the pipe under State Route 119. He said they would finalize the agreement after today’s meeting. He said that as part of their participation, the County (Highway Department) will pay for the lowering of five county crossings that we have that have to be lowered.


In response to comment on the higher assessments since talks began on the project, Engineer Frauhiger explained, “If you remember, that original project was just a cleaning project and the pervious White County Surveyor did not even know at that point that the structure on State Route 119 was too high. I think at that meeting someone mentioned that structure needs to be lowered and that changed the scope of the project totally. By lowering that structure two feet, it made the entire project possible. That is the key structure in the project. If you can’t lower that structure, there’s not a lot you can do upstream of it. By getting INDOT to lower that structure two feet it opened up the entire watershed. It went from a project that was a small amount of clearing and not doing anything to grade, just leaving it the way it was to 29,000 feet of new ditch.”


Ron Roth Jr. asked what the total figure on the project was. Engineer Frauhiger stated that the estimate is about $83,000.00, but the previous Surveyor felt that we were conservative on the high side with our clearing numbers. He said, “The letters that were sent out have a dollar figure but the real number you should look at is the percentage on the assessment letter. If the bid comes in less than the estimate, your final assessment will be less. It will be based on the percentage.”


Ron Roth Jr. asked how many benefited acres are in the project. Engineer Frauhiger answered 1,278. He said that our estimated cost per acre is $65.00 and he contacted other county Surveyors and they stated that is right in the ballpark for a project this big. He said that Hancock County said on a six mile project they’ve been in the range of $55.00 to $95.00 per acre because it was extremely, heavily overgrown the entire route. Engineer Frauhiger stated that what we have done is going through and estimated along the ditch no clearing, light clearing, and heavy clearing.


One landowner asked what percentage of the $83,000.00 is for clearing. Chairman Schmierer stated that he thought it was almost $20,000 for clearing. The landowner asked how many miles were considered heavy clearing. Engineer Frauhiger stated that it is all highlighted on a map in the Surveyor’s office. The landowner asked where the bottom end of the project is. Engineer Frauhiger stated it is about 600 feet downstream from State Route 119. (Engineer Frauhiger showed route on map.)


Engineer Frauhiger stated that he thinks it is ready to go to bed, the plans are done. He said we have to figure out what side we want he spoil put on. Chairman Schmierer stated that he doesn’t know if we can expect to get the project done before crop season this spring, it takes 30 days to get the bid.


In answer to a landowner’s question, Chairman Schmierer explained that the $65.00 an acre projection is just a guesstimate, not an estimate. He stated that he believes it will come in lower than that.


David Charles said, “You care putting a crossing in n County Road 1000 North, are you putting one on 1200 East also on Branch 3?” Engineer Frauhiger answered, “At 1000 North there is an existing structure there and that structure will be lowered. The existing is at 687.50 and we are going down to 685.82, so 1.8 feet. At 1200 East, that is where we are stopping with the actual lowering. We won’t have to lower that structure; we are going to leave it. Our proposed flow line is calculated at 688 and that existing structure is at 687.93 so we are off .07 and everything upstream of that structure (1,858 feet) at 1200 East is going to be cleaned but we won’t do anything with the grade. We are going to come out of that structure at 1200 East at about .12 which is actually a little bit steeper than it is now. These plans are in the Surveyor’s office. After the meeting if you have particular questions I’ll be glad to go through them with you. As I mentioned before, where Branch 5 comes in to Branch 6 there is sedimentation in that area and we will be lowering about 3 feet in that area.”


One landowner asked, “Do you go out and get an actual bid and present it back to the group before you can mike it a go or is it a go once you start asking for bids?” Engineer Frauhiger said, I think it’s a go with the exception if the bid comes in ten percent above the estimate.” Chairman Schmierer said then we can’t accept it. Engineer Frauhiger said then we are looking at rebidding it and making some changes to the project possibly to try and get the bids a little lower. Chairman Schmierer stated that is a State statute.


Charlie Mellon asked how much it would lower the bid to remove brush from just one side of the ditch. It was determined that the costs wouldn’t be lowered much by doing that. Engineer Frauhiger stated that since there is no DNR permit required for this project we would rather do both sides. Chairman Schmierer stated that if someone wants brush left on one side of the ditch we will cooperate with them. Engineer Frauhiger stated there is one property owner who asked that one side remain not cleared.


One landowner asked, “What about existing cave-ins all along the banks?” Engineer Frauhiger answered, “What we will have in the specs is that any place that there is a washout contractor will be responsible for repairing that washouts. He’ll be in consultation with the Surveyor’s office and our office if it’s a major one. That won’t be included in his bid, but where we have major washouts and tile broken down we’re going to fix it.”


One landowner asked where all the maintenance money is going. Surveyor Sterrett said there is $37,000.00 in the maintenance fund. The landowner asked what they are going to do with that. Chairman Schmierer asked Attorney Loy if part of that maintenance money could be used to lower the cost on the reconstruction project. Board Member Heimlich said he was thinking that maybe we could use maintenance money for the clearing brush. Chairman Schmierer asked if we could dedicate $30,000.00 to this project and reduce it. Attorney Loy stated, “Sure, if what you are doing is maintenance, brush clearing typically is.” Since the maintenance money is paid by the entire Ackerman Drain watershed, from landowners downstream from this project also, it was determined that only a percentage of maintenance money could be used for the clearing brush. (Discussion followed – see tape.) Surveyor Sterrett stated that the drain maintenance brings in $11,000.00 a year. Chairman Schmierer said we will go ahead and use some out of maintenance money and lower the cost of the project some. He said we can debrush and fix outlets out of maintenance. (More discussion on how much maintenance money should be left in the fund and how much land downstream is not included in the scope of this project. – See tape) Based on total acreage in the watershed, Board Member Heimlich stated it could be one-fourth of the $37,000.00 could be available for this project.


Ron Roth Sr. asked how many contractors they were going to get to bid on the project. The answer was at least five or six, and several have already expressed interest in bidding on it. It will be publicly advertised.


One landowner asked what the responsibility of the contractor is as far as leveling the spoil. Engineer Frauhiger said that will be in the specs for the project, it may be 8 to 1. If there is already a steep bank, it could be leveled on out. It will be worked out between the contractor, property owner and Surveyor’s office.


Chairman Schmierer introduced the new Surveyor Dennis W. Sterrett who is a registered surveyor. Chairman Schmierer stated that Surveyor Sterrett will be out checking levels during the project to make sure it is being put in properly. Chairman Schmierer told the property owners if they have concerns, if they see something being done wrong, to report it immediately to the Surveyor’s office.


Chairman Schmierer stated, “There being no further discussion or evidence to be submitted in these proceedings, the Chairman would now consider a motion to determine that the costs, damages and expense of proposed reconstruction would be less than the benefits occurring to the owners of the lands benefited by the reconstruction.” Board Member Heimlich so moved. Board Member Ferguson seconded the motion. Chairman Schmierer stated, “Upon the motion duly made and seconded, after considering all the evidence and objections, if any, concerning the proposed reconstruction, those Members of the White County Drainage Board who determine that the cost, damage and expense of benefited by the reconstruction be less than the benefits occurring to the owners of the land benefited by the reconstruction raise you right hand. (All members raised their hands) The White County Drainage Board by a vote of 3 to 0 now hereby determine that the cost, damage and expense of the proposed reconstruction by less than the benefits occurring to the owners of the land benefited by the reconstruction, therefore adopts the reconstruction report of the White County Surveyor and the Schedule of Damages and Assessments including any annual assessment for periodic maintenance. The White County Drainage Board now issues written Findings and Order declaring the proposed reconstruction of the Branch 6, Br. 2 of 6, Br. 3 of 6, Br. 4 of 6, Br. 5 of 6, Br. 1 of 5 of 6 and Br. 2 of 5 of 6 of the J. L. Ackerman Drain established.


Chairman Schmierer adjourned the Hearing.


Jack Steele, Benton County Surveyor, was on the agenda but did not show.


Chairman Schmierer reported that Vernon Furrer, who was on the agenda for today’s meeting, was not present but he had discussed his tiling to the Jamroz Drain with him. He stated that Mr. Furrer is gong to hook up to the drain (Schwab farm) and if that doesn’t flush it out some we may have to have it flushed out.


Discussion on raising the maintenance on the Margaret Price #1, Margaret Price and N. A. Plummer drains that join Honey Creek at the head of the Honey Creek headwall, involved in a joint project with Soil and Water Conservation at the head of Honey Creek. Surveyor Sterrett reported that the N. A. Plummer Drain maintenance is thirty-five cents an acre, collects $234.00 a year, and has $894.11 in maintenance fund. Chairman Schmierer explained that these are all three tile drains. The N. A. Plummer tile is exposed and busted at that site. Surveyor Sterrett stated that the Margaret Price Drain has $3,434.48 in the maintenance fund. The maintenance rate is thirty-five cents and acre and collects $784.27 a year. The Margaret Price Branch #1 Drain has $635.05 in the maintenance fund, is on thirty-five cents an acre maintenance and collects $144.66 a year in maintenance.


Chairman Schmierer stated, “The tile that is broke down is all N. A. Plummer, it is the one in the center coming in. It has to be replaced back I’d say about 100 to 150 feet.” Discussion followed stating the Margaret Price Tile on the west side is also broke down at the headwall where the pipe coming through. The Branch #1 Margaret Price Tile doesn’t need the rate raised. The Margaret Price Drain has $3, 434, 48 in the maintenance fund, so actually the only one we need to have a hearing on to raise the maintenance rate is the N. A. Plummer Tile. Chairman Schmierer stated we will have to have a Maintenance Modification Hearing the raise the maintenance.


Board Member Heimlich asked what the estimate to fix the tile was. Chairman Schmierer sated that it would take 100 foot of 24 inch tile. He explained that Soil and Water is going to put new waterways in so we need to fix the tile. Once we fix the tile, they are going to move the waterway off of the top of the tile so (tile) has some cover on it. Board Member Heimlich asked the acreage assessed on the Plummer Tile. Surveyor Sterrett answered 647 acres. Surveyor Sterrett stated that it is 10,000 feet long. The Board agreed to set up a Maintenance Modification Hearing to propose to raise the rate on the N. A. Plummer Tile Drain to $3.00 an acre. All landowners will be notified.


Steve Brooke, White County Highway Superintendent stated that his pipes are right on the tile at County Road 700 W. Chairman Schmierer said he would have Tom Wagner, Soil and Water Conservationist, talk to Supt. Brooke before they do anything.


Attorney Loy stated that landowners have to be notified 10 days before the Hearing on a Maintenance Modification. Chairman Schmierer stated that should be ready for the first meeting in March.


Surveyor Sterrett stated that Tillett Engineering send a plan to move the Hendress Lateral of the E. H. Johnson Drain at the Gutwein Seed Company locations south of Reynolds. Engineer Frauhiger explained, “There is an existing 12 inch tile (shown on a map) and Gutwein eventually wants to expand this building which would put it out over this 12 inch tile. They ask for permission to reroute this tile around the edge of their property line. Their original request we turned down because they were going to put corrugated tile back in to match the corrugated tile that was out here, but because of the extra distance they are putting in, they decreased the slope on it so we put the requirement on it that they put smooth plastic tile in there, because of the better friction factor and you get more water through it. The smooth type around here will have the same capacity as the corrugated pipe did through here (shown on map). They will then disconnect the tile here, come out in an existing manhole with new 12 inch to a new manhole, new 12 inch to a second new manhole and then new 12 inch down to a new manhole they put over the existing 12 inch tile. This (existing) will be abandoned and cut off at this manhole (shown on drawing). It is going to be left in place because they will use a portion of it in the future, they’re going to put a detention pond over in this (shown on drawing) area and that will use this existing pipe to get the water down into their detention area before they discharge back into the legal County drain. Because they went with the smooth tile we can recommend approval (of their drainage plan).


Board Member Heimlich made a motion to approve the drainage plan of Gutwein Seeds to move the Hendress Tile Lateral in Honey Creek Township, White County, Indiana. Board Member Ferguson seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


Surveyor Sterrett asked if they have to vacate the old tile. Engineer Frauhiger stated he talked to Tillett Engineering and it is their intent to vacate the old tile and the route of the new tile will become the legal County drain with 75 foot easement. Surveyor Sterrett asked if we notify the watershed. Chairman Schmierer said it won’t change the watershed. Engineer Frauhiger stated that he read that if the proposed improvement didn’t decrease the capacity of the tile they don’t have to notify the rest of the watershed, and it doesn’t.


Surveyor Sterrett asked what should be done about the problem Darrell Erb has reported on the Martin Drain in Monon Township by the new quarry south of Monon. Surveyor Sterrett said it is a court drain but it is not on maintenance. It is under the McKillip Drain. Secretary Kiser explained it is in the McKillip watershed but the Martin Drain is not on maintenance. Surveyor Sterrett stated a legal description of the drain has been found, and a paper saying it is a court drain. Board Member Heimlich said the farmer (Darrell Erb) that farms the ground around there says that since the new stone quarry went in and built up the mounds around there, it isn’t draining like it did before, there is water backing up there. Attorney Loy asked if this is an open ditch. Surveyor Sterrett answered yes, about two miles long. Attorney Loy stated, “Surveyor Sterrett has evidence that is 1884 it was established as a court drain. If you want to do anything to it, my suggestion is to set it up on the maintenance under the assumption that it is a regulated drain.” Board Member Heimlich asked what Darrell Erb thought needed to be done to solve his problem. Surveyor Sterrett answered that Mr. Erb did not really say, he said it is draining in there faster than it was and is washing out the banks on the bends. Attorney Loy said we need to establish the watershed and confirm that this description is what is out there. Board Member Heimlich asked Surveyor Sterrett to get a hold of Darrell Erb and then they would meet with him on site. It may be that the problem doesn’t even involve the court drain (Martin), it might involve a private matter between he and the stone quarry. Attorney Loy stated at least there is evidence that the Martin Drain is a regulated drain, so consequently, after meeting on site they would need to determine if they want to abandon it, maintain it or reconstruct it.


Discussion on the quarry and who farmed around it followed. Charlie Mellon said the quarry may have built a wall around it, causing water problems. Board Member Heimlich said he thinks that is part of the problem. They had some water standing up there after they build that, right by the office there. (See Tape.) Steve Brooke stated that they had water standing there before and they still do.


Board Member Ferguson made a motion to approve the minutes. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


Chairman Schmierer adjourned the meeting.