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February 19, 2002 Tape #004

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 David Finley of Samuel Moore & Associates, and Secretary Romana Kiser in attendance.


Others in attendance were Jim Conrad, Bob Roth, Al Strange, Doyle Roth , Marlin Hunt, Edwin Rodehan, Gery Reedy, Mark Hines, Joe Hines, Bob Mitchell, Martha Y. Moss, Rebecca Schultz, Gayne R. McLaughlin, Rex Gady, David Downey, Alice Hard, Herbert & Zelma Whiteman, Daryl Johns, Joe Roach for SFLECC, Willadean Delaney, Larry Downey, Mark Heiny, Claude Butt, Kenneth Stilwell, David Tolley, Patti Tolley, Ruth Logan, Mark Moss, Devin Cotner, Pat Dandino, Ted Ward, Gary Foerman, Leta Tam, Pauline Andrews, Dan Hunt and Charlie Mellon.


Chairman Schmierer called the Landowners Meeting on the Carter-Hines Drain in Cass, Jackson, Liberty and Lincoln Townships, White County Indiana to order. Engineer Dave Finley of Samuel L. Moore & Associates addressed the landowners. Mr. Finley passed out a draft of the Reconstruction Report on the Carter-Hines Drain to those present. Chairman Schmierer stated that we have a request to have the Moss & Delaney Branch added to the project. It was taken in a past of the Carter-Hines drain in 1998. Therefore, that will be added to the project.


Engineer Dave Finley explained the extent of the project is to start at County Road 600 North, proceed north on the Carter Hines up to the intersection with Branch #1, up through Section 14, up to the Moss & Delaney Branch (Not shown as included but it is going to be.) Then we will proceed up Branch #1 all the way to County Road 1450 and include Branch #1 of Branch #1 back around to State Road 16.


Engineer Finley explained that six pages back in the report there is a cost summary and these are the correct numbers. He said if we are going to add the Moss & Delaney Branch, those number are going to go up just a little bit. He explained that we make a cost estimate and once the project is done and we make the final tally, the assessment will be based on the final construction costs. He said he would rather quote high numbers now and have it come in lower than what the landowner was expecting.


Engineer Finley noted that the project is going to consist of cleaning brush, cutting trees, burning or burying trees and debris, a fair amount of dipping to establish a flow line on the ditch. He referred to a series of profiles showing flow lines in Appendix 1 on about the 8th page back in the report that show the existing flow lines of the ditch and this will give a fair idea of how much lower we want to make the ditch.


Engineer Finley explained that there are six structures, culvert crossings to be replaced as part of the project. Most of them are in the project, but a few are not figured in the project. The one at State Road 16 and the one at County Road 1450 will be replaced. One on Branch 3 will be replaced and there will be two new culverts under the road on Branch 2. Mark Hines asked what size farm crossing culverts would be used. Dave Finley answered that there is a summary of all culverts, telling what size about 7 pages back on the report. He did say that there is a 72 inch culvert that we are going to put back with a 72 inch culvert and there is a 48 inch corrugated metal pipe at CR1450 that we are going to put back with a 60 inch. He explained that rather than dredge the whole Branch #1 down to meet the low spot in it, and have to replace every structure, they are going to dredge some areas (pointed out on map) of it and fill in the low spot with dredged material. He said they have to determine how to compact it so it doesn’t turn too much, and make sure it doesn’t fill back in with cattails.


Mark Hines asked how they will determine which side of the ditch to put the spoil on. Engineer Finley said that is not determined yet, if you have a preference you need to let us know. Chairman Schmierer stated, “We generally let the farmer tell us which side he wants it on, and we’re only going to clean one side of the farmer wants to maintain one side for wildlife, we’ll only take the ditch bank and one side, that’s also at the discretion of the farmer.” Mark Hines asked, “Are you saying you could clear both sides at our request?” Engineer Finley answered yes. Chairman Schmierer answered, “We can clear both sides, but a lot of farms sitting in this room do not want both sides cleared and I’m not sure, the kind of ground you are in up there if that is a good move to clear both sides. So, if we can clear one side then they can have wildlife if they want it. We have got to put some filter strips in anyhow.” Mark Hines said if you clear one side, you have to go up the back enough to keep the trees back. Chairman Schmierer agreed. One landowner asked if they would cut a road for maintenance on the side that is not cleaned. Chairman Schmierer said not usually, we never have.


Chairman Schmierer said, “You’re going to have to have filter strips, seed it in grass or something to hold it. You can’t farm right up on the edge. Ideally, Soil & Water Conservation has a pretty nice program that pays you for not farming that bank if you get involved in it. One landowner asked, “The ditch banks on the main that are already seeded in CRP acres, how will they be handled?” Board Member Heimlich answered that is generally in the contract that has to be put back. Chairman Schmierer said the contractor will generally try to be careful because sometimes it is hard to get it seeded back right away, but it is in the contract, same as treating stumps within a half hour.


Mark Heiny asked if the project was being figured as a whole project divided by total amount of acres or as the main with everybody’s tributaries figured separately. Engineer Finley answered that it is figured on the entire watershed. Board Member Heimlich said on page 7 or 8 of the report there is a summary of costs. Chairman Schmierer said the estimated assessment per acre is $12.67. Mark Heiny said, “So you’re telling me that me and the landowners on the south end of this are going to be paying for the north end branches as well as the main.” Chairman Schmierer answered that is the way it has always been done. Mark Heiny asked if he should put his branches in on this project. Chairman Schmierer said if you own them you can’t but if they’re county regulated you can. Mark Heiny said apparently one of them is (regulated) because a culvert is going to be replaced under the road on Branch 2. Engineer Finley said yes that is all a legal drain. Mark Heiny asked about the one to the north of it. Engineer Finley answered that is the Sipple Branch and that also is a regulated drain. Mark Heiny asked how he gets those involved in the project. Chairman Schmierer said you need to contact us so we can take a look at them and see if they need to be done. Mark Heiny said, “I guess if I’m going to pay for other people’s branches I should have mine done.” Engineer Finley said those branches were not part of the original petitions to reconstruct the drain, but they can be added in, that’s no problem. Mark Heiny said the way he understood it from the first landowners’ meeting that everybody that drained into the main Carter-Hines Ditch would be paying for their part of the main and then the acres would be separated out that each branch contributed to. Engineer Finley said, I understand what you are saying, that’s not the way we chose to do it in this watershed.” Mark Heiny said he personally paid for those two branches to be cleaned about four or five years ago. Board Member Heimlich said each branch may be on separate maintenance. Mark Hines stated, “At one of the early meetings, we talked about cleaning every branch and we concluded for fear of getting an astronomical bid that we wouldn’t do that.”


Engineer Finley said that he observed where these branches come in to the Carter-Hines main they look awfully clean to him. Board Member Heimlich stated, I see what he’s saying, if we’re not going to do all the branches, we could still separate out the assessments I would think. So he’s paying a portion of his assessment on the main but not paying for somebody else’s branch if his branch isn’t being done. I don’t see any way we can’t break out the assessments.” Chairman Schmierer was in agreement. Mark Heiny said he has already paid out of pocket to keep his branches cleaned and he doesn’t feel entitled to keep other people’s branches cleaned. Chairman Schmierer said they would look into that and work that out.


Claude Butt asked if 12,000 acres was where the work is being done or it that included the entire watershed. Engineer Finley said that includes acreage on downstream, the entire Carter-Hines watershed, includes all branches and south of County Road 500 North. Chairman Schmierer said some work was done further south in Ralph Hall’s area, in the Range Line area, the Keans Bay Area, on the Carter-Hines in 1996 or 1997 before this Board came on which was paid out of maintenance and you all pay maintenance on it. Mark Hines asked if they could use maintenance money that has built up against the cost of this reconstruction. Chairman Schmierer said it can be. Mark Heiny said should we use some of that maintenance money for part of the project or use it for doing some brushing south of County Road 600, because there are some definite obstructions. Surveyor Sterrett stated there is $53,000.00 in the maintenance fund.


Engineer Finley said that no one has made a petition on that area south of County Road 600, but there was some discussion at one point as to whether those areas should be added. Mark Heiny asked how much fall there is from County Road 600 North to State Road 16. Engineer Finley answered there is about six feet of fall there. He stated in White County that’s not too bad. It is pretty minimal grade but as flat as everything is, it is the best we can do.


Charles Mellon questioned using maintenance money on a Reconstruction project. Board Member Heimlich explained that you can use it for brushing. Attorney Loy stated that you can use maintenance money for strictly maintenance. Chairman Schmierer said there’s the possibility we can pay for the brushing out of maintenance. We can get a figure on the brushing separate. Mark Heiny stated that the brush is just as bad south of County Road 600 North as it is north of it. Chairman Schmierer agreed. Mark Hines asked if the landowners south of CR 600 N are also paying on this. Engineer Finley repeated that we are assessing the entire watershed, north and south of CR 600 N.


Chairman Schmierer informed the landowner that in the mid-1990’s all the work that was done on the lower end of the drain was paid out of maintenance funds and everybody on the upper end paid maintenance too. He said, “There are two arguments you can have for it. The other project has been paid for out of maintenance, where they cleared the brush and did what they had to do, so the people on the upper end paid maintenance just like the people on the lower end.” Chairman Schmierer said that’s the reason we have these landowner meetings, so we get a feel for what you want, and if you don’t want it, tell us now. One landowner said, “We want it, we need it.” Mark Heiny said, “My concern is the obstructions south of CR 600 N causing problems if we are going to spend all this money on the north side of CR 600 N.” Chairman Schmierer stated that he, Surveyor Raderstorf and Engineer Frauhiger drove down through the fields this fall and it needs done but we can’t do it if it is not petitioned by the landowners.


Mark Hines stated that he felt Mark Heiny had a good idea, considering using some maintenance money to do some brushing on down south of CR 600 N. Attorney Loy asked how much money was generated by maintenance each year. The answer is $1,300.00 and also $400.00 from Cass County.


Landowner Delaney asked when to tell if they only wanted one side cleared through their land. Chairman Schmierer said to drop us a letter.


One landowner stated that when they cleaned between CR 1200 E and 1300 E (through Leshers and Cosgrays) that did a poor job and the Board Ok’d it. He asked if it is up to the Board to decide if it is done right. Chairman Schmierer stated that Surveyor Sterrett will be out shooting levels during the project and we will do the best we can to make sure you get a decent job.


Engineer Finley stated that the plans are very clear as to where the stumps get cut off, and to be treated within a half hour. Claude Butt asked, “Once it is removed, are there plans to keep it (brush) out of there then, to keep it clean?” Chairman Schmierer stated that we have a spray plan to spray every 2 to 3 years and that is where your maintenance money is going to go. One landowner asked if individual farmers can be paid to spray their own. Chairman Schmierer answered that the farmer can do it, but it has to be quoted.


Kenny Smolek stated that he would like for the project to go on to the next road back to the West, almost to CR 800 East. Attorney Loy answered, “Just a simple request and then the Board evaluate it.” Chairman Schmierer said it should be in the form of a letter.


Someone questioned not putting a new culvert in on the Sipple Branch because it is the same size as one being replaced. Engineer Finley explained that it is a different flow rate. He said he will go back and take a second look at that.


Surveyor Sterrett reported that Boyd Criswell called in and stated that he doesn’t think he should be assessed on work that is being done before him. Mark Hines stated, “The gentleman spoke about a petition to clean lower, on down, and that project probably wouldn’t com up for two or three years because this one has been in the works for three years, but at that time if they do clean further south all the guys up on the north end are going to be getting a bill. Is that correct?” Chairman Schmierer said, “That’s true. Your water is going right on down through it. So you’re going to have to pay for that too.” Mark Hines said he just wanted everybody to be understanding on down the line. He said if they help us then someday it will turn back and we will help them.


One landowner said technically the south end should be done before the north end. Chairman Schmierer said technically you’re probably right, but we have these plans here now let’s get them done. He said he thinks the consensus is we are in favor of getting it done, to tell them to go ahead and get the plans and we will help them.


Chairman Schmierer adjourned the landowners’ meeting.


Board Member Ferguson made a motion to approve the minutes of the February 4, 2002 meeting. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. Motion carried.


Surveyor Sterrett reported that County Line Tiling/Excavating has finished installing the Christian Brechbiel Drain chaser tile.


Surveyor Sterrett asked what needs to be done for the relocation of the Hendress Tile around Gutwein Seeds south of Reynolds. He stated they are putting it in at their expense and furnishing the legals. Attorney Loy said we should have a Hearing on vacating a portion of the drain and re-establishing the route, sending notice to landowners. He stated this should be entirely at their expense.


Surveyor Sterrett reported that Benton County had approximately one half mile in White County between I-65 and the county line cleaned on the Mason Eastburn Drain. Chairman Schmierer said they can’t assess anyone in White County without a joint meeting. Attorney Loy agreed. Board Member Heimlich stated that we can opt out of a project, but we didn’t.


Surveyor Sterrett stated that he looked at the Christian Stoller Drain clearing project and all the clearing is done and piled up, not buried yet.


Surveyor Sterrett reported that he inspected the E. F. Fry Drain project north of Burnettsville. He said it is dipped and debrushed. It needs leveled and a little bit of brush is in the ditch yet. He asked if he has the say when final payment is made. The answer is yes.


Chairman Schmierer adjourned the meeting.