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April 15, 2002 Tape #008

The White County Drainage Board convened at 10:40 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 of Samuel L. Moore & Associates and Secretary Romana Kiser in attendance.


Others attending were Dan Banes of White County Health Department, James Beckner, David Downey, Ronald Roth Sr., Jim Overbeck, Richard Welker, Harold Lawson, Barb Lawson, George Malchow, Jeanne McKillip, Gerald E. McKillip and Charles Mellon.


Chairman Schmierer opened the meeting with the Maintenance Modification Hearing on the Opal Carmichael Drain is Cass Township, White County, Indiana.


Chairman Schmierer explained that a maintenance project is planned and we proposed to raise the maintenance rate to pay for it. The proposal is to raise the maintenance rate on the Opal Carmichael Drain to $7.50 an acre and $5.00 minimum for 3 years, to be lowered to $2.00 an acre and $5.00 minimum after 3 years.


Surveyor Sterrett explained the project as planned by former White County Surveyor Rick Raderstorf. The project begins at County 900 East, Southeast through the properties of McKillip, Roth, Gregory Lawson and Harold Lawson to State Road 16, then continues East through Quality Farms, David and Donna Snavely, Lisa and Christopher Snavely to County Road 1000 East continuing on Southeast through Downey, Evernham, McKillip and Merle Snavely to State Road 16 (where it runs north and south) and then east across the Welker property for about 700 feet. That is 16,800 feet of dredging and some clearing. Surveyor Sterrett state that the petition was signed in 1997.


Chairman Schmierer reminded landowners that this is a continuation of a Maintenance Modification and landowners meeting that was tabled last fall due to lack of interest in getting it done. Landowners who had petitioned it, Dave Downey and Richard Welker, came back to the Drainage Board and asked for help in getting it done, to get drainage relief. He said he had another contractor look at the project and he thinks it can be done for around $33,500.00, some savings from the original estimate. Mr. Welker stated he has added tile and still is in trouble.


Landowner Ron Roth Sr. questioned doing the project under maintenance rather than reconstruction. Chairman Schmierer explained that we are going to dip the ditch back to original levels; we are not changing the original levels. If we did, it would have to be done under reconstruction. Due to state laws we would have to have engineering done which would add at least 20 percent to the project. He stated that we now have a registered surveyor in the office who can do any surveying that needs done instead of hiring it done.


Chairman Schmierer stated that we do not think we can get any better levels than taking it down to original levels.


Gerald McKillip asked if they would clean both sides of the ditch or just one side. Chairman Schmierer said the Landowner will generally tell us, if they are a conservationist and want to keep one side. As long as tress are far enough away from the ditch that they won’t fall in, we will leave a buffer on one side for conservation, but if you would rather have both sides cleaned we can clean both sides. Gerald McKillip asked if they would keep it cleaned. Chairman Schmierer said we will spray it after it is cleaned. Landowner Ron Roth asked if they were going to clean the ditch to the river. Chairman Schmierer answered, “No, I think it goes down to County Road 900 and I think the fall after County Road 900 is, most of that down through there has plenty of fall to take it on down.” Mr. Roth said he agreed. He said there is some brush down by the river. Chairman Schmierer said he didn’t think it was near the problem that it is on up.


Chairman Schmierer said if the bid comes in lower the maintenance can be reduced later.


George Malchow asked if they were going to clean the small ditch that comes about a half mile north of Welker’s. Chairman Schmierer said it was not in the proposed project. George Malchow said it is hooked on to the Carmichael Ditch and they dredged it the last time. Chairman Schmierer stated that he would have to go up and look at it to answer his question. George Malchow said he didn’t not want to $7.50 an acre raise in maintenance if they weren’t going to clean that. He said that is the only way his water goes. Chairman Schmierer asked how big of a ditch it is. George Malchow said it is probably about a half mile long or a quarter of a mile. Richard Welker said it doesn’t come on to his property; it is in a fence row there on the west side of Hwy 16.


Surveyor Sterrett stated the ditch George Malchow is talking about is the J. G. Barton. It will have to be determined if the ditch is on separate maintenance or paid under the Opal Carmichael Drain maintenance fund. It can be tied in to the project if it is on Opal Carmichael maintenance. (It was later determined that the J. G. Barton Ditch maintenance is paid under Opal Carmichael Drain maintenance.)


Harold Lawson asked if his seeded ground would be re-seeded. Chairman Schmierer stated it would be put back in like grasses.


Chairman Schmierer stated the White County Drainage Board having heard and considered all of the evidence and hear any objections presented in these preceedings, has determined that the established maintenance on the Opal Carmichael Drain is insufficient and the annual assessments for periodic assessment of said drain should be increased as proposed in the proceedings, to $7.50 an acre and $5.00 minimum for three years, to be lowered to $2.00 an acre and $5.00 minimum after three years. Board Member Heimlich so moved and Board Member Ferguson seconded the motion. The Board agreed unanimously with a vote of 3 to 0 in favor of the motion to adopt the schedule of modified assessments originally filed herein. The White County Drainage Board issues written Findings and Order declaring the maintenance modifications established and a copy will be mailed to all landowners.


Ron Roth asked how many total acres go into the project. The answer is 1,574 benefited acres.


Surveyor Sterrett was directed to send invitations to quote the maintenance project to three or four contractors.


Next on the agenda was Dan Banes of the White County Health Department on behalf of landowners in east Monticello on Meadow Lane and Hornback’s addition. He stated, “What drains from Vogel’s on the north side of the railroad tracks, under the railroad tracks and then sort of free flows through Mr. Hornback’s land. Also from the east side of the railroad tracks there a great deal of water coming down there. Mr. Beckner has pictures and if you go down to Meadow Lane even today, it’s been two and a half days since the rain, you still have water running down that street, a lot of ponding back in there. I think it needs attention.”


Chairman Schmierer asked if they have a County maintained drain in there. Dan Banes said there is a drain at Washington and Meadow Lane. Surveyor Sterrett said that is not a County maintained drain. Chairman Schmierer said it is just a natural water flow. Dan Banes said there is a drain there with two manholes; there is a catch basin there. Attorney Loy said that more than likely it was put in by the developer when the subdivision was put in. Chairman Schmierer said it is not our jurisdiction at all. Board Member Heimlich added, “If it was never made a County (Regulated) Drain.”


Dan Banes stated, “We do need something in there to stop that water from running down that street and flooding those properties.” Chairman Schmierer said, “That is not something we can do, that is something that has to be done by the landowners themselves. We don’t have any jurisdiction over it unless it is a maintained County Drain.” Dan Banes asked why they have to do to get a drain in there. Chairman Schmierer stated that the landowners have to petition it. Board Member Ferguson said that has been a problem for a long time. He said about three or four years ago Leon Fizel was in about it. Attorney Loy said, “It would take a petition of some kind for the construction of a drain. You need to look into an engineering plan and so forth.”


Mr. (Earl) Hornback said, “It is a natural drain, it has always been there. When they built that it is a natural drain, it has always been there. When they built that housing addition on Meadow Lane they raised it above the flow line of the natural drain but of course backing water up and spreading out. My horses used to water out of that years ago. But it’s kind of filling up. It’s not a ditch anymore; it’s kind of a swale. There’s nothing much we can do I don’t think unless we get all those people down through there to agree to put a tile up through there to my property line and pick up that. It’s running down their street.” Surveyor Sterrett said it looks like it comes off of the hill there and the railroad and gets to the street and runs down the gutter of the street. Board Member Ferguson said it cuts out and goes down Washington Street to that ditch then.


Dan Banes asked, “Who do we see?” Board Member Heimlich said it would have to be the landowners that petition. He said I don’t know if you are talking about having the landowners put in a drain or having them petition for a County drain. Attorney Loy stated that whatever is done the landowners end up paying for it. Dan Banes understood that the landowners need to get a petition and get back to the Board on it. Chairman Schmierer said that is right, we can act as the agent, put the tile in and make it a County Drain but they’re going to pay all the expenses.


Mr. Beckner said he was told that Vogel was supposed to put a drain in the other side for the empty field north of the railroad tracks about ten years ago and never did. He asked if there is any way to find out. Chairman Schmierer said he had no idea; it did not come before the Drainage Board. Board Member Heimlich said that the minutes are in the Surveyor’s Office but he seriously doubted if the Drainage Board would direct an railroad tracks that has filled in where most of this water used to run. Chairman Schmierer said that is the railroad’s ditch and there is nothing we can do to help you. Mr. Hornback said it looks like the best thing to do is to get a petition and get all the landowners down Meadow Lane to agree to run a tile up through there with catch basins. He said it’s a natural drain; you’re never going to stop that water.


Surveyor Sterrett requested a variance on behalf of Alice Hare. Mrs. Hare’s house is at 5020 N 800 E and she plans to construct a storm shelter on the back side of the exiting structure. The existing structure is within the County’s right-of-way of the Carter-Hines Drain. Surveyor Sterrett had a drawing and pictures for the Board to review. Chairman Schmierer stated the house was built before we had variances. Surveyor Sterrett said he measured only twenty feet between the house and the ditch. Mike Kitchell, contractor, stated that he measured it thirty feet, he was including eight feet of bank down to the water.


Attorney Loy stated he would prepare the variance with the stipulations if these improvements are ever torn down or replaced the owner must come back with the new plans, or if they were ever in the way of drain maintenance being performed they would have to be the responsibility of the owner to remove them. He said we can give permission for the new addition. Mr. Kitchell stated they would be about 13 feet from the top of the bank. Discussion followed.


Board Member Ferguson made a motion to grant Alice Hare a variance down to twenty-two feet for the existing house and to fourteen feet for the tornado shelter on the Carter-Hines Drain to build a tornado shelter onto the back of her house. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


Board Member Ferguson made a motion to approve the minutes of the April 1, 2002 meeting. Board Member Heimlich seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


Chairman Schmierer stated that next of the agenda was a proposal from Wayne Hunt that every farmer should cut their own trees or pay for cutting them. The board did not discuss the proposal.


Engineer Frauhiger submitted a letter from Gutwein Morning Song south of Reynolds asking permission to relocate the Hendress Tile Drain on their property. The letter requests the existing drain be abandoned, a new route be established and the drain be relocated. Also submitted is a route survey from a registered surveyor showing where the new tile is going to go. Engineer Frauhiger said they have met all requirements and we can now give them approval to go ahead and start the relocation.

Attorney Loy stated, “You don’t need a hearing on this if the relocation is entirely on one landowner’s property. It will be paid for entirely at his cost.” Engineer Frauhiger stated that the Surveyor has reviewed it and there will be no adverse impact to any of the other property owners.


Board Member Ferguson made a motion approving Gutwein Morning Song’s rerouting of the Hendress Tile Lateral in Honey Creek Township, White County, Indiana south of Reynolds, on their property according to the plan presented, pursuant to I C 36-9-27-52-5. Board member Heimlich seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


Surveyor Sterrett stated the John Humphreys is having septic problems and it flaming it on the fiber optics company that went through. He claims he has had a problem since they went through with their project, thinking that they cut his tile. Surveyor Sterrett stated that he cannot see how that can be. Charlie Mellon said does his septic go into a field tile? He can’t do that. Charlie worked as an inspector with the fiber optic company and he stated that tile was fixed through there. Surveyor Sterrett stated that the cable is three quarter of a mile from Mr. Humphrey’s house. He said water is standing on Mr. Humphrey’s side of the road, but not on the other side and that’s the tile he is complaining about being plugged up. It looks like it is working on the east side. Surveyor Sterrett said it looks like it is Mr. Humphrey’s tile that is not working. Charlie Mellon said he is sure that line went through there on the east side and that’s the tile he is complaining about being plugged up. It looks like it is working on the east side. Surveyor Sterrett said that Mr. Humphreys thinks since the fiber optic went through there his tile is not working. Chairman Schmierer will call the fiber optic company about that problem and another problem Charlie Mellon is concerned about by the gas company south of Brookston.


Surveyor Sterrett reported that Rita Hughes called in that she has a private crossing on the Errol Westfall ditch that has collapsed. Chairman Schmierer stated that is her responsibility. Attorney Loy asked the Board to sign a third copy of Consent to Encroach for the Farmers Elevator in Wolcott.


Chairman Schmierer adjourned the meeting.