Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Health Board Makes Sewer Board Appointment

The Health Board met 1/28/04 and appointed Rodney Dennerline as Chairman. Mike Hankins is Vice Chairman. They also appointed Rodney Dennerline to the County Sewer Board. His term expires 12/31/2006. That leaves two appointments to go. Commissioners meet 9:30 AM Feb 2 and will probably complete the appointments then.

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

County Council makes Sewer Board Appointments

At the January 27th Dearborn County Council meeting, the council exercised their option to appoint a designee instead of a council member to the Sewer Board. Mike Hankins from Logan Township, who also sits on the County Health Board, was their designee and his term expires 12/31/2006. Their District 1 appointment was Greg Vollmer from Miller Township. His term expires 12/31/2005. Current appointments stand at two living in district 3 and two in district 1.

Three more appointments are left. Health Board gets one (in addition to the one that they asked Council to do with Mike Hankins) and Commissioners get two more. Health Board decides 1/28/04 at their meeting and the commissioners decide at their Mon. 9:30 AM meeting on February 2.

Christine Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting - January 26

At the January 26 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting they elected new officers for 2004. Chairman is Mark Mitter, Vice Chairman is Rick Pope, Secretary is Patrick De Maynadier. Attorney is Arnie McGill. There were six members present on the nine member Board. Absent were Rick Pope, Commissioner Karen Shell, and Tarry Feiss.

John Maxwell and Randy Lyness were granted a variance for a single lot in Harley Springs to access an arterial (North Dearborn). Nina Meyer's request to have a flag lot access to SR1 was tabled until the February meeting. Administrative requests included updates on the master plan with 70 in attendance at the EC Open House and 50 at LHS last week. SD Open House is this Saturday from 12-2. There will be some slight changes in the master plan advisory group timeline, though the current meeting dates will remain essentially the same.

Travis Miller, Planning Director will be the Planning Commission's rep for the OKI Meetings. Travis also discussed his past involvement with the Dearborn County Economic Development Initiative with the Plan Commission. Conclusion was to limit his involvement to being an information source (as for any citizen request), but not a proponent, because of potential conflict of interest with land use decisions.

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Sewer Board Needs Expert Members if they are to make sound decisions.

I have been following the formation of the Sewer Board. I offer a couple comments in regard to the appointment of the Board members. I feel, as do many others, that the Board should be made up of a cross-section of people with the experience and expertise to formulate a comprehensive plan that will serve the County for years to come. Sewage treatment, location of treatment plant, conveying sewage, types of system that are appropriate, integration of hybrid systems and the most important, the ramification of the cost of these various factors are some of the issues that will need to be decided.

People with technical, engineering expertise and/or experience would be a valuable asset to be appointed to give a basis of what are options and direction of what others have taken to facilitate a cost effective, successful system. It not a simple issue of where to put in sewers. There are comprehensive issues of compatibility, integration, regional and hybrid systems that will effect the long term cost and how to serve the greatest number of people in the county. There are many options to protecting our environment and planning for the future, not one type fits all conditions. Understanding the various ramifications is imperative.

It is obvious that you want to get the best qualified, which is what I am sure the Commissioners are trying to do. I strongly suggest people be appointed with knowledge in sewage issues from the technical aspect, who would be capable of giving advise and experience to the Board and who would be able to examine engineering studies and evaluate designs.

Pat Hanlon
Manchester Area Civic Association

Friday, January 23, 2004

Dearborn County Sewer Board - A call to action.

The new seven member Dearborn County Sewer Board is currently being set up.

I attended a county commissioner meeting Jan 22nd at 9AM where the county commissioners attempted to make their appointments. The commissioners are allowed to pick a citizen from district 2 and one from district 3. Their 3rd member can be a commissioner OR ONE OF THEIR DESIGNEES.

Because District 1 is so populated and also has the most development, there was discussion about using the commissioner spot for a citizen member in district 1. The suggestion was Greg Vollmer. Vollmer has been active in the county wherever there have been questions regarding sewage. He has no conflict of interest - it is not part of his livelihood. He became interested years ago through Community Planning Advocates in Bright, when there were issues with sewage treatment there in his community. Unfortunately things deteriorated at that point, because Commissioner Benning, who has served on the advisory board to set up the district wanted to be appointed. This would give 2 appointments from the commissioners for people who live in District 3. The mayor of the city of Aurora also has an appointment- he gave a letter to Commissioner Benning requesting Brett Fehrman of Fehrman Realty. That letter was given to the Health Board as Aurora's appointment. This would make three appointments to District 3 out of a 7 member board.

I attended the meeting along with Butch Jansen, Mark Hall, and Cliff Eibeck. Bob and Brett Fehrman were also in attendance as was Mike Manford, a citizen who had hoped to be appointed to the board from District 3. The newspaper covered the meeting as well. I spoke at the end of this discussion about the need for geographical balance as well as a diversity of backgrounds on the board. I also spoke about the concern for conflicts of interest regarding board members, particularly related to development issues. I mentioned District 1 being an area of large development and hoping they would have at least two board members.

The only appointment made from commissioners was Barry Pruss for District 3 at Commissioner Benning's suggestion. She had Mike Manford as an option and Patrick Holland (from Sparta- an area seeing sporadic unplanned development) as another option. Her reason for turning down Holland was because he worked outside the county - he's a teacher in Ripley County. I'm not aware of any reason regarding Mr. Manford, except that perhaps he was new to the board and they didn't know much about him from his faxed request. He spoke later and stated that he was a resident in the area slated for sewers and in fact wanted them for his home. The appointment from District 2 was still open, though a couple members from Manchester Civic Association were being considered. Manchester is an area seeing development coming in a piecemeal fashion, so this would be a good choice for an area needing representation.

The commissioners left it with the idea that the Health Board OR THEIR DESIGNEE was one appointment, and Council has 2- one from District 1 and one from among their council OR A DESIGNEE. They wanted to wait to see if these boards would help balance out the board. I contacted several council members via email requesting that they use one of their appointments for Greg Vollmer. Apparently Commissioner Benning did also, because she thinks that is the only way she will be able to get on that board.

Of significance after the meeting, Commissioner Benning is claiming that she is being discriminated against because she is a realtor! It was mentioned in the discussion that she was a realtor and that there already was one realtor on the board. A balanced board would imply that people with several different backgrounds should be appointed. I would wonder if two-thirds of the county could claim discrimination because they WORK OUTSIDE THE COUNTY! Perhaps there needed to be some guidelines on board member qualifications! Relying on common sense may have been foolish.

Why care?
- Well- a county-wide sewer district is a big responsibility. Sewer infrastructure will in a sense determine where development will go. A board needs to be free of conflicts of interest in order for the public to have confidence in their decisions. I am concerned because of the undercurrents behind this selection process and the distorted reasoning I have witnessed so far.

Tuesday(Jan 27 at 7:30PM) the County Council meets, Wednesday (Jan 28th) is Health Board. Both meetings are open to the public and in the county adm. building. Call 537-1040 to double check on their times or weather cancellations)

The Commissioners meet again at 9:30 AM on the first Monday in February (Feb 2) and will probably attempt to make their remaining appointments then. This Board can affect the future planning of this county- we need to see to it that the members are well-versed in the areas and issues they will have to contend with.

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Commissioner’s Meetings for 2004

January 5, 2004 ------- 9:30 am
January 20., 2004 ------- 7:30 pm (Tues)
February 2, 2004 ------- 9:30 am
February 17, 2004-------7:30 pm (Tues)
March 1, 2004 -----------9:30 am
March 15, 2004 ---------7:30 pm
April 5, 2004 ------------9:30 am
April 19, 2004 ----------7:30 pm
May 3, 2004 -------------9:30 am
May 17, 2004 -----------7:30 pm
June 7, 2004 -------------9:30 am
June 21, 2004 -----------7:30 pm
July 6, 2004 -------------9:30 am (Tues)
July 19, 2004 ------------7:30 pm
August 2, 2004 ----------9:30 am
August 16, 2004 --------7:30 pm
September 7, 2004 ------9:30 am (Tues)
September 20, 2004 ----7:30 pm
October 4, 2004---------9:30 am
October 18, 2004 -------7:30 pm
November 1, 2004 ------9:30 am
November 15, 2004 -----7:30 pm
December 6, 2004 -------9:30 am
December 20, 2004 -----7:30 pm

Regular Commissioner Meetings
1st Mon at 9:30 am
3rd Mon at 7:30 pm
When a meeting falls on a holiday, the meeting is moved to Tuesday.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

First meeting of the Manchester Area Civic Assn. for 2004

Manchester Township's civic association (MACA) will be holding its quarterly meeting this Thursday, Jan. 29, from 7pm to 8pm (or later as needed) in the basement of the Zion Lutheran church on Rt. 48. Topics will include feedback on requests for suggested projects for the Association, consideration of a possible 'Meet the candidates' night, and information provided by Dearborn County Parks relevent to activities at the Gladys Russel Wildlife Preserve and in particular regarding its water service project in that area.

At the last meeting members were asked to think about community needs and formulate ideas on projects that might be within the capabilities of the Association to accomplish. This will be an opportunity to present those ideas for action.

Do you know who is running for office in Dearborn County this year? Do you know what issues may be active that affect your life? If so, come help others learn about them. If not, find out how the Association can help you learn what you need to know to be an informed voter.

Finally, as some who live along White Plains already know, the Park Board has been trying to get water service to the visitor area of the Gladys Russell park. Come learn how this is progressing and what other activities are ongoing at the park.

See you there.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Welcome to Dearborn County's citizen driven information headquarters.

The purpose of this Web Log is to provide a conduit for information sharing amongst the citizens of Dearborn County in matters that affect us all. Guest Authors will be recruited to provide articles and updates on events in the county. Additionally, a more in depth Forum type service will be added to back up these articles with the opportunity for public discourse on the material provided. Thank you for participating in the public spirit in which this Web Log is offered.