Wednesday, September 29, 2004

28 September 2004 County Council Meeting Notes

28 September 2004 County Council Meeting Notes

All members present: Charlie Fehrman, President, Mark Mitter, Aaron Negangard, Bill Ullrich, Bo Lansing (welcomed back after a serious health problem), Tom Cheek, and Dennis Kraus.
Cary Pickens, Auditor, also present. Lorie Howard, County Administrator, was absent.

There was no agenda for this meeting.

An independent attorney, Doug Wilson, reviewed the interlocal loan agreement between Council and the Sewer District because Lisa Lehner, the county attorney is also the sewer board attorney. The agreement is for $357,000 to be loaned from riverboat revenue savings and will be paid back through grants and operational fees after the sewer district is up and running. Doug Baer and Rodney Dennerline presented for the sewer board and board member Pat Holland was present also. Ullrich motioned and Cheek 2nd. Motion passed. Agreement signed.

$20,000 was approved from county general (actually riverboat revenue that has been moved to county general) to cover increased veterans death costs. Negangard motioned and Mitter 2nd. Passed.

There was discussion that SBOA wanted Riverboat Revenue to land in County General first before it gets spent. Also mentioned by Cary Pickens was that there was more than $700,000 in the old contingency fund and that these dollars could not be moved from Riverboat Revenue to County General or vice versa. [Note: Perhaps it is the way things get worded, but it seems like funds are moving frequently at council meetings.]

Inmate medical expenses at the jail required another $80,000 from Riverboat Revenue. Cheek motioned and Negangard 2nd. Passed. All inmate insurance billing goes to county general so it is hard to determine how much this is really costing the county. Cary Pickens doesn’t want to create a bunch of accounts under county general to track these reimbursements. [Note: It would seem to be a good idea to place reimbursements back to the accounts that paid for them- one wonders why government “rules” don’t allow for this]

Lorie Patton from Juvenile Detention came personally to request $5,000 in overtime and $12,000 for part time youth attendants. Ullrich motioned and Kraus 2nd. Passed.
Lorie Patton
also expressed her disappointment with the budget passed for her department. She stated that she felt like they were the “red-headed stepchild” of the courthouse. She stated that less than $15,000 was requested to retain the good employees she has trained and didn’t want to lose. She commented on the 4 new jail employees and the 4 new police employees for the road. She was clearly unhappy with the outcome and felt the need to say her piece. Fehrman responded that there were no crosshairs on her dept. that he wanted her to look at the big picture and noted that the Building Department got cuts also of $4,000 similarly.

Charlie Fehrman also brought up oversights in the budget that he needed to correct before getting it certified.
Reimbursed money amounting to $18,000 in victim advocate and adult advocate services were corrected. Ullrich motioned and Cheek 2nd. Negangard abstained because it involved the prosecutor’s office. Passed.
Maintenance Budget for Eric Hartman left out $500 car repair and $990 equipment repair. Cheek motioned and Lansing 2nd. Passed.

Charlie Fehrman met with Phil Weaver, Gayle Pennington (future treasurer) Joan Seitz, Cary Pickens, Lorie Howard, and Frank Cummings (accountant) on the issues with tax revenues discussed at the last commissioners meeting and also in the newspaper. Hiring temps was discussed, the training period would slow the regulars down, so they decided to hire a temp stenographer for Carolyn in the auditor’s office and move her to help with the tax duties until February. The target times for taxes now are to have taxes that would have been collected in May and Nov of 2004 will be billed in February 2005 as one lump sum to be due on a target date of February 19. The May 2005 taxes will be collected in August 2005 and the November 2005 collection will be on time.
Frank Cummings looked for several things that would slow it down and Cary Pickens had already done them. Cummings said that was “really good.” Charlie Fehrman commented that was good to hear about a so-called “incompetent auditor.” (in reference to comments made at the commissioners meeting)
Pickens wants to close his office at lunch so they can keep working and not have to stop tax work to cross-cover employee lunch breaks. They will get commissioners blessing on this. Pickens also said he certified AV (assessed value) at 90% to get the job done ahead.
He said that there was a small error where Joan Seitz ran short $108,000 on reassessment that wasn’t encumbered… Apparently this was fixed.

Indiana had another state screw-up per Pickens where they are billing us $3271.70 for environmental taxes on our fuel pumps plus interest that wasn’t paid from 1991-1996. Because it is over 5 years old, the records were destroyed. The state hasn’t shown proof that we owe it, but they are holding homeland security and grants, if we don’t pay it!!! He asked for money to be approved now, in case we have to pay it. [Note: Discussion here included some political comments from Aaron Negangard which I am leaving out in the interest of preserving harmony between government offices.]
Mitter motioned and Cheek 2nd to approve an amount not to exceed $3300 if the state can prove the taxes are owed. Passed with Kraus and Negangard voting nay.

Minutes from the budget hearings were corrected. Bo abstains from voting, because he was absent due to illness. Cheek motioned and Kraus 2nd. Approved.
Next Council meeting will be in November to wrap up the year.
October is cancelled.

Meeting adjourned 8:30 PM.

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

27 September 2004 Plan Commission Meeting Notes

27 September 2004 Plan Commission Meeting

Present: Mark Mitter, Chairman, Mike Hall, Nick Held, Roger Woodfill, Rick Pope, Tarry Feiss, Dan Batta, and Patrick de Maynadier (arrived at 7:15 PM).
Absent: Dave Schmidtgoesling- who resigned effective September 21 for family obligations.
Also present: Arnie McGill, attorney, Travis Miller and Mark McCormack.

Three sets of meeting minutes and the Master Plan Public Hearing were approved.

Nearly three hours were devoted to hearing testimony on one subdivision request. Golf View Acres by Rollander Enterprises on Soaphill Road, 29.142 acres in Manchester Township was proposed as a 24-lot subdivision using a cluster system on about 10 acres of 4 mound systems for the homes, most of which were on less than one acre lots. The land is a mixture of Ag and Residential zoning. This property has been considered several times by the plan commission and turned down each time.
Mike Hall was surveyor for the project and stepped down from the board for the hearing.
New ideas were in this proposal in order to qualify for another hearing.
Jeff Stratman was representing Doug Anderson on Rollander.
The project plans included:
3 acres for a drip system or 4 sites for mounds with an additional 4 sites for backup mounds should those fail. All of this was to be set on lot 14- 10 acres on the back of the acreage which slopes on three sides to other properties and creeks.
There are no plans for Aurora to extend their sewer system to this area. The county Sewer Board is unable to take this on in the near future per Doug Baer, Health Dept.
LMS water states there is adequate water for the homes and that there is a current 4” line supply. The option to put 6” main down Soaphill Rd exists within ROW or else they will be using dry hydrants for water for fire protection with cisterns adequate to produce 1250 gal/minute pressure and being refilled with 2” lines continuously.
Soaphill Road would be widened to 20 ft by the developer from the subdivision entrance to 148.
Doug Baer added that the cluster systems have been in use in Northern IN for many years, especially in the lake regions. He added that the drip system requires 30” of topsoil and this land has only about 20” and then clay, which is why he felt the mound system would be better.
The state health dept. letter states that the county can be more restrictive than the state.
State regulates this and it is complaint based on inspections. Baer went on to say that the county has no ordinances authorizing health dept. inspections; they are waiting for the state to update theirs before we do ours.
If the subdivision formed a utility company, then IDEM would do inspections and have jurisdiction.
Road issues and setbacks were discussed. There was some discussion where Stratman felt the developer shouldn’t have to do some of it- but that they would comply to get approval. [NOTE: He wasn’t wholeheartedly wanting to perform all the requirements.]

Citizens speaking included:
Greg Edwards, who made several points concerning the sewage site, particularly the wetness making it a site difficult to mow and maintain. He wanted to know who would be cleaning filters, and he also felt that the 10 acres would be overrun with kids on quads using the mounds for trails. When Mitter asked him if he trusted the state, Edwards answered, “No!”
Chris Becklehymer gave testimony regarding the other end of Soaphill that is used as a shortcut and it’s variable widths, curves, and hills. She elaborated on fire dept regulations for pressure and cited the Elk Run Fire across the street. She mentioned EMS and Fire services were not 24/7- they are volunteer with Aurora as back up. She talked about Goose Run as another shortcut and it’s poor condition. She discussed the RURAL character there and stated this was different. She talked about being down hill from the sewage and that they would be on the receiving end of that system if it failed.
Greg Edwards further elaborated on the road, parking issues with tourneys at Elk Run across the street, and the 45-degree angle of the Soaphill-SR148 intersection. Several accidents were cited. He noted 10-15 slips on Goose Run, which will be worse with water runoff from 24 homes above it. This is surrounded by Ag- and unfortunately is zoned R. Not in character to do it this dense- even though it is perhaps “allowed” in the book if R.
Lots 13-16 are zoned Ag- but 2 of them are less than 5 acres, so not Ag use.
Joan Fehling reiterated Greg Edwards and Chris Becklehymer’s comments with respect to lot sizes, fire protection, and sewage issues.
Board discussion centered on roads and whose responsibility it was to maintain them and upgrade them, the intersections on both ends of Soaphill, sewage concerns, management by the homeowners association and no bond amounts etc. were a major concern, the cumulative effects of starting development out there on the road issues, 2 Ag lots, fire protection, the cohesive nature of neighborhoods in good development patterns, how the homeowners could shut off a neighbor if they weren’t complying or paying into the fund to keep septic safe, the desire for a utility to run sewage, not a homeowner’s association, cisterns not being the best way to start fire protection, the fact that even the neighbors there today were split off from someone’s farm years ago, pacing and placing development appropriately with respect to infrastructure, and not doing just the minimum requirements for each district.
Three sets of motions were made:
1. Batta motioned and Woodfill 2nd to deny based on sections 2576 particularly citing responsible development with regard to sewage, Section 2400 the intent of transportation management and promoting effective modes of transportation, and Article 3 Table 3.1 referring to Soaphill Road being a substandard collector.
4 to deny and 2 not deny. Chair voted against the motion. Fails.

2. Pope motioned and Held 2nd to approve if they widened Soaphill to 20’ to 148, added a 6” water line down Soaphill, and produced a workable plan to adequately fund and maintain and repair the sewage system. 4 Nay, 2 Ayes. Fails.

3. deMaynadier motioned to deny and cite the codes without specifics on how to accommodate them and Batta 2nd. Codes cited were the same as in the first motion, 2576,2400, and Table 3.1 4 Ayes, 2 Nays and the chair voted Aye to DENY. Motion passed to DENY.
Stratman requested a specific finding of fact and Travis Miller agreed to have it to him by Wed at the end of the day

Applicants tabled two other requests.

Leslie Geisen addressed the board in detail regarding a violation issue that has escalated to a nuisance on Brightleaf Drive. Board plans to have the enforcement officer enlist Health Dept. and Sheriff’s Dept. to aid in settling this. There is no ordinance to require mowing and vegetation clean up. The offender is Ollie Willoughby. It was also suggested that she seek a lawyer to sue for nuisance, since it is costing her money to clean up the spillover and damages to her yard, her enjoyment of her yard, and property values.

Board approved Travis using $9,000 for OKI GIS work and to replenish the $51,000 for the grant match with money from master plan, IF he emails Charlie Fehrman and gets Council’s blessing before entering into any of these contracts. There was concern that Travis would be personally liable according to new ordinance that Council set this year regarding contracts that were made without their specific appropriation of money. Batta motioned and de Maynadier 2nd to use $9,000 and check with Fehrman. Motion passed.

Sept 29th SDG will present the Housing Assessment Study at the Dearborn Adult Center.

2005 meeting dates passed out for approval next month.

Hamilton County Regional Planning Educational Series – can attend if they would like to.

Dave Schmidtgoesling’s resignation (family obligations) letter presented.

Meeting adjourned 11:15 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

20 September 2004 earborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

20 September 2004 Commissioner Meeting

Present: Dan Batta, Acting Chairman, and Vera Benning. Absent: Karen Shell (Grandson gravely ill at Children’s Hospital) and Cary Pickens, Auditor. Also present: Lorie Howard, County Administrator, Lisa Lehner, Attorney, and Brenda Hensley, acting minute taker for auditor.
Register Publications covered this meeting- watch the newspaper for further coverage of issues from this meeting.

1. Travis Miller- Planning Director- presented the zone change request from Ag to R that received a favorable recommendation from the Plan Commission for Steve and Carol Hapanowicz on North Dearborn Road. The property is next to a residential subdivision, Harley Springs. No public objections. Vera Benning motioned and Batta 2nd to approve including the 5 considerations that must be adhered to according to state law (read by the county attorney) before granting a zone change.
The second item on vacating streets for Dearborn Gravel was not ready to be heard at this time.

2. Lawrenceburg Schools and Greendale City officials presented their request (and frustrations) regarding tax disbursements.
Dan Kuebler- supt. L-bg Schools- spoke of their issues with a major funding battle over the last year. So far in borrowing money, even at low interest rates, they have incurred $136,500 interest fees in ’03 and to date in ’04 incurred $138,997 +. This is just to keep the doors open. He has conversed with Cary Pickens and feels the fault lies in perhaps several places. What can be done- SOON?
Doug Hedrick- Mayor of Greendale’s comments included the fact that G-dale as had to essentially shut down all capital improvements except for the sewer lines and that they did not come to point fingers, but a lot of towns besides G-dale are in trouble due to this. He presented IC to the board and stated that the tax dollars are to be distributed in 51 days once they are collected. Also requested that they hire more people to work longer to get this done!
Phil Weaver, County Treasurer, stated that he’d finished posting records this week- it took time because of all the overpayments, so as records were being posted disbursements had to be reviewed. This posting should be certified to the auditor this week and then auditor sends it to the state for approval. He hopes to have things in place by the end of October.
Joey Lynch, Clerk Treasurer of G-dale- spoke of the intricacies of having to report a negative balance to the state with outstanding loans and its effect on tax rates in the future. She stated that 6 months ago they got these same answers and she feels this is really no answer.
Hedrick noted that the towns have to pay interest on all these loans.
Greg McAdams- L-bg School Board- wanted to know if the auditor and treasurer have used all their available overtime resources.
Al Abdon- G-dale Council- wanted to know if the county could offer additional assistance to Phil Weaver for the next step for ’03-’04 taxes to speed it up.
Tim Denning- President L-bg School Board- wanted to know why all the affected offices in the county were not here tonight. They knew we were coming- we could have covered this better. Lawrenceburg can’t hire the 9 new teachers they need. Referring to the county officials- “We have 2 elected officials who are basically incompetent in their jobs.”
Pat Holland- citizen and Ag teacher in Ripley County- remarked that the state set these rules and THEY should pay the interest on the loans!
Al Abdon remarked that it wasn’t the state’s fault at this point- 82 out of the 92 counties in Indiana have complied already.
The commissioners took their comments under advisement.
[Note: Hopefully, the county understands the seriousness of the impacts of our slow reassessment. Relying on the Riverboat Revenue has lessened the impact to some extent, but not without serious implications on future tax consequences and impacts to the educational process in the city schools and to town tax rates.]

3. Citizen request to go to council for summer art program- no one showed up to speak to this request.

4. MASTER PLAN PUBLIC HEARING- Travis Miller Planning Director. Meeting was advertised. Lisa Lehner gave an overview of the legal process- that the commissioners adopt the plan by resolution and not by ordinance. They do it by majority vote. (It takes two to accept, deny, or amend) She stated that the plan needed certain elements to be covered in it and she believes it covers those elements. She states that additional things can be covered in the plan if the county so desires.
If the plan is rejected or amended it returns to the Plan Commission for consideration.
Travis Miller presented an overview of the plan with slides. He went over the plan, the process, goals, strategies, and guidelines. Land Use performance criteria included the following 5 principles for consideration: slopes, roadways, sanitary sewer, flood plains, and average parcel size. (See the county web site of local libraries for a full copy of the master plan)
Public comment:
[Note: 23 citizens were in attendance- most were from the advisory board itself. None of the developers usually present were in attendance]
Mike Rozow- representing DCEDI (Economic Development Initiative) as a board member- stated that Jim West was unable to attend but sent a written statement that Rozow read into the record. [Note: Commissioners have a copy of this letter] Basically the letter stated that he wanted to be sure that commercial and industrial uses were considered. He was concerned about topographical issues in our county because slopes reduce the available land for these uses. He specifically hoped that the county considered areas for future industrial and commercial use and went on to say that he wanted an overlay map for outlining in black and white where future commercial/industrial uses can occur. [Note: Has anyone considered that drawing lines on maps could infringe on property rights of the owners of those properties? What about market driven requests?]
Chris Mueller- advisory member
- spoke with respect to the flexibility of this plan to allow for creative solutions to some of these uses. Using the guidelines in this plan- and the knowledge from years of Plan commission meeting attendance, there were many more areas potentially available to develop than an overlay map might cite. It would be presumptuous to think we know every type of business that might propose to come here. If you use the five principles- you have a strong argument to get your rezone for commercial if you can accommodate all five principles.
Patrick de Maynadier- Plan Commission member- elaborated further and stated that using the verbal guidelines you can essentially create a map of sites.
Tom Osterman- property owner, but non-resident- questioned how we could increase new development and lower taxes and preserve the rural character. He attended a meeting years ago in Yorkville concerning lots of 20-acre minimums etc. and was concerned about the tax consequences now that we are on a market value tax system. It was explained to him that this plan was different from the one discussed in Yorkville- that was the last failed attempt at a master plan.
Vera Benning- County Commissioner- stated that she had several questions. She started with wanting to know if there was a plan for the densely populated areas like Bright and HVL. It was stated that there was none. She wanted to know if there were plans to extend the roads and sewers out into the other parts of the county so development could occur there. She wanted to know how economic development was covered. Travis Miller answered that it was covered in the collective theme- along with the other uses. Benning’s next question was that considering the current demographics, where does the plan have strategies to fix these problems?
Mark Mitter- Plan Commission Chairman- tried to answer the question. Vera Benning stated that she was confused. Mitter stated that he could tell she was confused. He said he was confused by her question. (Discussion at this point seemed to stop, as Benning couldn’t make a clear statement of her issue.)
Dan Batta showed Vera Benning that on page 136 there were references to guidelines to alleviate the problems of some of our demographics.
Nicole Daily- Advisory board member- noted that the plan was a collaboration for all the problems of the county, not just geared to some specific detailed ones.
Bill Ullrich- Council member and Advisory Board member – said he was involved with the plan from the outset, that it was community driven, not driven by an outside consultant, and that it was not going to solve all the problems in the county. He saw it as a tool to address future quality of life issues that come with managing growth. Every situation should stand on its own merit. The plan should provide the least impact to the individual’s property rights and still benefit the community. He thought that adopting the plan along with the DCEDI would be a great way to work hand in hand. He stated also that even though “it’s a plan for the unincorporated areas of the county, those areas are often accessed through the incorporated areas.”
Benning stated- “So if I don’t vote for it- watch out going out the door!”
Tom Osterman- property owner- stated that DCEDI has a remarkable opportunity here- with an interested community of people who worked on this plan. He noted that we would have to take some risks too.
Dan Batta- Commissioner and Plan Commission member- “We have the best case here- we have a development pressure. That means people want to move here.”
Tarry Feiss- Plan Commission member- this plan is a framework- it won’t answer all the problems, but it is flexible and creative. It can last a long time because of its flexibility.
Vera Benning- I’m going to make a motion – I must reject this plan in its current form.
Dan Batta- stated that he could not second that motion- so it failed
It was decided that the October 4th morning meeting of the commissioners would reconsider the plan when Karen Shell could be present.
Mark Mitter –Plan Commission Chairman
- stated that so many people had worked so long and hard on this plan- that it wasn’t a perfect document, but it was flexible and fair. He stated that the plan was done so that parcel sizes were irrelevant and that they’d used guidelines of planning practices instead. He went on to state that with all this work and the money invested by the county in Housing and Transportation studies for the plan, he felt that we were at a point where we have great potential. Then he asked Vera Benning,You were a part of this process, right?”
Vera Benning asked him why he was addressing her. She stated she didn’t come here for a confrontation.
Mitter stated that he wanted to know the reasons for her desire to reject the plan.
Benning consulted with Lisa Lehner at this point.
She finally asked Mitter if she should send the written questions to him. Batta suggested they go to Travis Miller.
Laverne Kolb stated that the plan was a living document and that it would be reviewed every 5 years or more often if needed.
Vera Benning stated that she didn’t know the legal ramifications of accepting the plan now. What if there was a time delay before it could be changed or complete new plan could be done again… How can you change it?
Chris Mueller- advisory board member- asked if there were criteria for commissioners to consider when adopting a resolution to accept a master plan similar to what is required for a zone change.
Lisa Lehner replied there really was no other criteria. They could reject it if they didn’t like the direction it was giving, even if it satisfied all the elements required of a master plan.

5. County Administrator Lorie Howard waived her report.

6. County Att’y – Lisa Lehner- gave a report on the status of the CMHC issues and paperwork was signed to proceed with that building.

7. Minutes and claims signed.

Meeting adjourned at 10:10 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Monday, September 20, 2004

Open Letter to the Sewer Board

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Sewer Board

I would like to take this time to present to you an idea, That I feel will help, not only you the members of the board, but also the residents of the county. What I propose, since forming the new sewer districts is not about new development, that an Impact Fee be place upon all new development wanting to hook into the new sewer system. By charging this fee to new development it will not only pay off the loans faster, but also would reduce the sewer rates that are being proposed to the residents.

What I propose is that a $5000 fee be paid pre unit being built. That’s $5000 for each home, apartment, condo and trailer being added to the sewer system. This fee does not include connection charges, upgrades, or plant expansions. Developers would be responsible for these charges separately.

The construction of just 100 new homes or units would generate the sum of $500,000 - 300 homes or units $1,500,000 - 500 homes or units $2,500,000, 1000 homes or units $5,000,000. If 80% of this is put toward paying off loans and 20% is put toward rate reductions and maintenance. This would get residential cost down to $20 to $25 a month, instead of $63 a month.

I believe that instead of paying 40 years on a loan it could be paid off in 10 to 12 years. Which everyone would benefit. The Developers won’t be out any money, because they will just add it to the selling cost of their homes or units, the residents in turn benefit with cheaper rates.

Once the loans are paid then 50% of the money would go for rate reductions and 50% would go to plant expansion and upkeep and wages.


Wednesday, September 08, 2004

7 September 2004 Dearborn County Commissioner’s Meeting Notes

7 September 2004 Commissioner’s Meeting

Present: Karen Shell, President, and Vera Benning. Absent: Dan Batta and Lorie Howard County Administrator.
Also present: Cary Pickens, Auditor, and Lisa Lehner, Attorney.

1. Bill Black- Emergency Management – gave an update on siren exchange (sale) with Lawrenceburg and also the 800 radio system meeting with Commissioners and Council to be scheduled this month.

2. Eric Hartman- got approval to plaster and paint the rotunda with the quotes he obtained.

3. Bill Ewbank -Veteran’s Officer- announced that September 23 the Disabled Veterans Van from Indy would be in town from 10-6 at the Memorial to the Common Man in Lawrenceburg. He also informed commissioners that RSVP was doing a complete mapping of the bricks and donors for him so that when families call, he can tell them where to locate their particular person.

4. Cheryl Lohmiller- Animal Control- needs another cell phone for additional helper. Also reported that currently they house 53 dogs and 48 cats with 6 euthanized. They are looking into getting a security camera and tapes to secure the site at night. Cost is under $200.

5. Ellen Davis- Lifetime Resources- will apply for the 18 person owner qualified grants in the spring.

6. Mike Davis- Highway Dept.- upon Karen Shell’s request provided commissioners with a written report. Work on West Laughery slips nearly complete and crew went to Legion Road where a major problem had to be fixed.
Survey work is beginning on White’s Hill. Davis is going to Soil and Water to be sure they do their permitted work correctly.
Phase 1 paving almost completed. Phase 2 is “in Lisa’s and Lorie’s hands.” He found they had a $62,000 savings doing work in house on 17 miles of roadwork.
There was a $7,000 shortfall on Ennis Road work due to inaccurate estimate of road length in specs. Karen Shell recommended that Davis find money elsewhere to transfer when he makes request to Council- NOT to ask for additional.
No decision today- but there was a big discussion on the 147 account balances etc.
Davis needs to get current amounts and encumbrances.
George Street Bridge project in Aurora- Governor Kiernan’s wife is coming to town with the check Sept. 10. Davis and a commissioner are expected to speak. Vera Benning suggested Dan Batta be their speaker because of all his work on US 50. [NOTE: Not sure what US50 and the bridge path have in common.]
Ebert and Milligan are probable contractors for the Guilford Bridge on Main Street off SR1. Lisa is to review the contract.
Mike is attending a meeting at Purdue on Sept 22 to learn how to tap into money to fix road slips.
Line striping bids were opened and taken under advisement:
Atlantic Construction- $186,770.60
NES Traffic Safety- $70,971.84
[Note: This is a huge difference in price- were the specs clear?]

Phase 2 paving bids were redone and opened:
Rohe: $739,498.35
O’Mara: $753,548.19
Taken under advisement.

7. Lisa Lehner- Attorney- revised agreement with IFA on CMHC housing project that exists on county owned land. She is working on the wording on the covenants and wants the county held harmless should CMHC not properly adhere to the IFA covenants. Taken under advisement.
Plan Commission ordinances already approved were signed.
Lisa advised commissioners of two favorable zone requests and also favorable recommendation on the Master Plan that were to be advertised and held for public hearing next meeting – Sept 20. Travis Miller will give a 45-minute presentation also on the Master plan for the hearing.

8. Cary Pickens- Auditor- submitted claims and payroll for approval. Approximately 10 sets of minutes were to be approved. Most were, leaving a few that Dan Batta had to be present to approve.

9. Vera Benning announced the death of a daughter (Ryan) of a former highway employee, Terry Livingston in a car wreck on the KY Bridge this weekend.

10. Public Comment: Mark Richardson and Keith Mosier of Rohe - wanted to review the bids that were opened today. Lisa Lehner said they couldn’t until they were approved- then they were open to the public. Keith Mosier insisted that once opened at a public meeting, they were open to the public to view. He was denied access to them.

Meeting adjourned at 10:40 AM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Friday, September 03, 2004

US 50 Collaborative Gets Mixed Messages in Update from INDOT Officials

On Sept 2nd INDOT representatives were at a meeting of the collaborative on the US 50 Corridor.
Steve Smith (INDOT) gave an update on the progress (or LACK of progress) on the study.
Joe Hall and Jim Ude of the INDOT district office in Seymour were also present.
Apparently, SIECO/Strand came in with an estimate over $300,000 for a corridor study, when only $250,000 was granted. SIECO/Strand is now going over the scope of work to see what they can eliminate to get down to $250,000. [Note: One might wonder why INDOT is not doing this and rebidding the project. It looks like SIECO is telling INDOT what the project will be rather than INDOT being in charge.]
Governor Kiernan announced the $250,000 for the US 50 study in March 2004. When SIECO/Strand was selected, contract negotiations began and we were told it takes the attorney general’s office 8-12 months to review the contracts. [NOTE: One could wonder how these BIDS go out- don’t they have standard government contracts?] The head of INDOT (Bryan Nichol), by the way, has a law degree.
Notice to proceed with the STUDY won’t occur till Spring 2005.
They have saved time on the environmental assessments by eliminating some of the local input.
A CAC (Community Advisory Committee) of local representatives will be used for feedback and advice. Apparently, this is after they decide what SIECO/Strand wants to study. They will have public information meetings and a project website.
It takes 18 months to do a study. The study won’t be finished until late 2006. The actual work will take another 6-10 years. [Note: Was it our imaginations, or did the widening of US 50 for riverboat traffic proceed far faster than that?]
There were several things they don’t think they can do in the study - no microsimulation, no intersection study for 275, no Tanner’s Creek Bridge, etc. [Note: Just what is costing $250,000?]
When asked if they could combine the connector study dollars with this to achieve the needed scope, we were told that it was IMPOSSIBLE, because the money is from different accounts. [Note: It is interesting that our tax dollars get all these rules applied to them when we are trying to get them back to be used in our own community!]
Aurora Mayor Don Hastings delineated the impact that the choke points on US 50 had on Aurora residents and businesses. It’s killing their economic development.
Scott Foreman, Dillsboro concurred.
Tom Steidel, City Manager of Lawrenceburg talked at length about the Tanner’s Creek Bridge issues and needing a second entryway into the community to be considered in the event that bridge gives out or is blocked by some disaster, thus cutting off access to the hospital area, etc.
Joe Hall of INDOT gave some ideas for short-term improvements and stated that he fought and has the scars to prove it to keep the short-term solutions in the proposal. [Note: Why would he have to fight for something that common sense indicates is necessary?]
Commissioner Dan Batta questioned if INDOT considered the bridge critical. He said he couldn’t tell from INDOT’s response, if they understood what Lawrenceburg, Aurora, and Greendale were concerned about.
Tom Steidel indicated that Lawrenceburg could become involved in short-term solutions and right of way improvements, because they own the right of way.
Steve Smith stated that the answers you get depend on the questions you ask. He said also that if we have consensus on a solution then maybe they could use a different approach and go straight to engineering and an environmental study.
Lawrenceburg Mayor Bill Cunningham discussed some bridge options at Center Street and maybe on Industrial Drive. He thought that Lawrenceburg would be building their own bridge because they have the money and the county doesn’t. [Note: The county is in charge of all bridges in the county and municipalities unless they are federally funded]
When asked if they would consider the locals in their scope of services, Steve Smith said yes. But that would be after SIECO/Strand is finished with them and INDOT has reviewed them. [Note: So what’s the point?]

[Note: In the end it seems that INDOT improvements will take too long to be effective. Input from the locals is negligible and essentially token.
Sadly, the synergy that could be achieved by a new county master plan, the start-up of the DCEDI (economic development initiative), and a collaborative group of governmental officials from the cities, towns, and county will be thwarted by the bureaucratic maze and inertia of INDOT funding mechanisms.
It would seem that we would have to solve our own problems and look for funding sources to accommodate them.]