Wednesday, November 03, 2004

1 November 2004 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

1 November 2004 Commissioner Meeting Notes

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

Register Publications reporter was not present at this meeting.

I apologize for the delay in posting these notes- I took some family time after our son’s wedding last weekend.

1. Jim West- Dearborn County Economic Development Initiative Director- came to introduce himself to the commissioners. He gave no presentation and stated he had no information to share yet.

2. Bill Ewbank- Veteran’s Officer- reported that they have enough drivers to accommodate 4 days per week now. He also announced that on November 11th at 11 AM the Aurora VFW would host the service at the Veteran’s Memorial. It would be followed by a free lunch at their meeting hall on 2nd St. in Aurora.

3. Bill Black- Emergency Management- passed out the blank release forms for any group wishing to pick up the hoses that PSEG donated. He reminded the commissioners that they need to fill out their surveys for Tri-State Emergency Management so that they can assess needs in our area.
Road closing for emergencies and weather are now being determined by the Transportation Director, Bill Black, and the Sheriff. They are standardizing the media notification for this to coordinate with tri-state.
800 radio system is proceeding with good feedback from Lawrenceburg on the possibility of bond bank funding.

4. Sandy Leptak- Health Dept. Requested the reappointment of two board members. Gerald Miller and Dr. Harban S Gill were reappointed to the board.

5. Mike Davis- Transportation Director stepped aside to allow Mark Seiler to present today. Mark read the written report. They want to get a list of roads prepared for widening and paving next year. Jeff last name ?? and Terry Crouch from THE SURVEY COMPANY, the engineering company doing the oversight for the White’s Hill Road project, presented the current status of the project along with some changes necessitated by the discovery of sewer laterals and lines in places other than described on St. Leon sewer documents. They are going to relocate part of the road to avoid the sewer line altogether near the retaining walls. This may decrease the size of the retaining wall. They plan to install a 48- inch culvert inside a mixed culvert (a structure with a mixture of pipe and a 72 “ concrete box.) They intend to fill the gaps to secure the inserted pipe. They estimate a $25-40,000 change order on this. They intend to continue to do the engineering study to remove the hump on the hill as well. The Survey Company will help Lorie Howard and Mike Davis negotiate with O’Mara to present three packages on these changes.
Commissioners voted to authorize the design changes and negotiations with O’Mara.
Piper Landing (first 350 feet only- the rest is private) and Fox Chase Subdivision roads requested to be taken in to road inventory. Taken under advisement by Commissioners.
Deer Trails Subdivision from 1996 requested that two roads of about 400 feet each be accepted. Taken under advisement by commissioners.
Old Pruss Road replacement off Grelle Road which was completed in July 2002 under Rich Shelley and the county highway department without the authorization of at least two commissioners was presented.
(Vera Benning was in charge). County minutes indicate that they accepted the first 100 ft. of road but not the rest. Several large culverts were installed and the road was graveled at a materials cost of about $30,000. Labor was provided by the Hwy. Dept. The new road has not had a name assigned to it. Right of way was never acquired, Jeff Stenger, county surveyor did not get paid, so the survey was not turned in. Claude Burke signed a paper with Rich Shelley to get the culverts done. [ NOTE: In 2002 Jay Droege, an adjoining landowner, was in dispute with the county over this road. He insisted that the road was actually built on parts of his land.]
Devin Rump also presented that he had recently purchased 38 acres from Claude Burke and stated, “Me and my wife want to build a house back there.” [NOTE: Rump’s wife is Heather Benning, Vera’s daughter] He went on to talk about his neighbor, Esther, giving them some easement to get to the land he bought. [NOTE: Esther is Esther Benning, Vera’s mother –in-law.]
Batta asked how they could transfer land without an official improved road to the property. It was determined that he had a 50 foot access through his original flag lot that he owned prior to the additional land purchase.
The commissioners were advised about the Droege claim on the ROW issue.
Mark Seiler sates that commissioners should consider: abandoning the old Pruss Road and the inaccessible 1980 bridge, get a survey to resolve the ROW issues, and name the new road to accept it.
Commissioners took this under advisement and requested a Planning Commission report also.
[NOTE: It appears that this new road was created for the benefit of Commissioner Benning’s relatives. Claude Burke no longer lives there, he has moved to the eastern side of the county.]

6. Lorie Howard- County Administratorpresented the amendment to the Health Benefit Plan which was approved for the Wellness Program.
The annual chamber of commerce contract regarding the Redevelopment Commission was tabled to determine how this was supposed to work in relation to the Economic Development Initiative.
Commissioners remembered Bill Ritzmann saying that the county didn’t have to contribute anything extra because their $25,000 was already covered in this contract with the Redevelopment Commission. (There is also a $50,000 fee from the Tourism Bureau to redevelopment and an $18,00 fee from Tourism to the Chamber.) Lisa Lehner thought that the $25,000 was for other projects that Redevelopment might have.
The employee handbook is still in need of some input and Lorie is redoing the section on the appointing authority to keep the commissioners working together. This was a direct result of an issue in the hwy dept. where the director refused an action and it still happened. They are now having both the director and a foreman have to sign before a disciplinary action occurs. They might have Lorie Howard sign off on it also after she has reviewed it. Benning said that the Board of Commissioners is doing this now. The other commissioners indicted that this was temporary, until they could get the handbook revised.
Jewell DuBonis, one of the county lobbyists, is meeting county officials and cities too at the Chamber of Commerce on Nov 4th at 1 PM to discuss new legislation regarding 5000 new slot machines in various parts of the state.
Lorie Howard will be facilitating the annual bids for sheriff and hwy depts.
She was also directed to contact Al Werner regarding his desire to retire.

7. Lisa Lehner- County Attorney- Commissioners signed off on the Hardintown Street vacations from last month.

8. Cary Pickens- Auditor – claims and minutes were signed.

9. Dan Batta- suggested a series of improvements in policy regarding agendas and meeting organization. He particularly thought there should be a deadline to be on the agenda so that materials could be in commissioners hands in enough time to review for the meeting. He also mentioned that commissioners should have details under their names- particularly if they bring anyone in requesting a decision. He cited the problem of bringing in a room full of people to lobby the board without telling the other commissioners it was coming up. Vera Benning took issue with this citing the Outer Loop (SR 101 Corridor) group that she said Batta brought in. [NOTE: That group was brought in by the original activists fighting the path of that road in the county.]

10. Vera Benning - wants information at each meeting regarding exactly how much money is available in each fund from the auditor. Cary Pickens stated that he’s not managing the hwy budget, etc. Vera stated that the commissioners are blind to knowing what they have to spend. Cited was the $25,000 approved for the Chamber for example. Vera also wants the State Board of Accounts report on how we are running our “business.”

Meeting adjourned at 11:25 AM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

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