Tuesday, November 16, 2004

15 November 2004 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

15 November 2004 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

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

1. Dan Batta announced that the commissioners had a special meeting prior to this one in which they supported Lawrenceburg trustee Tony Gilb’s actions regarding a decision on Poor Relief. No other details were given.

2. Lorie Howard- County Administrator, presented several items below and all were approved:
Employee Handbook and Personnel Policy approved for January 1 effective date.
Annual Chamber Contract for $25,000 to be used for research for EDI or for Redevelopment Commission itself. [NOTE: Does this mean the EDI contribution from the county comes from somewhere else in the budget?]
HRA- Health Reimbursement Arrangement between med Ben and the County was signed.
Commissioners decided to send separate written comments on the SR48-SR1 Connector to SIECO/Strand because Benning did not want to send a board statement.
Lorie will review the contract for repairs in the courthouse dome and Eric Hartman is approved to sign it after her review. Two quotes were from McCool for $5896 and Flannery for $4775.
The 2005 Bids will be open from now to November 29th. Stephanie Disbro contacted all the people to let them know to submit annual bids for commissary, vending, prescriptions for jail, gasoline, fuel, culvert pipes, and asphalt, etc.
The 2005 Holiday schedule was approved so that the judges could set their court calendars.

3. Transportation Department- Mike Davis presented several roads fro review to be included in the county maintenance lists.
Because of the controversy on this issue, detailed comments are below:
Heather Benning Rump and residents of Pruss Road and surrounding properties were present under two items listed as approval to abandon Pruss Road and Approval to Accept Rump Road. During the discussion, no one knew how this item got listed on the agenda and Heather Benning Rump stated that she had put it on the agenda. Neighbors in the audience had copies of a June 2004 letter from Mark Seiler, which stated in part that there was to be some consideration of abandoning Old Pruss Road and removing it from the maintenance lists. Mike Davis presented that he didn’t want to ABANDON it- just remove it from the maintenance list. He said that because of the condition of Old Pruss the county had put in a new access road and accepted the first 100 ft. of that road. (Mark Seiler is on his honeymoon per Davis said Mark is the expert on this) The survey and ROW acquisition is not completed on this new road yet. Per Vera Benning - there is a RUMP LANE in Dillsboro with a brown sign- so it is a private lane. (Therefore they could name the county road Rump Road and not be in conflict)
Vera Benning clearly stated that at this meeting she wanted to make it perfectly clear that her brother in law Dean Benning and daughter Heather Rump and son-in-law Devin Rump were involved and that she herself won’t realize any personal benefit from this, and that the people of the county elected her to make decisions like this.
She acknowledged all her neighbors there- Gray, Pruss, Burke etc. She stated that Old Pruss Road didn’t even have a nameplate on it and hadn’t been maintained for the past 20 years. [NOTE: Vera Benning has been commissioner for the past 6 years of that 20-year span]
People noted that you can’t vacate the old Pruss road or people would be landlocked. Lisa Lehner clarified that Davis only wanted to take in the first 100 ft. of the new road for the county as ROW. Vera Benning wanted them to transfer the maintenance from the Old Pruss Road to this new road.
Claude Burke
- Taking the first 100 ft in to the county has no relevance for us- the fire dept. still can’t get back there.
Dan Batta- we have 100 roads like this in the county. We have to do what is fair and equitable for the county. It is not fiscally sound to arbitrarily take in the maintenance of new roads.
Claude Burke- we are not worried about other roads. I have spent $8,000 of my own money trying to maintain this road.
Terry Pruss- presented the June 2004 letter from Mark Seiler. Pruss owns property on both sides of Pruss Road. States that now it’s a playground for beer, shooting, 4 wheelers. He offered to gate it off.
Bob Gray- Doesn’t want Old Pruss abandoned but he uses the new road to access his property.
Dan Batta- suggested that the county look at it comprehensively through planning and zoning.
Another neighbor who doesn’t live there- just owns land- asked why abandon a road that’s been there all along.
Greg Davies- gave a comprehensive overview of the road issues from 1982 on. He owns the farm north of Burkes. Told of the new bridge going in around 1982 and that his father and Mr. Burke did a lot of calling over the years to get gravel etc on that road. They walked the road with Hon, the county eng, and the adm. at the time and took 3-4 years to get an answer- but still nothing was done.
From 1995-2002 they kept going to different engineers and we sat down with the engineer in 2002 [NOTE: Rich Shelley was Hwy Director- not an engineer] They put together a price of $60-80,000 to put Old Pruss Road together again. They decided it would be easier to do a new road than Old Pruss.
Dan Batta stated that this was good and all news to the board.
Vera Benning indicated that this was not news to her and that she was at this meeting and decision.
Greg Davies
stated that he has no preference to which road is chosen to maintain.
Vera Benning asked Dean Benning if he had anything to say. He stated that it was better to use the new road rather than Pruss Road because of the curve and the hill.
Heather Benning Rump stated to questions regarding how this item ended up on the agenda without all the paperwork, that she had put it there. [Note: Normally commissioners are in charge of their agenda]
Vera Benning also asked Jay Droege to come up and say something. He stated that he was there to see if the survey had been completed. He also stated that he didn’t know how you could take one road away unless you replaced it with another.
Vera Benning said that Jeff Stenger was there doing the survey because he was stung by a bee and had to get first aid at her house. She seemed sure that the survey was for the whole road and not the first 100 feet only. [NOTE: The county apparently hadn’t paid Stenger and so the survey had not been turned in. Stenger was not county surveyor at this time- so his work should have been contractual.]
Vera Benning
stated that 100 feet gets Benhams covered but the people in the back get nothing.
Bob Gray stated that he had 120 acres in the back and he (and the three owners) would like to be able to do something with it.
Terry Pruss likes the new road better because it eliminates the hill.
Vera Benning motioned to table this until January. This motion failed for lack of a 2nd.
Chris Mueller
- suggested that they consider applying to Planning and Zoning in the meantime so that the road could be legally accepted.
Vera Benning stated that she couldn’t remember my name but that she remembered reading somewhere that I’d been researching and attending meetings for about 9 years. She thanked me for instructing Dan Batta and stated further that they had legal Council.
Chris Mueller
- stated that it was a suggestion only and that they should check with Lisa Lehner but that it seemed to be a shame to make the people wait till January before anything is pursued.
The neighbors on Pruss Road were worried about notification of meetings, and some stated that it would be cheaper to fix Old Pruss Road. Planning and Zoning notifies adjoining landowners and also posts signs.
In framing the results, Lorie Howard stated that some people want the old road, some want the new road, and some aren’t sure. She thought that defining the alternatives and what their lengths and costs would be would be the best approach.
Commissioners made NO DECISION about how to continue at this point.
Fox Chase, Deer Run, and Piper Landing were all tabled. Vera Benning wants to see what Planning and Zoning has on them first.
Mike Davis asked to go to Council to request money to fix some more road slips in house. Cary Pickens strongly stated that the well is dry- there is no money- the county is using it to make up the shortfall from taxes. He went on to say there would only be 4 Council meetings next year because there are no extras. [NOTE: If there is no money for basic repairs, how can the county council be considering a jail expansion?]
Vera Benning
would not approve going to council. Dan Batta stated they would discuss it further at their Thursday Adm. Focus meeting.
Lorie Howard was approved to sign off on contract changes on Whites Hill after review. They hope to finish up by thanksgiving.
Phase 2 paving is proceeding toward completion.

4. Lisa Lehner -County Attorney- nothing new

5. Cary Pickens -Auditor presented claims and minutes

6. Vera Benning- conferred with Lisa to see if she could present the fact that she had spent county dollars and had two employees spend county time (Lorie Howard and Mike Davis) going out to each of Vera’s daughter’s and son’s driveways to prove that the county had not paved them. Benning said she did this because of a rumor that was circulating. Davis and Howard reported that the county had paved none of Vera's family's driveways.
[NOTE: County activists heard this rumor and checked it out 2 weeks ago FOR FREE. It was clear to us that the rumor, as is often the case, got distorted in the telling. Apparently, the issue that was originally reported to commissioners was not about paving, but that an actual gravel “driveway” of about a half mile was created to access 38 acres of land that Devin and Heather Benning Rump had (have) purchased from Mr. Burke. This new roadway which neighbors in the area reportedly refer to as “Vera’s Road” has a proposed name on county paperwork of Burke-Benning Road, but on the agenda tonight showed up as Rump Road. On old maps of the county as far back as 1870 Pruss Road shows up as a connector road and looks like it is one of the main roads in that area. It runs along Droege Creek. The county needs to look at Pruss Road from both a cost and functional viewpoint for the landowners and anyone else who uses it. Perhaps the new road should join Pruss at a more functional point and basically be a re-routing of the lower end of that road.]

Meeting adjourned at 9:20 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

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