Tuesday, December 28, 2004

27 December 2004 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

27 December 2004 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

I was not present at this meeting. The following is a condensed summary of the meeting decisions.

1. Primary approval for Jeff and Jerry Tucker for a 2-lot replat of Little Cedar Ridge, Phase 2 on 2.629 residential acres One Mile Rd. in Miller Township was APPROVED with a condition on providing a drainage easement for the adjoining LMH sewer treatment facility.

2. Primary approval for a 3-lot major division of land for Hapanowicz Estates (7 acres of Residential land on North Dearborn Road in Logan Township) for Steve and Carol Hapanowicz with Dennis Kraus presenting. This was APPROVED with the condition that the Gilley property had to have a driveway permit prior to secondary approval on the subdivision.

3. Primary approval for a 7-lot major division of 17.8 acres of Residential land on Salt Fork Rd. in Miller Township presented by Carol Morman for owners Robert and Gary Althoff was APPROVED as presented. Six lots had shared driveways and the seventh had direct access.

Working meetings for ordinance revisions were set for the 3rd Wednesday of each month. The first one is Jan 19th at 7PM in the regular meeting room at the Adm. Bldg. ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS FOR THE MASTER PLAN will be notified by mail of this schedule and encouraged to sign up and or attend meetings of particular interest or for which they have particular expertise. Other citizens or appropriate personnel will also be encouraged to give input. The first meeting will focus on sanitary sewers.

Travis Miller also presented some draft forms for utilities, schools, etc. as requested by the plan commission at their last working session. Plan Commission members have until the 19th to review them and suggest changes if needed.

Plan Commission members will be signing up for separate committees to work on ordinance changes in small groups also. Topics are: AG zone standards and Residential zone subclassifications, Cul-de-sac street requirements, Sewer treatment, Road standards, and Lot frontages and direct access requirements.

Staff is reviewing minor ordinance language changes and clarifications, as well.

Meeting adjourned by 9:45 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Submitted from information from the Planning and Zoning Office
Lawrenceburg Township

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Objection to Debt Service Tax Rate increase

The following was delivered by Karen Loveland and Marjorie Mortenson to Tom Book At South Dearborn Community School Corporation, Monday, December 20, 2004 at approximately 4:00 pm. It contained 11 signatures and addresses: Karen Loveland, Marjorie Mortenson, Sherry Tice, Mary Trog, Robin Rohe, Ricky W. Beach, Lisa M. Jarman, Susan Page, Andy Wake, C. Jay Beyer and Ruth Pfister.

In accordance with Indiana Code Section 5 (b) of Chapter Six, we the undersigned are filing an objection petition to South Dearborn Community School Corporations Request to raise the Debt Service Tax Rate From .4018 to .4669.

Tuesday December 7, 2004 South Dearborn was represented by City Securities Corporation who sold $42,390,000 in bonds. Currently over 20 Million in bids have been awarded for the Aurora Building Project. The Middle School is $356,597 over cost estimates advertised at 1028 hearing. The Middle School Conversion to an Elementary is $1,217,956 over cost estimates advertised at 1028 hearing. The High School bids currently awarded are over 8 million under cost estimates advertised at 1028 hearing.

If the bond issue fell short of construction needs, that shortfall should be made up through a reduction in capital project costs, rather than an increase in debt service tax rates.

Name Address of Real Property

1. Signature: _______________________ Printed Address: _________________________

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Date Signed:_____________________ Township: ______________________________

2. Signature: _______________________ Printed Address: _________________________

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Date Signed:_____________________ Township: ______________________________

3. Signature: _______________________ Printed Address: _________________________

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Date Signed:_____________________ Township: ______________________________

4. Signature: _______________________ Printed Address: _________________________

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Date Signed:_____________________ Township: ______________________________

5. Signature: _______________________ Printed Address: _________________________

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Date Signed:_____________________ Township: ______________________________

6. Signature: _______________________ Printed Address: _________________________

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Date Signed:_____________________ Township: ______________________________

7. Signature: _______________________ Printed Address: _________________________

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Date Signed:_____________________ Township: ______________________________

(For more background on this topic)

Open Letter rebuttal : October 29,2004 letter by Ralph Thompson, "The Suburbanization of Dearborn County"

Dearborn County Regional Sewer District
215B West High St.
Lawrenceburg, Indiana 47025
(812) 532-3223

December 20, 2004

Re: The Dearborn County Regional Sewer District (“District”)

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter addresses various statements by Mr. Ralph E. Thompson, Jr. as published in The Register on Thursday, November 11, 2004. Ralph Thompson in this article entitled “Suburbanization of the County Coming” makes several false statements regarding the District. This letter will set the record straight regarding the true events so that residents are truly and correctly informed.

1. Throughout the article, Ralph Thompson states that the District is about helping developers and real estate agents get rich at the expense of County residents. This statement is not true. As District Board Members have repeatedly indicated, the District is not about development. The District is about public health and safety. Testing has been performed in the District area by both the Health Department of Dearborn County and the District. These test results indicate that the District is a public health hazard and that hazard is not limited to High Ridge Estates. There are test results indicating raw sewage throughout the District boundaries. The area within the District needs immediate attention. Therefore, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (“IDEM”) established the District by its Order. IDEM did not create the District for development. IDEM charged the District with providing sewer service to properties in the District. Therefore, the District is obligated and required to provide sewer services to all property owners – whether they are developers or not. The Dearborn County Plan Commission gives approval for subdivision developments. The District does not. If the District is economically capable of providing service to a property owner, whether that property owner is a developer or not, then IDEM requires that the District provide service.

2. Ralph Thompson also states that the “board indicted [sic] it would stop all development . . .” This statement is not true. The Board cannot stop subdivision development. Only the Dearborn County Plan Commission has authority to limit subdivision development. The District Board has indicated, in its public meetings, that the District Board will require developers to contribute to the cost of the sewer system such that residents’ costs are decreased.

3. Ralph Thompson also wrote that the District Board was in “a rush to sign a contract to provide sewer service to developer Ralph MeierJohan, Ameritek Custom Homes, Cincinnati.” Again, this statement is not true. The Board was not in a rush to sign a contract with Ameritek. After long deliberations and negotiations with Ameritek, the Board signed a favorable contract with Ameritek. In the contract, the Board refuses to provide immediate service to Gabbard Estates until the District is prepared to take on the subdivision users. The contract requires the developer, Ameritek, to pay for a lift station and various sewer lines to service a particular area of the District. The Board believes that this contract will economically benefit all residents of the District by decreasing costs of construction of the entire sewer project. Ameritek agreed to pay for lines running from Aurora to Gabbard Estates and this will save the District significant money and it will benefit residents beyond Gabbard Estates. The District has authority to approve the design and construction of a large chunk of the sewer system under this contract and the developer pays for this, which will benefit all residents in the District. It is better for the developer to pay for the lines servicing the entire District than for the residents to pay for them.

4. Ralph Thompson, in his article, implies that real estate agent Brett Fehrman has a conflict of interest by sitting on the District Board. This is not true. The District Board has opinion letters from the Indiana Attorney General’s Office and the Dearborn County Prosecutor stating that a real estate agent dealing in the District area lacks a conflict of interest and may sit on the District Board. These opinion letters have been discussed in prior public meetings of the District Board. If Ralph Thompson had attended these public meetings, then he would be aware of these facts.

5. Ralph Thompson writes that the District will be $2 million over budget and will bill residents of the District $70 to $75 a month. This statement is misleading. The District Board has discussed at its last several meetings decreasing the cost of the project by $2 million and arriving at a monthly bill to users of approximately $60 per month. The District has repeatedly indicated its intent to bill District users approximately $60 per month and the District Board intends to limit the monthly cost to $60, plus the cost of water.

6. Ralph Thompson also writes that the “residents of the District are being forced to pay for the very development they may not want.” This statement is inaccurate. If residents of the District do not want the development of subdivisions in the District, then those residents should voice objections to the government body which approves or denies subdivision development – the Plan Commission. The District is, and remains, neutral with respect to subdivision development. However, the District must provide sewer service to each and every property owner in the District including subdivision owners as long as it is economically feasible. The District cannot legally deny sewer service because it is against development. In that event, the District would be in violation of IDEM’s Order.

7. Ralph Thompson writes “Our “real estate agent” commissioner . . . is working to help developers and real estate agents get rich at the expense of County residents.” This statement is a misrepresentation. Ralph Thompson frequently refers to Commissioner Vera Benning, who has and does work as a real estate agent. Vera does not sit on the District Board. Vera does not vote, and has not voted, on any issues before the District Board. Vera was not in a position to “help” developers. Again, the fact that a Commissioner is a real estate agent is not in and of itself a conflict of interest.

8. Ralph Thompson writes “There are four more sewer districts in planning.” This statement is untrue. The Board has not discussed any other additions to the District along Indiana 1, Indiana 350, Indiana 48, or in New Alsace.

Ralph Thompson writes in his letter that he is an engineer. As an engineer, Ralph Thompson requested in a public meeting to perform engineering work for the District’s initial planning phase. His services were not retained. One imagines whether Ralph Thompson’s negative, misleading and/or false statements are fueled by this rejection.

The District Board agrees on one point with Ralph Thompson, however. The District encourages public involvement and public attendance at meetings of the District Board. These meetings are open to the public as required by law and generally are scheduled two times a month – the first Tuesday evening and the third Tuesday evening of each month at 7:30 p.m. As the Board recalls, Ralph Thompson has attended only one meeting. If he had attended more of these public meetings, he might have been better informed of the true facts and events involving the District.

Very truly yours,

Dearborn County Regional Sewer District Board of Directors

(Provided by Michael Hankins)

Monday, December 20, 2004

20 December 2004 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

20 December 2004 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

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

This was the final meeting of the year.

1. Lifetime Resources- Ellen Davis- gave an update on owner occupied rehab grants for ages 55 and up, disabled, making less than $36,000 for a single homeowner. They also have enough money for 43 home loans assistance for first time homeowners. 10 people have completed their course and 5 are closing on homes by the end of 2004.

2. Lorie Howard presented the following items:
SIRPC item on release of liens was tabled till 2005 when a representative can come to explain the issues.
Commissioners approved the 2004-2005 encumbrance list.
Knueven Food Service was approved for the vending machines.

3. Mike Davis- Transportation- reported on hwy progress on White’s Hill- where they are having some problems getting a legible design to O’Mara for part of the work, causing delay in the project.
Staff is preparing a 2005 plan for the new board of commissioners.
All bids for asphalt, culverts, etc were approved except for a fuel bid that was far higher than the rest.
Commissioners voted to approve the berming project with O’Mara with Lisa Lehner to see final contract and not to exceed $75,000. 147 account is to be tapped for this project. They will be berming primary roads only.

4. Lisa Lehner- Attorney went over the Local Aid agreement with Bill Black (Emergency Management) He will be checking on liability issues compensation and death benefits clause, and FEMA section on reimbursed expenses. They will review his findings before finalizing the interlocal agreement with Ohio and KY.
The Fair Housing agreement was revised per instructions from last meeting and approved by commissioners tonight.
Commissioners deferred the legislative services agreement with Lewis and Kappes until 2005. This is the LOBBYIST AGREEMENT. [Note: there has been no public reporting of these services in the past year- it would seem that the county is paying for something, but no one seems to be able to verify that they are doing anything for us really.]
There are several lawsuits pending in the county- some are just class action suits, others are suits where the county is named as a matter of course. Lisa Lehner did mention that local attorneys- Ewbank and Kramer- have two suits pending against the county.

5. Auditor: Minutes were approved for both November meetings, even though Karen Shell was absent for one. Commissioners did it because, there was no other was to close out the year; the new commissioners couldn’t vote on a meeting they weren’t part of.
Claims approved.

6.Public Comment: Ralph Thompson presented commissioners with information on perpetual pavement design.
He thanked them both for their services and wished them good lick for next year.
Lastly he presented research on the minutes and background regarding Old Pruss Road and the issues on the proposed Rump Road off Grelle road. [Note: See meetings previous where the Rumps and Burkes are requesting this entire gravel road to be accepted for county maintenance, rather than just the 100 feet that the county took in 2002. Heather Benning Rump is Vera Benning’s daughter.]

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Thursday, December 09, 2004

8 December 2004 Plan Commission Working Session Sets 2005 Initiatives

8 December 2004 Plan Commission Working Session Sets 2005 Initiatives

Members present: Mark Mitter, Chairman, Rick Pope, Nick Held, Mike Hall, Jane Ohlmansiek, Tarry Feiss, Dan Batta. Absent: Roger Woodfill and Patrick de Maynadier. (Dennis Kraus, Jr. who will replace Roger Woodfill in January was also present, as was Jeff Hughes who will be D-1 Commissioner) [NOTE: Jeff Hughes indicated that he was interested in being the commissioner rep to the plan commission.]
Arnie McGill, Att’y, Mark McCormack, Enforcement Officer, and Travis Miller, Planning Director, were also present.
Citizens present: Tom Kent and Chris Mueller

The session took a little over three hours to discuss various issues over the past year including:

1. Forms for utilities, EMS, fire protection, and school districts to fill out regarding new development applications that will produce REAL information that the plan commission and developers can depend upon as accurate. Plan Commission will meet with these groups first to determine their needs and input. (Previously the commission is getting form letters which don’t state the impact on the school building projects or classroom size nor do they state when the sewage lines will actually exist to service certain developments.)
2. Zoning districts which need to be clarified and further divided into the subcategories indicated by the master plan committee.
3. Research cul de sac lengths and numbers of houses on them.
4. Clearly defined policies on septic, sewers, and whether or not the county will entertain possible experimental sewer plants or systems.
5. Road deficiency data which need to be updated and policies on development relating to this.
6. Driveway spacing and lot frontage requirements.
7. Developing a thoroughfare plan.
8. Working with the current land use map which was devised for the master plan and setting overlays of sewers, roadways, topography, soil types, etc. to guide future planning. (Board members had issues with drawing lines on maps that actually rezoned properties without the owner’s approvals- as a property rights issue) [NOTE: The current land use map is different from the current ZONING maps. Some properties are Zoned R and are functioning as Ag, for example. A current land use map tells the plan commission what is really happening in an area as opposed to what the old whole county rezone from early 1980 predicted.]

The plan commission added an extra working session each month for the 1st quarter and quarterly extra meetings thereafter to work on accomplishing these goals. They want to get factual data for the basis of their policies. Committees will be set up for each issue and consist of NO MORE THAN FOUR PC members, to avoid having a quorum at unpublicized committee meetings. The advisory board members for the master plan will be kept updated on the progress of these meetings and some members may be solicited to work on some of these committees. Consultants will be sought on a small scale to gather some of the data needed for some of this background, particularly with respect to roads (design and LOS, etc.), infrastructure, economic and tax bases models, cultural and environmental resource inventories, etc. Staff will obtain some of the data accessible within the county system.

Other items of information passed out at this meeting:
1. The master plan- hot off the presses.
2. St. Leon and West Harrison status with respect to ordinance assistance and permitting issues.
3. US 50 Corridor Planning status.
4. A change in the application deadlines for public hearings that will add about 2 weeks to the application procedure. The surveyors (Hall and Kraus) and Tom Kent were asked about this as well and seemed to think it would give them a better chance at approval. It allows for the tech review to occur BEFORE they submit an application for a hearing and thus gives the applicant time to address the tech review comments before applying.
A detailed memo was also passed out.

Meeting adjourned at 10:15 PM
Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Monday, December 06, 2004

6 December 2004 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

6 December 2004 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

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

1. Bill Ewbank-Veterans Service – reported briefly that the hospital has agreed to schedule veteran’s tests at times more appropriate to the hours they can be driven to their appointments.

2. Bill Black- Emergency Management - reported that he is working on a draft copy of the tri-sate agreement and that OKI was getting survey results to them soon. They received a $34,483 Homeland security Grant for the Sheriff’s dept. on fingerprinting equipment. He also presented a $8184 HAZMAT contract.

3. Mary Burris –CASA – Received approval on the CASA proposed grant distributions.

4. Mike Davis – Transportation – Gave the road slip lists to the commissioners- same as what he gave Council. Commissioners approved $76,960 and a potential $11,970 for guardrail out of the 147 account.
White’s Hill – road bed is cut in, slipping bank is shored up. They are putting gravel in and hope that they’ll get 2 days of no-rain to pave. In spring they will finish the culvert at the top f the hill. Sewer lines are protested.
Phase 2 paving is proceeding. Rohe Paving has had some slow down due to rainy weather. Still need to do North Hogan from SR48 to Hogan Hill, Shangri La sub’n, Probst Road outside Wilmington and the street by Hogan Fire Dept.
Line striping is waiting on weather also.
Three sets of subdivision roads were accepted by commissioners into the county maintenance lists: 350 ft of Piper’s Landing, 694 feet on two road in Deer Trails off Priest Rd. (Reids Lane and Curtis Court), and 1720.18 ft. of Fox Chase Sub’n.
Documentation and plats etc. will be completed and recorded per Mark Seiler.
Highway maintenance is proceeding in all districts with ditching to keep water off roads this winter. Bridge crew is trying to get the West Laughery Bridge in. Bills are being paid out for the year, and they are working on next year’s road plan with the new commissioners and Vera Benning. There will probably be more maintenance than paving next year.

5. Travis Miller- Planning and ZoningHousing Assessment Study was presented by Scott Burgins. (100 pages with a 9-page summary). He recommends starting a Housing Council to keep the plan alive and updated. Info of interest:
1990-2000 there was 19 % growth in Dearborn County- twice the state average and 12th fastest growing county in the state. Surveyed houses for sale in Dearborn County: $184,000 was the average price. 30% of homes are under $150,000. 5% are under $100,000. Average rent in the county was $508/month.
Realtors and developers reported that lots used to go for $15-20,000 and now are priced in the $40-60,000 range.
Travis Miller (Planning director) and Ellen Davis (Lifetime Resources) were a big help on the study.
Suggestions included starting a splash project to keep interest high- such as THE YEAR OF THE HOUSE. Also suggested a Housing University to bring community services together rather than duplicating them. Example: Combining the Home Ownership Classes by the Extension Office and Lifetime Resources.
A Landlord Expo- to improve the conditions of rental housing.
The Fair Housing Ordinance was approved as required by the IFA. Enforcement will occur via the Ind. Civil Rights Commission, as referred by the CEO of the Commissioners (who may delegate Lorie Howard as the contact locally)
Travis Miller also presented the Comprehensive Plan copy to the commissioners
- hot off the presses.
Vera Benning was concerned about checking out the criteria of the proposed board appointments before appointing anyone to the Plan Commission. No more than 3 members can be of any one party. [Note: Currently of 5 slots there are 2 Republicans (Feiss and de Maynadier), 1 Democrat (Hall), and one Independent (Rick Pope), with one seat open.]
Commissioners reappointed Rick Pope to the Plan Commission for 4 years. Benning noted that Pope had served well in the past and Shell concurred.
Karen Shell motioned and Vera Benning would not 2nd Jane Ohlmansiek as the replacement for Dave Schmidtgoesling’s seat on the Plan commission. Batta 2nded it and Ohlmansiek was approved with Vera Benning voting Nay.
They will have to find a citizen to fill and empty citizen spot on the BZA. Ohlmansiek is slated to be on BOTH boards.

6. Lorie Howard- County Administrator
Mike Kraemer of Pinnacle presented the renewal proposals for employee health plans. United of Omaha was approved to help with keeping outlining claims in line.
Brett Dodd of RQAW gave a presentation of the jail and courthouse space needs. See the notes under the previous Council meeting in November- it was the same presentation. They have done some further work on the juvenile center’s needs also with Judge Humphrey and Lorie Patton and Steve Bradley.
Contracts (3 year) for fire and EMS with the city of Harrison were approved unanimously. It was noted by Lorie Howard that the per diem costs would be more expensive in the long run as they do 4-500 runs a year for the county. Benning stated that she’d checked with Council and was in agreement with this.
Bids were opened for annual services and the appointed and elected officials of the dept’s were approved to award the contracts as they see fit.
Bidders were: Ritzner (sp?) Oil Co, Newpoint Stone, Rohe Paving, Laughery Valley Fuel, O’ Mara Paving, St. Regis Culverts, Troy Gas, Midwest gravel, CSC (Corp. services Co), CPI Pipe, Beyers Pharmacy, GFS Food Service, Ellenbee Leggett, Knueven Food Service, and Diamond Prescriptions.
The lobbyist contract will be reviewed for next meeting.
Dearborn County Hospital Board invited all the commissioners (present and new) to their Jan 26th dinner meeting in the Ohio Room.
OKI was approved to do the air quality performance study for $5500 of which 20% is the county match for $1100. It was noted that Greendale and Lawrenceburg are expected to contribute part of the $1100.
MPO Boundaries were approved to include all of Dearborn County. They commissioners approved sending a draft letter to INDOT noting this boundary inclusion. Lisa Lehner noted that at the meeting where this was decided the following were present: Tom Steidel ( L-bg City Manager), Jim West ( Econ. Dev. Director), Scott Fortner (Dillsboro Manager), and Doug Hedrick (Greendale Mayor). Neither Aurora nor St. Leon sent a representative.

Lorie Howard found spaces for the new surveyor and his deputy in back of the hwy. Dept. The GIS tech will go to Kin’s desk in hwy and Kin will move one desk up closer to Denise’s desk.
Lorie Howard was approved to start advertising again for the county engineer. She is to use her judgment on advertising costs.

7. Lisa Lehner- Att’y - was covered under various departments

8. Cary Pickens – Auditor- presented claims and minutes.

9. Public Comment- Sheriff Lusby reported the overcrowding at the jail- see Council notes in November for more on this. He also received approval to manage his own employee’s vacation and sick time.

Lusby thanked the outgoing commissioners for their services and said it had been a pleasure working with them.
Cliff Eibeck- citizen- also thanked the outgoing commissioners- Karen Shell and Dan Batta.

Meeting adjourned at 12:10 PM