Tuesday, January 25, 2005

25 January 2005 County Council Meeting Notes

25 January 2005 County Council Meeting Notes

This meeting was preceded by a 7 PM executive session regarding legalities of terminations and related issues that ran till 8:05 PM. No decision was announced after the executive session.

Present: Charlie Fehrman, Chairman, Mark Mitter, Aaron Negangard, Bill Ullrich, Dennis Kraus, and Tom Cheek. Absent: Bo Lansing.
Also present: Cary Pickens, Auditor, Brian Messmore, County Administrator, Bob Ewbank, County Attorney, and Jeff Hughes, County Commissioner.
Register Publications covered this meeting also.

Charlie Fehrman asked for a moment of silence was observed for Tom Cochran, who was critically injured in an accident on SR 48 early this morning.

Election of Officers: Negangard motioned and Mitter 2nd for Charlie Fehrman for Chairman. Passed.
Mitter motioned and Cheek 2nd for Bill Ullrich for Vice Chairman. Passed.

Appointments were made returning everyone back to their same boards:
Ralph Schaffer- Alcoholic Beverages Board
Ron Selmeyer- SEIRP
Ruth Ann Walker- Lawrenceburg Library
Nancy Turner- Aurora Library
Dennis Kraus- Advisory Board
Bo Lansing- Solid Waste
Mark Mitter- Plan Commission
Jake Hoog – BZA
Bill Ullrich- Emergency Management and ???
Aaron Negangard – Juvenile Detention
Bonnie Haas, Ruth Smith, and Ruth Wright- Div. of Family and Children
Travis Miller – DC EDI

Ruth Ann Batta requested $1000 from Youth Benevolent Fund for a county summer art program operating out of Sunman Dearborn Intermediate School as a match for a grant from Columbus Arts Council for a total of $4000 to run the program. Dearborn Community Foundation will probably be granting another $1000 toward the 50% match. Program has been in effect for 20 years. Ullrich, Mitter, and Cheek motioned for $1000 for the Summer Art Program. All Ayes. Passed.

Charlie Fehrman proclaimed a thank you for Al Werner (retiring) for his many years of service to the county. Council members donated personal money to purchase a plaque for Werner, who was unable to be present.

Cary Pickens requested $6000 to outsource excise tax billing so that he could free up someone in his office to work on property taxes. Tax bills are about two weeks behind. Mitter motioned and Ullrich 2nd to pay this out of the contingency fund in the Auditor’s Budget. 4 Ayes. Cheek and Negangard voted Nay. Passed.

Travis Miller, Planning Director, gave an update on GIS services and Margaret Mintsner (sp?), GIS tech, presented a brief demonstration of the current GIS capabilities. Miller stated that this data would be helpful to Pickens excise tax tracking to get the correct funds to each township by having accurate parcel and address data. Cary Pickens stated that he wasn’t a fan of GIS in the past, but after seeing this and how Dusty Rhoades sets it up in Hamilton County, he’s become a convert.

Pickens advised Charlie Fehrman and Council that they should hold decisions on the cum jail fund until budget time to see how the taxes shake out.

Charlie Fehrman brought up the possibility of helping the schools with their interest payments on money borrowed from tax collection problems. Schools have over $200,000 in interest each. Cheek and Negangard came down hard against this, as they see the school spending a lot of money on other projects, so they aren’t really hurting. Pickens stated that it wasn’t the county’s responsibility and that SBOA would come down on them for it. No school loans was decided by “consensus.”

Aaron Negangard said we need money to solve the US 50 problem and our new D-9 rep is on the Federal Transportation Committee. He wants a FEDERAL lobbyist now- in addition to the 2 state lobbyists. Federal lobbyist would be with Barnes and Thornburgh (sp?) for $3500 per MONTH - $42,000/year. He wants commissioners to approve this contract. Council had 3 yes, a hard no, and some probablies. Bryan Messmore will take that info to the commissioners.

Charlie Fehrman and Mayor Bill Cunningham had a meeting with the state legislators earlier this month. The upshot is that they are not going to touch the county’s portion of the gambling revenue.

Charlie Fehrman requested $650 to attend a Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce sponsored Transportation Committee meeting in Washington DC in early February. Negangard suggested he take a commissioner and Bryan Messmore also. They will have to use Commissioner travel fund for their expenses though. Negangard motioned and Kraus 2nd to grant $650 out of Auditor’s Contingency Fund for a one day trip to Wash. DC for this meeting. All ayes except Charlie. Passed.
[NOTE: Travis Miller would be the most knowledgeable county person on the status of US 50 initiatives and processes. He might be a good addition to this trip, if the money is available. In the least, he could brief the attendees before they go.]

Tom Cheek updated Council on Extension Offices leases with Aurora and Ewbank will review them. He also told Council that Aurora was hoping county would do George St bridge repairs in conjunction with the bike trail addition.

Meeting adjourned at 9:15 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Two Favorables and One Denial- 24 January 2005 Plan Commission Meeting Notes

24 January 2005 Plan Commission Meeting Notes

Present: Mark Mitter, Chairman, Rick Pope, Vice Chairman, Jeff Hughes (new commissioner rep), Patrick de Maynadier, Nick Held, Tarry Feiss, Jane Ohlmansiek (appointed in 2004 to replace Dave Schmidtgoesling who retired), Dennis Kraus, Jr. (new surveyor rep), and Mike Hall. Arnie McGill, Att’y also present, as was Travis Miller, Planning Director and Sec’y to the Plan Commission, and Mark McCormack, Enforcement Officer.

Election of Officers kept the same three in place (Mitter, Pope and Travis Miller) and also reappointed Arnie McGill as att’y.
Rick Pope was reappointed by the PC to the BZA as the citizen rep from the Plan Commission.

NOTE: At 10:30 the last three items on the agenda were rescheduled to a second meeting on January 31st. This meeting lasted 4.75 hours.

1. County Gets Road Extension Paid For and Constructed by Maxwell Development.

7:10 PM Chappelow Ridge Subdivision: Zone change from A to R for single family development on 182 acres between Barber Road and Chappelow Ridge in Logan Township. Owner is Louis Kremer with Maxwell Development as applicant.
Randy and John Maxwell
presented the development plans. They are note rezoning the section in the flood plain. The two cul-de-sac streets in this development got the required variance due to the roadway design including extra places for turnarounds and also several loops and breaks in the longest stretches. This plan proposes to be a medium density subdivision of .68 units per acre. St. Leon sewer is proposed to be connected at the site. No homes will be built on the steep slopes. Detention ponds etc. will be constructed to minimize runoff issues. John Maxwell stated that 3 borings were done on the worst section of the proposed roadway to see if it was feasible. They would do further expensive and extensive borings if the plan is approved. This plan for them REQUIRES the extension of Chapelow Ridge. 12% slope is the max allowed for a local street. Parts of this road are on a 20% slope. They plan to run the roadway along the hill and include extensive excavation to achieve the proper safe alignment.
Helen Kremer and Dan Sexton spoke in opposition regarding their rural community character, narrowness of Barber Rd, steep slopes, and the natural beauty of the area above the Whitewater River. Higher taxes and increased traffic were concerns, school crowding, and the safety of Chapelow ridge now that it will become a through street.
Patrick de Maynadier motioned for a FAVORABLE recommendation to the commissioners conditioned upon: 1. adequate sewer capacity with St. Leon, 2. a feasible roadway design, 3. a commitment to connect Chapelow Ridge to Barber Rd. prior to 2ndary plat approval, and 4. a favorable recommendation for the variance on cul-de-sac lengths based on the interior design mitigations. Rick Pope 2nd. All ayes.

2. Countryside Condos on the Fringe of Suburban Development.

8 PM Pleasant Woods Condominiums – Zone change from Ag to R on 31 acres for 103 condos on Mt. Pleasant Rd. in Logan Township across fro The Farm Golf Course. Bayer Becker was applicant with Rohe Development. Nicole Daily and Mark Rosenberger presented for Bayer Becker citing proximity to suburban development and the golf course amenity. They will facilitate the upgrade of Mt. Pleasant along the property line and include turn lanes. The interior design of the road had issues that they will address to the required turning radii etc. A walking trail is included. Development is phased.
Jennifer Graf, Tom Volpenheim (sp?), and Thom Hammond spoke in opposition. Major concerns were the roadway issues with Whites Hill that is an access route to this area. Details of the Commissioner Karen Shell concerns from 2 years ago were brought up. They are also concerned with density in a low to medium density area with some Ag uses.
Design compatibility with the density of the area was a major sticking point.
Several motions were made. Final one was: Patrick de Maynadier motioned for a FAVORABLE recommendation provided the 1. maximum density it 3.32 units per acre, 2. a 100 ft. buffer is created along Mt. Pleasant, 3. they obtain adequate sewer from St. Leon, and 4. they address all tech review comments on the roadways. Mike Hall 2nd. All ayes.

5 minute break at 9:30 PM

3. Plan Commission Denial Essentially “Corrects” Illegal Commissioner Zoning Agreement from 2003.

9:40 PM Meadow Walk Subdivision. Primary approval for a 73-lot subdivision on 62.9 acres on Whites Hill Road in Logan Township. Bayer Becker and Richard Schmidt Development presenting for owners Steven and Mary Kahles.
Nicole Daily and Mark Rosenberger presented as well as Richard and Brian Schmidt.

Proposal includes 2144.51 ft cul-de-sac serving 38 lots. There were no mitigating design elements such as loops etc. Sidewalks were eliminated, as were curb and gutter. They were willing to widen streets for walking. They felt sidewalks would lead to nowhere. [NOTE: If this is the case, then the development is isolated and perhaps out of character.]
Debbie Klump, Jennifer Graf, Karen Dubbs, Patty Simpson, Bert Smith, Dave Teuschler, Jim Price and son, Thom Hammond, and Larry Smith [NOTE: Smith is a developer who adjoins and reportedly wishes to buy this land]
all spoke in opposition to the plan. They cited drainage issues and hammered the roadway concerns heavily. The county had an original proposal to fix White’s Hill AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE that was subsequently cut back to a cheaper alternative. The road is not finished and has slippage issues that are currently being addressed.
There is an agreement signed by Richard Schmidt with the county commissioners that if White’s Hill is not completed and the development not started in two years, the zone change reverts to Ag. [NOTE: Per Arnie McGill the commissioners are not legally able to do this- only the plan commission can.]
Discussion boiled down to: Does this plan fit the subdivision control ordinance?
Patrick de Maynadier motioned to DENY the application for failure to comply with the sidewalk and cul-de-sac rules and the safety issues of White’s Hill Rd. Nick Held 2nd. All Ayes to DENY.

11:30 PM A second meeting will be held at 7 PM Jan 31st to address the tabled final three items.

Per Travis, Rick Fox asked him to give a Planning recommendation regarding the VRUC NPDES application for HVL sewer plant. Plan Commission approved Travis’s cover letter and analysis for the commissioners.
Feb 16th is the next working meeting at 7PM to discuss cul-de-sac and roadway design
issues within the ordinance.
Retracing surveys may no longer need to pay the $40 to be certified. Travis will discuss with Barb Kaffenberger in the Recorder’s Office.

Meeting adjourned at 11:45 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Frank Discussions at the First Meeting of Sewer Districts

Frank Discussions at the First Meeting of Sewer Districts
19 January 2005

Dearborn County Plan Commission Working Session on Sewers was called to improve communication with utility providers and gain a better understanding of current infrastructure capacities and limitations. The Plan Commission and staff hoped to identify methods to better coordinate planning efforts as well. Travis Miller served as Coordinator

Approximately 40 people attended- including Plan Commission members, Master Plan advisory board members, citizens, and representatives from all the public sewer treatment districts in the county. Mel Davis (Lawrenceburg), Steve Lampert (Greendale), Randy Turner (Aurora), represented SDRSD. Dillsboro, St. Leon, Moores Hill were also present. HVL was represented as a private utility. LMH was not present. Several members of the new Dearborn County Sewer Board were also present. (Mike Hankins, Brett Fehrman, Rodney Dennerline, and Greg Volmer) Doug Baer and John Grace from the Health Dept. were present.

Sammy Gutzwiller of HVL (VRUC) noted their actual sewer coverage area extended into Rock Mountain Estates on Georgetown Rd.Mel Davis reported that Lawrenceburg desires centralized sewers and have set aside dollars and impact fees for that purpose. They are looking to expand to SR148 and possibly beyond towards Manchester.

The County Sewer Board was in agreement that a regional centralized sewer was better than a hodge-podge of package plants. The County Sewer Board was concerned with what the Plan Commission would do if a package plant were proposed in an area not likely to be served by sewers. It should be noted that though Indiana law allows these package plants, they are not the preferred route and that the county master plan clearly states that development should proceed from where the EXISTING infrastructure exists and outward from that area.

Dan Batta asked who would coordinate this to make this happen.

Greg Volmer stated that he personally thought the largest provider in the county- SDRSD- should be contracted to do the management for the county sewers.

Mel Davis said SDRSD has the ability to act as bonder for these projects and has a $3300 impact fee for homeowners and a testing fee for developers.

Rodney Dennerline said that the COST of the package treatment plants versus running a line to SDRSD would strongly influence providers to regionalize rather than do the package plants.
Pumps and pressurized systems versus gravity systems were discussed and maintenance issues. Most districts currently have the homeowners owning the pumps and contract with the district to service them.

Regionalization is best- IDEM only wants to inspect so many plants, therefore it’s wise to consolidate.

At this point the discussion shifted to VRUC (HVL) and their attempts to get IDEM approval for their own sewage treatment plant. They were refused by the Bond Bank for funding. (They are not a public entity.) She stated that it required unanimous approval by L-bg, G-dale, Aurora, and Seagrams for anyone to join SDRSD. They were missing one vote. Later it was determined that they did get that final vote but backed down for other “reasons.”

It seemed clear in this discussion that the factors holding up HVL acceptance into SDRSD are psychological rather than political.

SDRSD needs about $2.5 million for an entity to buy in and recoup their initial investments minus depreciation costs. This number is FAR cheaper than building and maintaining another treatment plant. The environmental concerns from the continued and sporadic dumping of effluent by HVL into our waterways would seem to demonstrate the urgency to settle this matter. (Pictures of this have circulated in several offices in the county.) Lastly, it would seem that HVL (on a larger scale) is very similar to the issues surrounding High Ridge Estates. Both are in the county. The County Sewer Board needs to consider paying to join SDRSD and drawing another part of their district around HVL. The bond bank would loan to the county- as the bank is getting more funds this year and the county IS a public entity. The County does the right thing, because their area is expanding to accurately serve the most developed portion of their jurisdiction. HVL wins because they are now served in a more cost effective manner in the long run.

The question is WHO will help lead the effort?

The commissioners need to send their letter regarding VRUC showing this as a solution. The Sewer Board needs to contact IDEM and state that they are willing to take over. And both commissioners and sewer board members need to approach the Bond Bank for funding.

As several stated at this meeting at the end, the environmental concerns are paramount. They also were strongly in favor of the master plan statements regarding development from infrastructure outward. They felt they could accommodate the county development- both residential and commercial/industrial in a cost effective manner as we follow the principles of pacing and placing development with infrastructure in mind.

All seemed willing to meet again, which was a welcome sign. In light of the master plan discussions, this meeting showed that the first step toward county –wide collaboration of utility providers is possible. It also showed that what the advisory board wanted was also what the utility providers seem to want – cooperation and regionalization of utilities.

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

State School Facility Guidelines and One School's Lack of Compliance

South Dearborn School Community School Corporation’s Building Project

Problems with compliance to
Indiana State Board of Education
School Facility Guidelines
Adopted January 10, 2002)

1. Section 2. General Principles

(6) equal opportunity for all public school children;

South Dearborn’s project violates this principal because all South Dearborn public elementary school children will not have “equal opportunity.” Aurora Elementary will serve 650+ students, while the other three corporation elementary schools serve around 300 students.

2. Section 2. General Principles

(b) Local boards of education should study the issue of school size in relationship to educational opportunity and operational cost per pupil.

This did not happen. The research shows schools of 300-400 serve children best. This research was ignored. There are also no administrative cost savings with this project. The school will have two principals. The only real cost per pupil savings South Dearborn may experience will be in custodial, maintenance services, and utilities.

Additionally, research regarding appropriate grade configurations for middle level students was ignored.

3. Section 3. Guidelines for Feasibility and Impact Study

(1) demographics;

The current elementary school is Center Township, the most populous township in the district. The new elementary will be in Hogan township, one of the smallest township. Center Township is among the poorest in the county. Many residents lack automobiles. Moving the school further complicates transportation issues. SD does not provide two way kindergarten transportation. Currently, at least one guardian picks their child up from school in a taxi-cab.

In 2003-2004, the free lunch rate was 28 percent. Low income students are at the most risk in a large school.

4. Section 3. Guidelines for Feasibility and Impact Study

(3) projected student and community growth;

This projection was derived from live births at Dearborn County Hospital. This is a community of the Cincinnati Metropolitan Area, therefore many children are born out of the county. They projected a decrease in enrollment. Enrollment has increased in each of the past two years.

Since the administration and board approved this project, a sewer district has been formed in the attendance area and development is expected. Additionally, primary approval was given for a 200 unit subdivision within the attendance area.

Five percent elementary population growth will put the project beyond capacity.

5. Section 3. Guidelines for Feasibility and Impact Study

(5) projected construction cost and, if applicable a comparison of the cost of new construction with the cost of remodeling or renovating a school listed on the national register or state register or determined by DHPA eligible for either register;

The main objective of this project seems to be bringing Aurora children PK-3 and grades 4-6 into the same building. Currently students grades 4-6 share the middle school with the rest of the corporations 7th and 8th grade students.

The administration presented three options to a citizen committee-

First-a major addition and remodel of Aurora Elementary. The plan included tearing the gymnasium down and building a new section of the building that included a cafeteria and gymnasium. It also included tearing down housing surrounding the school building. The school would have remained a PK-3 building.

Second-building a new PK-6 building on the current secondary campus and moving grade nine to the middle school.

Third-building a new 7-8 Junior High and converting current SDMS to Aurora Elementary School.

The third option was chosen.

The administration failed to explore the option of moving all corporation sixth grade students to SDMS and building a second elementary school for Aurora’s Children grades PK-5.

Minor renovations at AES would be necessary-paint and carpet. The roof also needs to be replaced.

Using figures supplied by the architect, I have determined this option can save South Dearborn up to 4 Million dollars in construction costs.

6. Section 3. Guidelines for Feasibility and Impact Study

(6) current and future education program accreditation requirements.

The building will not provide adequate space for 5 extended day kindergarten classes. There are currently 2 kindergarten classrooms planned.

7. Section 4. Guidelines for Conventional School Facilities.

(b) New facilities should be designed in a manner that reduces air and noise pollution to minimum levels.

Dearborn County does not meet clean air standards. The current traffic patterns associated with the SD Secondary Campus create long lines of traffic. It can take 20 minutes to travel the 2+miles from SDMS to US 50. Standing traffic creates more pollution. Additionally, the new location of AES is further from some students. It increases dependence on bus service and vehicular travel. It will be impossible for any student to walk to AES. Currently, there are over 100 homes within walking distance of Aurora Elementary School.

8. Section 4. Guidelines for Conventional School Facilities.

(q) Vehicular patterns should be given careful consideration in the architectural planning of ingress and egress of student facilities.

New vehicular patterns are confusing and will be dangerous on foggy mornings.

State Road 350 is not a safe location for another school.

On Friday, November 19,2004, around 3:00 pm a seven car pile up occurred involving several students. I saw the aftermath of the accident. There were still seven cars on the road. It is possible more were involved.

Once South Dearborn moves Aurora Elementary to the secondary campus, 400 more individuals will occupy this campus. State Road 350 currently does not handle school traffic well. Is there any wisdom in adding more traffic to this mess?

Please note: this accident did not make the local newspaper. It occurred before bids were awarded and bonds were issued. Is there a connection to lack of news coverage and bid awards...bond issues?

INDOT has no plans for road improvements in that area of 350. Additionally, the bridge over Hogan creek is a bottleneck and flooded in 1997. Currently, Hogan Creek is looking like Hogan Lake. The bridge is likely to flood again.

9. Section 6. Guidelines for Pre-school and Kindergarten Facilities.

(b) Pre-school rooms should have a direct exit to the outside.

Currently, none of the classrooms at SDMS have direct exits to the outside.

10. Section 7. Guidelines for Elementary Facilities

(c) Each general classroom in a school containing any combination of grades 1-6 should contain a minimum of 900 square feet, exclusive of auxiliary space.

The rooms Aurora students grades 1-3 will be moving into are 770 square feet. Classrooms in the old school are 826 square feet.

11. Section 7. Guidelines for Elementary Facilities

(e)...Consideration should be given to minimal seating capacity for extra-curricular and adult activities.

There is no room in the building large enough to accommodate Aurora Elementary Schools PK-3 Holiday Program.

12. Section 8. Guidelines for Middle/Junior High Facilities.

(a) The minimum site size for a new middle school/junior high school should be fifteen (15) acres, plus one additional acre for each one hundred (100) students, or major fraction thereof, enrolled beyond four hundred fifty (450) students.

South Dearborn Junior High is being designed for 550 students. The site should be 16 acres. The chosen site is the current parking lot between SDMS and SDHS. There will be NO green space around this building. It is all parking lot and hillside.

13. Section 8. Guidelines for Middle/Junior High Facilities.

(e) Each school should have adequate indoor and outdoor physical education facilities.

To access outdoor physical education facilities, students must cross parking lots. The school will have one gymnasium. There are currently 8 seventh and eighth grade basketball teams and a wrestling team. This makes scheduling of one gymnasium almost impossible. Additionally, the school lacks gymnastics and there is an inequality in athletic programs for girls and boys.

Additional related concerns

14. Section 4. Guidelines for Conventional School Facilities.

(a) The site size for a school with a combination of elementary and middle/junior high and high school grades, or elementary, middle/junior high and high school grades is the combined total of the minimum site size for each of the grade levels involved.

South Dearborn’s project should require at least 54 acres. The secondary campus is large, but actual available acreage should be investigated. Much of the acreage is heavily wooded and some of it is steep hillside.

This campus also includes a maintenance garage and an administration building. Buses are also stored (parked) on this campus.

Ideas to Help Improve Taxpayer Investment in Education Building Projects - A letter to Gov. Daniels

In December of 2003, the administration of the South Dearborn Community School Corporation presented a building plan to our community that involved converting South Dearborn Middle School (the newest building in our corporation) into a building for Aurora Elementary children, building a new grade seven and eight Junior High, and making major renovations and additions to our High School.

The administration had previously presented this plan to the faculty and staff of Aurora Elementary School. The staff had major problems with this plan. One teacher sent home a copy of the enclosed question sheet in my daughter’s book bag. A middle school teacher also had concerns with the plan and spoke with me about it. At least one of these teachers was told not to speak against this project. Middle School teachers were asked to speak in favor of the project at the 1028 hearing. (My objection to the project is that Aurora Elementary School will be twice the size of other corporation elementary schools and too large to meet the social emotional needs of Aurora’s students. The school will serve 650 to 700 students.)

I wrote an editorial and also testified against the project at the 1028 hearing. I did more research on the project and continued to lobby against it. I also ran for school board and paid for an anti-building project radio ad. I also wrote and spoke against the project.

Additionally, I contacted the Department of Education and the Department of Local Government Finance asking what legal means I had to stop the project. They failed to tell me about the remonstrance process. See enclosed email message. I did testify against the project and presented a petition against the project at the tax board hearing in July. Please see enclosed petition. The project was approved by the DLGF.

After being a regular volunteer in the music programs at SDMS for four years, Tom Book, South Dearborn’s Superintendent banned me from volunteer service at SDMS. He told me, “We’re in the middle of this building project. You’re against it. I think it would be best if you weren’t in the building.”

I took this violation of my free speech and freedom of the press to our local school board, my federal legislators, my state legislators, the DOE, the DLGF, the US DOE, and the ICLU. The only real help I received was from the ICLU. They determined I have a First Amendment Case, but they can’t help me. Enclosed you will find a copy of that letter.

I have a few suggestions to improve the process by which school-building projects are approved, save taxpayer money, and generally improve the quality of education in Indiana schools.

1. Expand the function of the INDIANA CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION to include enforcing the rights of parents, teachers, students and other community members to the rights guaranteed in the Indiana Bill of Rights. Section 9. Freedom of thought and speech Section 9. “No law shall be passed, restraining the free interchange of thought and opinion, or restricting the right to speak, write, or print, freely, on any subject whatever: but for the abuse of that right, every person shall be responsible.” And The Constitution of the United States, Amendment 1-Religion, speech, assembly, and politics.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Currently these problems can be addressed in the courts, but shouldn’t the executive branch of state government enforce the constitution. The fact is, the courts are not easily accessible to many citizens.

2. Just as school corporations are required to fully involve a committee of teachers and parents in the adoption of textbooks, this should also happen with facility decisions. In Dearborn County, an architect firm, Schmitt and Associates, is making far too many facility decisions. In the case of Aurora Elementary, teachers were presented the project and had no say in the initial decision. Their input into the project is minimal.

3. Require by law the approval of local school building projects by County Planning and Zoning Officials. This should assure building plans fit the anticipated needs of the community.

4. Make Section 12 of the Indiana State Board of Education School Facility Guidelines (found at http://ideanet.doe.state.in.us/stateboard/constguide.html) a requirement by law and give the Indiana State Board of Education the authority and responsibility to approve or deny local school building plans, before the project is presented to the DLGF for tax approval.

5. Indiana’s constitution attempts to protect tax payers with the following: Section 1. Debt limitation

Section 1. No political or municipal corporation in this State shall ever become indebted, in any manner or for any purpose, to an amount, in the aggregate, exceeding two per centum on the value of the taxable property within such corporation, to be ascertained by the last assessment for State and county taxes, previous to the incurring of such indebtedness; and all bonds or obligations, in excess of such amount, given by such corporations, shall be void: Provided, That in time of war, foreign invasion, or other great public calamity, on petition of a majority of the property owners in number and value, within the limits of such corporation, the public authorities in their discretion, may incur obligation necessary for the public protection and defense to such amount as may be requested in such petition. (South Dearborn’s Debt far exceeds this limitation.)

This section of the constitution has been circumvented with the lease rental agreement...but any obligation requiring an increase in the debt service tax rate is really a debt.

If the state wishes to keep the lease rental loophole, please find a way to protect the tax payer. If the project will bring debt to more than 5% of assessed valuation require the project come before the voters for their approval.

In the case where the debt is less than 5% of valuation, require administration to inform the public of their right to file a remonstrance at the 1028 hearing.

6. When school corporations engage in major building projects, require them by law to provide enough general elementary classrooms to keep class student size at or below 15 without teaching assistants and at or below 20 with teaching assistants.

7. When school corporations engage in major elementary building projects, require them by law to equalize the size of corporation elementary schools and bring them under 400 students. The preferable grade configuration of these schools should be PK or K - grade 4 or 5.

8. When school corporations engage in major middle grade construction these schools should serve at least three grades. The preferable grade configuration of these schools is 5-8 or 6-8. These schools should not exceed 800 students...300-400 students is preferable.

I do not know if anyone can do anything to require South Dearborn to adopt a better building project, but I hope you might. Also enclosed you will find a list of problems with the project.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Karen Loveland

CC: House Education Committee

Senate Education Committee

Indiana State Board of Education

Indiana Civil Rights Commission

Governor Mitch Daniels

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

18 January 2005 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

18 January 2005 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

Present: Vera Benning, President, Rick Fox, and Jeff Hughes. Also present: Cary Pickens, Auditor and Bob Ewbank, Attorney.

This meeting was videotaped, as was the last one.

Several people, including officials and the newspaper reporter, thought the meeting was at 7:30 PM as in the original newspaper notification and not 6:30.

Old Business:

[NOTE: Under Old Business several items were discussed that were not listed on the agenda. Only “Minutes” was listed on the agenda under Old Business.]
1. Whites Hill Project has issues with O’Mara and St. Leon Sewer Board. Bob Ewbank has exchanged information with Lisa Lehner and with St. Leon’s attorney, John Watson. He suggested that the Board allow him to do pre litigation mediation. Fox motioned and Hughes 2nd to allow Bob Ewbank to set up a meeting with O’Mara, St. Leon, and the County to mediate the conflict over the sewer line issues. Passed.

Appointment of Citizen Member to BZA- Fox motioned and Hughes 2nd to TABLE this for further review.

Regarding the issue with the previous commissioner’s two appointments to the plan Commission, Bob Ewbank gave his opinion (subject to further research) that the one appointment that was made “in futura” was in error, but that the other appointment for the position that had been vacant for some time was probably OK even though they were “lame duck” commissioners. [NOTE: Rick Pope was the appointment that is possibly in error. It should be mentioned that Vera Benning actually motioned and voted for Pope in December. She also praised him during that discussion. The other appointment was Jane Ohlmansiek. Ohlmansiek is a Republican and Pope is an Independent. If Pope is not reappointed that position will have to go to a Democrat according the Indiana Code regarding balancing boards politically.] Ewbank is going to do further research and get back to the Board on this.

Juvenile Board- Fox motioned and Hughes 2nd to appoint Vera Benning to this Board. Passed.

Issues regarding the signing of the December minutes seemed resolved with Cary Pickens, Auditor attesting to their accuracy per Ewbank’s opinion, but Vera Benning wanted to match them against the tape to be sure. [NOTE: It would seem that the other two outgoing commissioners might be consulted, since they were part of these meetings, if there were any accuracy concerns.] Tabled.

January 11 meeting minutes were approved with a spelling correction.

Bryan Messmore- new County Administrator arrived to watch the meeting at this point.

Vera Benning wants the website updated more frequently- the county minutes are only up top October 2004. Cary Pickens informed her that that was the commissioner’s office’s job to handle. They will contact Jeff Zoller.

Claims were voted to b paid. Pickens told the commissioners they would have to come to the office to get individual claim details- the printout they were getting was as good as it gets. Apparently the new software bundles all the claims to each payee, so that departmental breakouts are not shown. This causes one check to be cut rather than several to the same payee from each office.

New Business:

The Yes Home Shelter Project Report will be on file in the Auditor’s Office.

Vera Benning announced an invitation the statehouse for a reception and luncheon with legislators.

Dearborn County Building Dept. Annual Report is on file in the Auditor’s Office.

HVL POA wants two excess police cars. Their last two cars were given to them in March. Hughes motioned and Fox 2nd to Table this pending a review of the county’s needs for these cars first.

Fox motioned and Hughes 2nd to allow Ewbank to meet with the Auditor to review the county ordinances and update them as necessary. Ewbank wants to recodify them and put them out in a format for the public to use.

Redevelopment Commission is meeting Jan 24th at the Chamber Offices- meeting open to the public.

Dick Robertson- CEA gave a report on the North Dearborn Road project. The BAD NEWS is that we were denied federal funds for the 2nd year in a row on this. Carter Keith at INDOT told him that this project came in 2nd in the Seymour District. The GOOD NEWS is that Keith is putting it in the system and assigning it a number for $1.00. That way they can proceed with design, engineering, and environmental studies to show INDOT that the county is serious about pursuing the project. This is the FIRST time that INDOT has ever done this sort of thing. Robertson is just thrilled to death with this and will come back after the design number is assigned. [NOTE: Where is the money coming from to show INDOT that the COUNTY is interested? County road dollars seem scarce now.]

Valley Rural Utilities NPDES Permit application needed signatures to show County backing. Fox felt uncomfortable signing this even though the deadline was this week. They weren’t sure how this affected other entities. Mark Mitter, Plan Commission Chairman and County Councilman, told Commissioners that Wed night (Jan 19) 7-9 the Plan Commission was having an open working meeting and had invited all the county sewer districts to it. They were welcome to come also. Fox motioned and Hughes 2nd to Table.

SEIRP sent over the YES HOME Project renovations paperwork. Fox motioned and Hughes 2nd to allow Vera Benning to sign it.

Vera Benning reported that the highway director brought in a report on his progress. The other two commissioners hadn’t read it yet. They would review it later.

Al Werner arrived (thought the meeting was 7:30) with his Building Department report and gave highlights. Included was an 18- year chart comparing permit records. He also stated that they collected $275,360.60 in fees and budgeted $215,354.70. That left a “profit” of $60,005.90. These were record highs.
Al Werner also turned his resignation in today noting that his vacation time would carry out to his final retirement date in February. Commissioners thanked him for his work all these years. The entire room broke into spontaneous applause.

Vera Benning reminded the audience again that anyone wishing to speak at a commissioner meeting needs to call the office one week in advance and be placed on the agenda. [NOTE: How would anyone know if they needed to speak to an item on the agenda if: 1. the agenda doesn’t list all the items which will be discussed, and 2. the agenda is not known to them a week in advance?]

Meeting adjourned at 7:20 PM.

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

How Lawrenceburg Spent $20 Million

Lawrenceburg Bond Bank Info:
Reviewed all Bond Bank Council approved Minutes up through November 2004. December was not approved yet.

Beginning balance- $20 million

2002- Fortune Mgmt - $8 million at 1% (pre Bond Board)

1/2004 St. Leon Sewers- $1million (20 yr)
2/2004 DC Solid Waste Mgmt- $600,000
5/2004 G-dale Fire Station - $1.5 million was to be matched with $1.3 million of G-dale’s own $$s (20 yr) (was $1.3 million but bones on site)
Aurora City Bldg thinks they will request $1,999,999.00 (has to be less than $2 million)
6/2004 Invision Care by Whiskeys) - $110,000
8/2004 Hillside Health Partners, LLC $500,000 escrow (wants $3.5 million loan) (Grant Hughes or Lynn Eiler to sign off) ($10,000 for 2 appraisals)
9/2004 L-bg School Corp - $1.6 million (12 month loan)
9/2004 CMHC $1.3 million (20 yrs) (Lisa Lehner rep)
10/2004 Pieratt Properties (WSCH) $954,000 escrow (Maxwell builder) (1500 for 2 appraisals)
11/04 County Sewer Board wants $2 million for 2 years- but already committed $$s – none available.

In pipeline:
Aurora new City Bldg
Hrezo McCullough Bldg on High St by RSVP – approx. $1.9 million
YMCA Property from Hamline church in 96-97 coming back to L-bg. Boatdocks and Outdoor World presenting proposals for….

Three signatures and at least 2 must sign checks. Vicki March and Tom Steidel. (3rd ??)
UCB is the bank holding bond bank funds.

Procedure per Jackie Stutz, City Clerk Treasurer:
1. Tom Steidel
2. Econ. Redev. Commission
3. Bond bank Recommends
4. Council approves.

Rates- 2 ½ points under prime. Adjusted annually, no penalty if paid off, no collateral (except for private development per Steidel when questioned later), interest on deposited funds is returned to bond bank, waiver of origination fee.
$20 million two years ago- fund now at approximately $1.5 million as of 11/04

per Steidel- suspended private loans for all except those in the pipeline in Jan 2004.
(But Doug Hedrick got Council blessing in 12/04 for approximately $1million for phase 1 condos with Stacy Homes.)

NAPA (Hoosier Properties)(Jason Todd) and ER Rentals (Richard Butler representing Scott Ricketts) never got approvals.

Zerbe was att’y to end of 2004. Now Votaw is their attorney.

Members: Tom DeWees, Vicki March, Kipp Newmann, Tom Cook, and Jim Schwier.
Julie Webster replaced by Tom DeWees 2/2004.

Joe Edmondson- US Bank- conducting credit checks for loans.

Lawyer fees: 2004

Ice Miller- $2173.60 +1005.79 + 3866.33 + 7065.26 + 2641.48 + 3727.79 + 2080.59 = $22,560.84 as of 11/04

Zerbe $7650.00 + 8112.00 + 3187.50 + 1257.50 +3582.50 = $20,789.50 as of 11/04

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Lawrenceburg Redevelopment Commission Meeting- 10 January 2005 Notes

Lawrenceburg Redevelopment Commission Meeting- 10 January 2005 Notes

Present: Steve Lucier, Tony Abbott, Jim Howard, Dennis Carr, Tom Rodgers, and Att’y Joe Votaw.
Also- Tom Steidel.
There was apparently no agenda.

Craig Hilsinger- old business- 7 years ago- first came here for Tanners Creek Properties @ the request of Tom DeWees and Jeff Dornette.
Gave out packets of material on 100 + acres showing original PUD. He said construction costs have skyrocketed since 9/11…
His retail part is done (even though there are some issues with drainage that weren’t part of the original design per Hilsinger…)
Talked about 127 condos at the $89-129,000 range, 116 single family lots, and 240 (had 346 originally) townhouses.
Now they plan to tie into Florence Drive with dedicated streets forming a loop. He wants low interest loan for these sites and a revolving line of credit on the condos etc all secured by a first mortgage on the property valued at $4 million. Hilsinger thought it should be administered by a local bank- someone who knows how to handle this type of project…
He’s figuring a 5-7 year buildout, and stated that all infrastructure is in place. Figures $1.75 million for the road- lots of excavation. Needs a lake for detention area for stormwater.
Loan amount requested is $14-17 million!!!
Board questioned Hilsinger regarding the cost of services that Lawrenceburg has to provide not being offset by the taxes generated by the development. No answer.
Hilsinger states the development will look like a fishing village with a lighthouse and pool. 60 ft frontage on lots (needs a zoning exception for this because 75 ft is the rule), and lots will back up to trees and lake. There is a $2 million mortgage on this property valued at $4 million.
UCB could loan this amount but Hilsinger is looking for a better rate.
Steidel said it is difficult to get banks to finance apts now.
Street cost to be $350-375/ft.
Wants to get thru Kaiser’s land eventually to tie into the big development on Tower Road. (Linkmeyers subdivision)
At this point Hilsinger referred to my (Chris Mueller) editorials stating that he though I’d have to agree that this was a great plan- cluster development etc… walking to shopping, places for the elderly with ADA features and along an anticipated mass transit route. [NOTE: No Comment- this is out of context for our county master plan]
Board wants more details and firmer numbers. Next meeting he will bring them- Feb 14th- Valentine’s Day. Abbot comments he can come then for a “sweetheart deal…” Laughter.

Hava Java- Jerry and Alicia Kent and att'y Lisa Lehner. Pete Zaharacos also in audience as support.
319 Walnut St- owned by Kevin and Lee Ann Coates (she owns Help-U-Sell) and as landlord they are Norco Properties.
Alicia Kent presented that they have been there for 4 years now- that in 2 years they had 68% growth and in two more another 64%. They want to own the building to expand the business. They hope to do renovations inside and outside to gain 80 additional seats. They plan to increase revenue by 20% and the kitchen by 40%. They want to work with the city to build a courtyard out toward the parking area the city plans to have finished in May 2005.
Requesting $620,000 loan- the building costs $250,000- the rest is for repairs and renovations and expansion. They have 5 employees who have been there throughout the 4 years and will add more employees. The 2nd floor apt. is nice the 3rd floor needs some work.
They will extend the back of the building on dock area to add more than 300 sq ft for the kitchen. Courtyard will be stamped concrete with lattice and ivy and a gated entrance.
Steidel spoke- stating he’d give a lot of history here:
They got a $20,000 small business grant last year. He is worried that they don’t want to assume any risk with this property. Steidel wants them to put up their net worth as collateral. They need to own the building. Steidel wants to provide construction funding for each stage of the project and then transfer that to a bank loan.
Rodgers- this is an important meeting- we are redefining what we can do. I live on Front Street and I’d rather loan to you. (Kents)
Votaw- you can’t do a phase in thing.
The board wanted to know why they didn’t go to the bank.
Told them they did go to a local banker first and he advised them to go to the Bond Bank. Lisa Lehner told them it was UCB and E G McLaughlin.
Jerry Kent told them he has legitimate local bids with prevailing wage to be paid.
Pete Zaharacos asked what the criteria is in the bond bank as to who can come forward, etc. He was told that the Redevelopment Commission is a screening group. Rodgers- we don’t have any criteria yet- we are building this.
Steidel stated that he had his finger on what the city wants etc. [NOTE: The plan is in HIS head??]
Question was asked: Could you think about a % to be covered by local banks and a % by the bond bank- to balance out the loans?
Jerry Kent talked about time delays and when the parking lot would be finished so they could do their expansion – wants to take advantage of a window of opportunity for the work to get done.
Bond bank is to determine if this type loan is legal. City Council has the OK really.
Lucier stated that the board plans on saying yes to this- get an option on that building etc.
Meeting adjourned 6:30 PM

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

11 January 2005 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

11 January 2005 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

Present: Vera Benning, President, Jeff Hughes and Rick Fox.
Brenda Hensley was minute taker for Cary Pickens, Auditor. Bob Ewbank sat in the Att’y chair.

Vera Benning- opened the meeting with a prepared statement about reorganization, which she defined as putting together a team. She stated that taxpayers voted them in and that they were going to make economic growth a priority. Using the Biblical quote that a house divided against itself will not stand, she stated that it was imperative that the team pull together and that they intended to move forward in a positive and fair manner. She gave the prepared statement to Brenda to include in the official minutes.

New appointments:
[NOTE: There were no discussions regarding any of these appointments. It appeared that there were decisions made prior to this meeting]
Vera Benning- President of Commissioners
Bob Ewbank- County Attorney
Jeff Hughes - Plan Commission Rep for Commissioners
Tabled BZA appointment
Jeff Hughes- OKI Board of Trustees Rep
Rick Fox- Animal Control
Vera Benning- Convention and Tourism Board
All three commissioners sit on Solid Waste Board
Rick Fox- Emergency Mgmt Advisory Board
Tabled Juvenile Advisory Board
Jim West- Redevelopment Commission
Don Townsend- Building Dept. Director
(Al Werner retired)

Bill Ewbank- VA Officer
Bill Black- Emergency Mgmt. (courtesy vote-only)
Bryan Messmore – County Administrator – effective Jan 21 -
[NOTE: Lorie Howard was notified that she was no longer county administrator prior to this meeting by Jeff Hughes and Bob Ewbank. As Ewbank had not been appointed yet as county attorney, and there was no public meeting (other than the reorganization meeting) after the executive session held at 6PM, how and when did commissioners decide legally to terminate the county administrator?]
Mike Davis- Hwy Director
Rick Fox- DC Economic Development Initiative
Vera Benning- Redevelopment Commission- Commissioner Rep
Jeff Hughes – SEIRPC
Vera Benning- Common Wage Board
Ed Brack- Park Board
Jim Dole- Alcohol Beverage Board- even though term doesn’t end till 1/06
Dan Strub- HHH- even though term not up yet
Barry Pruss -Sewer Board- even though term not up till 2008
Rick Fox- County Farm Board

Treasurer’s Report- found later by Ewbank at his seat- tabled to review for next meeting

Bill Black- Emergency Mgmt- asked to speak regarding an emergency declaration for snow and flooding so that if a disaster is declared we will be eligible for funding. Fox motioned and Hughes 2nd to sign this.

Commissioner’s Meeting Schedule is now changed to the 1st and 3rd Tues of each month at 6:30 PM. No more morning meetings. July will have one meeting dues to a convention that the commissioners attend.

Hospital Board meeting is set for Jan 26th at 5:30 PM for dinner. Commissioners and related staff are invited.

Public Official Bonds for Treasurer Gayle Pennington and Clerk Phil Weaver were signed.

December 6th meeting minutes were tabled.
Claims were signed.

Citizens were reminded that if they wish to be placed on the agenda they must call the commissioner’s office one week prior to the meeting.

Ewbank told commissioners they should make a call for any old or new business. Vera Benning brought up White’s Hill, but noted that it couldn’t be discussed because Mike Davis was no longer present.

Meeting adjourned 8:05 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Monday, January 03, 2005

Commissioners meeting times changed for January 2005.

The following information is from the Auditor's Office on January 3, 2005. The auditor's office sent this notice to the newspaper also. [Note: The regularly scheduled morning meeting for January 3, 2005 was cancelled.]

On Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 there will be a reorganization meeting starting at 7:30
pm. The next meeting is Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 there will be a regular Commissioners
meeting at 7:30 pm. Both at admin building.

Christine Brauer Mueller
LAwrenceburg Township