Wednesday, May 04, 2005

3 May 2005 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

3 May 2005 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting NotesPresent: Present: Vera Benning, President, Jeff Hughes, and Rick Fox.
Also Present: Cary Pickens, Auditor, Bryan Messmore, County Adm., and Bob Ewbank, Attorney.

The agenda for this meeting includes a statement: “During the Public Hearing, public comments are welcomed.”
This meeting was videotaped, the same as all previous meetings since January 2005.
1. Public hearing for Zone change from Ag- to B-1 for 2.396 acres of Lonnie Steele’s property on Mt. Pleasant Rd (part of THE FARM GOLF COURSE) for a restaurant facility. Travis Miller gave a PowerPoint presentation of the proceedings at the Plan Commission, where this was given a favorable recommendation with one nay vote. He noted that the sewer access is currently under discussion, but has not been achieved yet. He noted also that the sewage is currently in a holding tank and pumped periodically to remove it.
NO PUBLIC came to speak on this.
Fox motioned and Hughes 2nd to approve the zone change to B-1 stating that it met the 5 criteria for a zone change. [NOTE: They did not discuss or state how this met the 5 criteria!] Motion passed.
Travis also presented the new FEMA rules for article 8 in the zoning ordinance for commissioners’ approval. It also had a favorable from the plan commission. This replacement for the old section 8 in the ordinance book contains more glossary words (defined) and also a newer role for the BZA in floodplain decisions. Fox motioned and Hughes 2nd to approve the new floodplain rules. Passed.
Travis Miller also had the commissioners sign off on the written commitments for Maxwell’s development on DogRidge Rd.

2. Bonnie Cantwell of YOUR IMAGE PRODUCTIONS, who has been doing the video taping of the commissioners meeting, presented her plan to be paid $75/meeting to produce an unedited digital copy of the meetings for public record. Copies would be indexed to the agenda. She stated it could be a legal aid as “no one can dispute what the camera sees or hears.” Pickens stated that it couldn’t be funded till next year. Fox stated that the bottom line is that we don’t have the money. Hughes motioned to table this to look into it further. Fox 2nd. Tabled. [NOTE: This seems to be a duplication of services. What would be the official record- the minutes or the video?]

3. Mike Davis- Transportation Director- gave a report. He is trying to get a uniform project form to give a one-page snapshot of the pros and cons of various projects proposed.
8 trucks were bought several years ago all at the same time. They have over 250,000 miles on them and will need to be replaced. Davis wants to replace three currently. Fox stated that a truck replacement schedule was needed. Pickens stated that it needed to be brought in at budget time- no mid-year requests.
Fox wants Davis to get bids (he probably means quotes, as he doesn’t want to be bound to buy based on them) for budget time so they can make a formal request. Messmore stressed that these lines of communication needed to be open, not done behind the scene.
Davis stated there were 4-5 roads set for paving this summer, also several on the chip seal program. He wanted to widen Sawdon Ridge and Mt. Pleasant by 2 ft. Davis talked to a Ripley Cty. Company that widens roads- about 3 mi/day. They rest could be done in-house and cheaper.
Benning wanted to know if money was available. Messmore stated they looked, Pickens wasn’t sure. He also noted that projects go to Council for approval first for money to be released. Fox wanted to look at the traffic study and plan where the dollars should go. Benning noted that Wilkerson, Grimsley, and Ache have been on the list already. Fox needed exact figures of available funds and also the ones previously funded. Messmore and Pickens noted there were problems finding the funds. No real decision on this…..
Davis talked about the light at Schuman and SR1 that Maxwell is to pay for. Messmore noted several criteria to go into getting INDOT to agree. One is the peak traffic count, also the number of accidents (34 since 2003) and annual maintenance for the county of $1000 for the light plus replacement costs of about $10,000. Again- no decision.

4. Jeff Talkers- The Survey Co. – gave an update on Whites Hill. Project to be completed in 4-5 weeks with clean up and rip-wrap and guardrail. There was a change order presented for a culvert from 48” to 60-72” arched one with headwall of $67,000. Budgeted so far spent was $754,000. It would be longer than 5 weeks to open if culvert changed. They felt the 48” was inadequate.
The sewer pipe was upgraded from 8 to 10 “ and St. Leon is to pay the difference. There was no decision on the change order.

5. Dave Lykins Woliung Rd- No Show

6.Don Townsend- Building Inspector- asked for a complete revamp of the fee schedule. $25 for inspections is not enough- he says actual costs are $45. Taxpayers have been subsidizing part of the costs of inspections. He wants to put the costs where they belong- on the use- i.e. the builders and developers. [NOTE: Actually, this cost will go to the homeowner- the builder/developer is a pass-thru.]He stated that since 1986- 2228 electrical inspections were done for free due to a misinterpretation of the ordinance. Ewbank told him to request an interpretation in writing on that law and he will give it to him ASAP. He felt that would fix things. Townsend to write the letter. (It appears this means Ewbank probably charges the building dept. for his services.)Commissioners want to think about it and have a working session on 2nd Tues of each month from 5-7 PM. (starting in June) They plan to go over this schedule then and decide it at the next REGULAR meeting after that.

7. Jeff Smith- Weights and Measures- left early- but gave his written annual 2004 report to Messmore for the commissioners.

8. Migrant Housing through Heart House and Craig Beckley to be located and owned by Beiersdorfer’s Orchards. Bill Beiersdorfer stated that they wanted to keep farming for the children to take over. They have had a trailer to house migrants for 30 years.
Beckley stated that there is NO EXPENSE TO THE COUNTY- that the county is just a pass though, because they have to be sponsored by a local branch of gov’t.
This structure will replace the existing structure- similar to the request 3 years ago in 2002 that was turned down by commissioners. Beiersdorfer’s put up a 10% match; Heart House does all the paperwork. The original request was for $200-250,000 building. Beiersdorfers put up 20-25,000. In 10 years the building becomes theirs. Taxpayers foot the other 90%. [Note: There is a built in conflict of interest- Heart House gets paid administrative fees as a percent of this grant- so it is to their advantage to get the maximum amount of dollars for the building.]
Because the rules were just published Friday, Beckley had nothing firm to show them. The application is due June 20. Building is to be 2 units with a central storage and washers/driers in middle. Each unit is 3 bedrooms, LR, DR, kitchen, and bathrooms.
It can only be used for migrant housing or they have to pay state back. [Note: What about after 10 years is up? Can they rent it out to others then?]
Beiersdorfer’s pay increased taxes on this building also.
Beckley has to do environmental review and historical review, but can’t do it until commissioners make him their agent. [Note: This is the usual method- bring it in last minute- try to rush things so the details are not known- and then get an approval because we might lose the chance to get the funds.]
Commissioners seemed reluctant to sign off on this until they saw all the paperwork. Fox motioned and Hughes 2nd to allow Heart House (Beckley) to be the agent for the county to do the application only. They will not give final approval until the paperwork is in front of them for review.
[Note: The issue FOR THE COMMISSIONERS 3 years ago had several points. One was public money being spent to build housing on private land to become privately owned. If the county owned the building, it might be different. Also, there were concerns about health care for the migrants and what that would cost the county, if we began to encourage this sort of enterprise. Also, was it fair to give this to one farmer and not to others? Lastly, there were concerns about migrants being paid so little that they couldn’t afford any housing. The commissioners at that time did not seem to give any credence to bigoted comments about migrants in general. The commissioners and the public had no issue with Beiersdorfer’s Orchard- in fact they seemed supportive of them as a long time farming family, in general.]

9. Cary Pickens- Auditor- had commissioners sign off on the annual Congressional School Fund which is a 100 year old (or so) – fund that exists- mostly on paper.
Pickens updated them on the Riverboat Revenue issues (thanks to the local reps and Nugent and Bischoff) and stated that we will probably lose the hold harmless funds ($4-5 million) that were used to replace the head tax when we went to dockside gaming. He stressed that we have to come up with a plan for 2 years from now in order to keep the money, because they will be asking for it again. Lawrenceburg also has to. He also stated that we have to account for our expenditures, but the state can’t seem to account for what they did with their $2.5 billion share.

10. Bryan Messmore- Administrator- set up the working session for 2nd Tues of month form 5-7PM- a public meeting.
He also noted some email and webpage issues with computers lately.

11. Bob Ewbank, Att’y- Notified commissioners of pending litigations and insurance company notifications. He also noted there is no decision yet on the Larry Smith/Richard Schmidt lawsuit over the White’s Hill development that was rezoned.
He is reviewing the status of all performance bonds.
He is also fairly certain the state will allow the deadline for taxes to go from Apr20- July 5 with no penalty.

12. Hughes had nothing to report. Fox updated them on Collier Ridge slip repair. Benning invited commissioners to sewer board meeting to help get them some funding.
She also stated that we need to hire an engineer that is a resident of IN and PE certified in IN. Fox noted that we could pay for it in fees that have gone to consultants. Cary noted that it’s already in the budget. [Note: If a PE can’t be obtained at this salary or for other reasons, commissioners might want to consider hiring a younger candidate and giving him/her the experience to qualify for the P.E. ultimately. The computer literacy of a younger candidate may also be an asset to the efficiency of the highway dept., which is currently using a manual system to track performance bonds etc. Imagine what might be possible if the highway dept. took a "hi-tech" step up in performance. It wouldn’t hurt to hire an engineering intern for that dept. also.]
Meeting adjourned at 8:30 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

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