Wednesday, December 28, 2005

27 December 2005 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

27 December 2005 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

Present: Mark Mitter,Chairman, Jeff Hughes, Mike Hall, Tarry Feiss, Jane Ohlmansiek, Robert Laws, and Dennis Kraus, Jr.
Absent: Patrick deMaynadier and Nick Held
Also Present: Travis Miller, Planning Director and Arnie McGill, Attorney. Mark McCormack, Enforcement Officer, was not present (he is out of the country)

Mitter publicly thanked Travis Miller for his outstanding service to Dearborn County for the past three years. The board concurred. Travis Miller stated that his working relationship with this board has been superb. He stated there was no negativity there. Then he asked Mitter to stop before he would get all choked up about leaving. [NOTE: Travis Miller has had the unique ability to be able to bring together many different perspectives from politicians, citizens, and activists. He worked to create public processes that produced plans that most county residents can live with. For someone who is so young he possesses maturity beyond his years. Dearborn County has been fortunate to gain his experience and work ethic for 3 years. Our loss is Yorkville’s gain.]

New business:

Primary approval for a 2-lot subdivision- Pires Subdivision in Jackson Township on County Line Road on 7.350 acres of AGRICULTURALLY ZONED LAND. Bob Koester, a local realtor was representing the Pires, who are out of town owners of the land.
Dennis Kraus, Jr. stepped down for this item, though he did serve on the technical review committee that had previously denied it twice (Sept and Oct) before approving it in November.
Neighbors were notified by certified mail that the tech review had approved the split. The Reders who adjoin the property appealed the decision of the tech review board within the 10-day time limit. The Plan Commission was to decide whether to uphold or overturn the tech review decision.
Tim Reder presented the opposing view that he purchased and was using 17 acres of Ag land to perform agriculturally approved activities (landscape plant farm) and did not think it was appropriate to have the area turn into a subdivision piecemeal around him. He noted that there were many splits going on in the past few years on this original parcel of Ag land.
I (Chris Mueller)asked the plan commission if the total acreage was 7.350 acres, meaning that the splits would be less than 4 acres each. Then I asked if that was the case, and the smallest acreage that Ag uses could be considered legal was 5 acres, how could they split this and still have it as Ag zone? [NOTE: I do not know why tech review did not see this problem.]
A nearly hour long discussion ensued among the plan Commission members while new plan commission members were shown the rules relating to Ag subdivisions and how they could be allowed. Jeff Hughes argued about property rights and how a landowner should be able to do whatever he wanted with his property. He was asked if he would like a dump next to his property. He said that would be OK, but that it would be a “taking” and that he would be entitled to compensation for the value lost in his land. [NOTE: Hughes clearly does not understand how zoning works. He states his personal philosophy on property rights, but he fails to see that he is at the head of a county that has elected to have zoning and a comprehensive plan. When a commissioner is elected they swear that they will uphold the laws of the county. Serving on the plan Commission requires that you adhere to the zoning and subdivision ordinances. This does not mean that that land cannot be divided at some point. It does mean that if the landowner wishes to create something that is not based on Ag uses in an Ag zone, they need to request a zone change to Residential. Looking at the area in question, that should have occurred earlier. This is an area developing without a plan (as in a subdivision request) and the result is turning into a hodge-podge of potentially conflicting uses. Zoning helps protect the investments that people make in their homes and in their land. It helps people with different desires in their choices of lifestyle decide where to live.]

Ohlmansiek motioned to OVERTURN the tech review decision based on the Ag use definition in section 27 and the fact that these lots were less than 5 acres each. Feiss 2nd. 5 ayes and one nay (Hughes).

The intergovernmental agreement between the town of West Harrison and The Dearborn County Plan Commission was signed. This agreement cleans up and legalizes the duties that the Planning staff is already providing for West Harrison. Hughes motioned and Hall 2nd to approve this. All ayes.
It was noted by Laws that West Harrison is all B-2 and that would preclude and residential building there. They will have a non- voting member on our Plan Commission. The county PC will hear any zone change requests and they will make recommendations to the West Harrison Town Board, who will have final say on the matter.

Mitter will serve as a rep to OKI for the Plan Commission.
Laws completed his Plan Commission training.
Hamilton County Plan Commission’s annual report was passed out for their information.
Travis Miller has posted the plan director job on the APA site also, at
Deadline for applications is 2/1/06. The 5-member selection committee will narrow down applicants to interview. Committee is: Jim Deaton, Jane Ohlmansiek, Jeff Hughes, Dennis Kraus, Jr., and Patty Baker.

Meeting adjourned at 9 PM after which time members and citizens took time to wish Travis Miller good lick on his new job. Miller leaves Jan 2 for Yorkville, IL outside Chicago.

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

20 December 2005 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

20 December 2005 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

Present: Benning, Chairman, Fox and Hughes.
Also present: Pickens, Auditor, Messmore, Administrator, and Ewbank, Att’y

1. Messmore asked for a moment of silence for some employees who were sick and or hospitalized.

2. Annual bids were awarded with respective departments making recommendations for approvals.
Jail Food: Ellenbee Leggett and Garden Food Service were both approved.
Highway: Rohe and O’Mara both approved for asphalt, CPI for guardrail and pipe, gravel- Harrison Sand and Gravel, Newpoint Stone, and Hanson Aggregates all approved. Fuel: Johnny Resner and Laughery Valley approved. Petroleum Traders deleted for incomplete bid.

3. Todd Listerman and Mark Seiler presented a request to revert the overtime pay rules for highway workers back to the original rules that were in effect pre 2005. These rules would allow sick and vacation time to figure into overtime calculations due to the sporadic nature of highway worker’s overtime. Approved pending Ewbank’s review.
Listerman also presented an ordinance regulating parking on the county right of way, exceptions being made for government workers. Farmers may also be exempt per Ewbank. Ewbank will review this and the fine for January meeting. No decision.

4. INDOT land acquisition from last meeting was signed. The pipe work is already finished with Listerman review.

New business:
Lewis and Kappes lobbyist contract renewed
and signed by commissioners. This lobbyist is shared with other county entities.

Minutes for Oct 18, Nov 1, and Nov 15 approved.
Claims approved except for one Pickens held on Health seminar catering that can’t come out of travel expense fund.

Ewbank advised commissioners of suit by Carlton vs. Sheriff’s Dept. He also is reviewing documents for Comcast buyout of Suscom. He is sending a letter requesting info on services and rates etc.

Hughes wants to put the GIS under the commissioner’s supervision with the County Administrator functioning as the supervisor. He felt that GIS affects all county offices and should be under their review rather than just the planning Dept. They were also concerned that Planning is in transition now that Travis Miller has resigned effective the end of December and a new Director has to be selected by the Plan Commission. It was thought that it would be easier on the new director to be able to do planning only and not GIS also. [NOTE: This sounds good, except one wonders if there is anyone else in the county who really knows enough to supervise GIS.]

Per last month's request by teh commissioners, Bill Black presented the Lawrenceburg agreement and a letter from Charlie Fehrman for Council showing they backed him going to Lawrenceburg Bond Bank to request the loan for the 800 mgHz radio system up to a limit around $35,000 per year for a 20 year loan. Now the commissioners asked him to get more info and also Ewbank has to check the Local Gov’t Finance Board to be sure we aren’t exceeding our debt ceiling. [NOTE: Are they worried there won’t be enough to borrow for the jail expansion? Much discussion here- but the bottom line is they are either stalling or giving Black the runaround. The only other option is that they don’t really know what they want to do. After several years of hearing about this and all intentions seemed to direct Black to go forward, it seems ludicrous to keep playing this game. If they don’t want radios, just say no. If they want to be on the same system as adjoining counties, then proceed. If Lawrenceburg’s numbers aren’t in the Council budget, then don’t sign. How come other counties have achieved this collaboration and we can’t seem to get the deal done? This could have been approved PENDING Ewbank’s determination of the debt ceiling number. They did that for highway overtime rules.]

Meeting adjourned 7:45 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Commissioners Change Meeting Times for 2006

Dearborn County Commissioner Meetings for 2006 will still be on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month, but they will start at 6 PM.

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

6 December 2006 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

Present: Vera Benning, Chairman, Rick Fox, and Jeff Hughes.
Also present: Pickens, Auditor, Messmore, Administrator, and Ewbank, Att’y

1. Annual bids were opened and given to the respective departments to make recommendations for approvals at a later date. Highway: Rohe and O’Mara, CPI for guardrail and pipe, gravel- Harrison Sand and Gravel, Newpoint Stone, and Hanson Aggregates; Jail Food: Ellenbee Leggett and GFS; Commissioners Vending Machines: All American Vending; Fuel: Johnny Resner, Laughery Valley, and Petroleum Traders.

2. Chris Walls of 39 Degrees North- introduced their company (Bloomington area) and demonstrated how their GIS product works in Monroe County with 400 employees with this on their desktops. (58,000 parcels of land). He noted the layers for road data, tax data, house pictures, SEWER AND SEPTIC data, etc. Health dept. takes a GPS locator and notes the septic location then, downloads the data back at the office for the GIS Septic layer. This info is available to the public on the Internet as soon as it is entered and saved. Aerials are done by the state every 2-3 years and available to download so no big cost there. Everything is tied to the parcel number. He will get a cost estimate by next week to them.
Margaret Minzner- GIS Coordinator- presented an update on the GIS contours maps where orthophotography can be used from Earthdata
. These will produce 2 ft contours (better) as opposed to the 4 ft contours from LIDAR. Cost savings is nearly $100,000 from the budgeted amount from Council. LIDAR was $192,000. Earthdata is $92,700. Could be on by late spring or early summer. Due to only one potential source, they referenced IC codes to allow them to accept this company. Fox and Hughes motioned and approved.

3. Keith Moberg- INDOT land acquisition on SR 48 project near the hospital and CMHC for culvert work. The land will revert to the county after the work is completed.

4. Phil Weaver- Clerk of Courts presented county portion ($60,000) out of $100,000 that was earmarked for the total match to a fed mandate for voting software for the blind and visually impaired. Total cost $294,000. Approved.

5. Lou Broghammer- Park Board- noted that Ewbank is both County Att’y and Park Board Att’y. Asked if they were wanting to have the park board take over the county farm. Noted history of uses there and also previous commissioner wanting to put senior housing out there (Beckley and the Reverend Gerald Lach, who ended up in legal trouble). Thought they could put sports fields out there or…
Noted that they would need funds to take care of it- that maybe they could peel off some of their other parks to adjoining entities like the Bright Fire Dept, the school, or the town of Dillsboro.
Earl Dawson of the COUNTY FARM BOARD- asked what would the advantage be to giving it to the park board?
Benning stated farmers that maintain it- she wanted more farmers to be allowed to farm it- bid?
Pickens stated that it’s better to have farmer who knows how to take care of the land than the lowest bid.
Lou Broghammer noted they are running water to Gladys Russell nearby so that their very fine one-hole outhouse can be replaced with restrooms.
No Decision.
[NOTE: Where did this dialogue start? There have been numerous discussions in the past about the farm and the need to keep the YES home in a more secluded setting. The Boy Scouts and 4H train out there (trail blazing and shooting.) Timber is harvested, highway garage is located there, and the Animal Shelter. All need some buffers- the farm seems to provide that.]

6. Schiff-Kreidler-Shell- Bob Higgins presented their scope of services that they can provide in evaluation all the county’s insurance needs and safety and risk management per Ewbank’s suggestion.
They consider them selves to be a NEUTRAL source of info- as they do not sell any insurance products, though they gained experience by being employed in that sector or the legal field. Commissioners engaged their services to arrive at a cost for a possible contract to do this work for the county.

7. Emergency Management- Bill Black- adopted a resolution for the weather emergency warning and travel advisory guidelines.
Black is to get Council “proof” before Commissioners sign to go to Bond Bank for loan of $466,000 to be paid over 20 years for the 800 MgHz funding. They are hoping the loan will be “forgiven” ultimately…

8. Richard Bower- County Farm Timber Sale (has a forestry degree from PU, but not enough connections to get a wide range of bidders for their sale.) They will use Steve Doll Forestry as consultant to get the bids out. Doll gets 10% of the sale for his services. About 250 trees to be culled- that’s about 8 per acre. Office Bower also gave some history of the shooting range and his role in training there at the County Farm.

9. Engineering Dept- Todd Listerman- Commissioners OK to go to Council to transfer leftover money from Whites Hill project to the Stateline and Stephens Road improvements.
Approved Timber Ridge sub’n roads (core samples done and maintenance bonds lapsed- old sub’n) pending Listerman getting the appropriate legal write-up for their signatures.
Listerman and John Graf gave update on the Triple Whipple noting that Mayor Hastings wants to keep it because of the bike trail and Historical Landmarks does as well. Fox and Hughes motioned to approve them going to SIRPD for another grant application to get the “extra” money needed now that the project costs have DOUBLED in the last 10 years. [NOTE: This is more than inflation.] County is 80/20 on this.

Commissioners signed the SMM for MED BEN- Pharmacy amendment.
Benning brought up several tabled items that she had Messmore research to get them off the table:

1. Equestrian Estates zone change request- I told them this was over 90 days old and so per state law it was effectively denied. They agreed.
2. Videotaping meetings- denied
3. Creation of a Housing Council- denied
4. Appointment of a business rep to the Region 9 Board- denied at this time.

New Business:

2006 Holiday schedule approved.
2006 Meeting schedule approved – 1st and 3rd Tues- BUT TIME IS CHANGED TO START AT 6 PM NOT 6:30.

Pickens noted that he will no longer be writing paychecks for Solid Waste- they can write their own. [NOTE: Nice Christmas “present” for the Solid Waste Board!]

Pickens also asked who was going to represent the county’s interests at the Dec 12th hearing in Ripley County. He persisted, saying he would go - and commissioners approved. [NOTE: This is the sentencing hearing for former Democrat commissioner Dan Batta. As Auditor and Republican Party Chairman, Pickens has been closely following this. The Republican Party is mostly concerned with Batta possibly running again for an office or being appointed to one, as that was in their plea deal, which wasn’t taken. It would seem a moot point considering the dim view that the general public takes regarding elected official use of the county’s credit card or rating.]

Meeting adjourned at 9:35 PM

[NOTE: I did NOT attend the sewer board meeting tonight, which was held at 7 PM in the basement break room. Mark Neff went down to observe this and briefly told me that the Board went over the 3 potential consultants to evaluate the county’s sewer needs (GRW, Black and Beech (sp?) and Wolpert (sp?) Wolpert from N KY received the nod. They were not the cheapest. Other factors were discussed in their decision.]

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Sunday, December 04, 2005

DCRSD- Special Meeting for Funding and Studies

The Dearborn County Regional Sewer District is holding a special meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, county administration building, 215B W. High St., Lawrenceburg.
The purpose of the meeting is to discuss contracting for and applying for funding and the purpose of discussing, contracting with and selecting an engineering-consulting firm or firms for studies related to the district.
The County Commissioners meet at 6:30 that same night.