Friday, March 31, 2006

Candidate for South Dearborn School Board

Karen Loveland
501 Sunnyside Avenue
Aurora, IN 47001

Strengthen School to Family Relationships
with Parent Teacher Conferences & Family Friendly Practices

Improve Class Size & Student Teacher Ratios

Full School Year Instruction for Core Academic Courses

Improve School Safety through Character Education
Focused on Honesty, Courtesy, Respect, Responsibility & Self Control

Improve Kindergarten & Extracurricular Transportation

South Dearborn Parent 13 Years
Mother of six current South Dearborn Students,
One former SD student and one future SD student.

Married 20 years to Bob Loveland
Financial Associate Primerica Financial Services
Sunday School Teacher, Church Pianist & Organist
Boy Scout Troop Committee Member
Finance Committee Member Dearborn Community Foundation

1987 Graduate Brigham Young University BS Finance
(First Generation College Graduate)
SD Music, Classroom & Committee Volunteer
Destination ImagiNation Team Manager
Girl Scout Volunteer

Always an Activist for Excellence in Education, Good Government, and Smart Business.

Red Pine Properties filed writ of certiorari for review of Plan Commission Decision

Red Pine Properties, LLC via their lawyer, George A Leininger of Madison, IN, filed a writ of certiorari asking for the review of the Plan Commission decision from 23 January 2006. The property is located at Augusta Drive and Stateline Road in Miller Township. The proposed subdivision name was Sugar Pine. Paperwork can be found under Cause # 15C01-0603-PL-013 in the Clerk of Courts Office in Dearborn County. Date Filed was 27 March 2006, within 30 days of approval of the minutes of the January meeting. (Minutes were approved on 27 Feb 2006)
Petitioner alleges they met all the requirements for primary approval with "the only reason given by the Dearborn County Plan Commission for denying Petitioner had failed to provide adequate evidence that there was adequate sewer service available for the proposed subdivision." "Petitioner supplied the Dearborn County Plan Commission with sufficient proof that adeqate service was available from Valley Rural Utilities Company." The petition is also signed by Andy Temmel of Red Pine Properties, LLC.

[NOTE: This was the same meeting (see previous notes on the blog for Plan Commission's January 2006 meeting)where Chairman Mitter said he was strongly considering sending the letter from Floyd Ogden of VRUC to the prosecutor's office for possible fraud. There should be ample evidence in the PC file from OKI, Greendale's attorney and utility director, and the opponents that sewer service was not currently available,(and even now is not available), for that subdivision. It will be interesting to see what the court decides.]

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Where to register to Vote

Voter registration forms are available at the Clerk of Courts office- 537-1040 ext 1095 and also at the BMV license branches. BMV has Sat morning hours and is CLOSED on Mondays.

Voter Registration Deadline April 3rd

Voter Registration Deadline: April 3rd

Register to Vote today for the May 2nd Primary!

The Primary Election is May 2nd and the deadline to register to vote is quickly aproaching.

Have you moved?
Have any friends or family moved?
Know any 18 year old citizens needing to be registered?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

27 March 2006 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

27 March 2006 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

Present: Mark Mitter, Chairman, Patrick deMaynadier, Jane Ohlmansiek, Tarry Feiss, Nick Held, Mike Hall, Jeff Hughes, Robert Laws, and Dennis Kraus, Jr.
Absent: NONE
Also Present: Arnie McGill, Attorney, Todd Listerman, County Engineer, and Mark McCormack, Enforcement Officer.

Following the executive session the board voted publicly and unanimously to hire Mark McCormack as the new planning director.
[NOTE: McCormack brings many talents to the position as well as continuity to the projects already in the works and the master plan. His web page design is possibly the most user-friendly in the county. Hopefully he can hire a new enforcement officer soon and the staff will be running at normal speed again soon.]

After 4 hours of discussion Kent's 260-lot plan for a re-zone is tabled until May meeting.

[NOTE: I have attended Planning meetings since July 1995 and this was the most thorough presentation by a developer and the most coherent by the opposition that I have ever seen. Board members also noted this at the end of the meeting. I was truly impressed.]

Zone change from Ag to Residential for Sun Valley at SR 48 and 148 for Tom Kent with owners Jerry and Penny Perfect Rollins, Perry Foster and Tracy Boone, William and Glenda Craig, and Douglas and Jacqueline Powell on 184.87 (now 187+ acres) acres in Manchester Township primarily.

Chairman Mitter gave an overview of procedures to the crowd of approximately 80 people. Mike Hall and Tarry Perfect Feiss stepped down for this item due to potential conflict of interests.

Mark McCormack showed slides of the area and illustrated points in the staff report.

Tom Kent presented the development information. He said that we'd hear reasons why you should allow this and a lot of emotion about why you shouldn't. He quoted former Plan Director, Travis Miller- saying we should base our decisions on science and not on emotion. He had many offers of support after the newspaper article on the sub'n, but he thanked them and told them he didn't need it, as he planned to present this on its facts.
Sun Valley is 95% in Manchester Township with a maximum of 260 single-family detached homes in 3 separate products from several different builders. Price range is in the $150-225K range averaging $170-180K. There is curb and gutter with sidewalks and greenspace around the perimeter. He plans a playground/ballfield area and a community pool and clubhouse for what might be called a Cincinnati subdivision.
There are 2 state highways there and they are within 2400 ft. of the sewer line (at Horizon Way) extended from Lawrenceburg. [NOTE: There was no mention of the size of this forced main sewer line all evening and it may be that the line has to go all the way back to Scenic to get to a main large enough to service this size of development. There was also no letter brought out from the county sewer district. - DCRSD, which has claimed all areas of the county NOT CURRENTLY served by a sewer as of the end of 2005/early 2006. DCRSD has not formally joined the SDRSD yet. Sewer service is critical to this being passed. Brett Fehrman of DCRSD was in the audience but did not speak on this issue.]

Kent addressed the points to be considered in a zone change request and noted that there is still no actual land use map for the final product of the master plan. He stated that there was SOME consensus that 48/148 might be a target for Residential development. He stated- part of this land is already in an R zone and it abuts an R zone too.
He said the current uses and conditions in the comp plan show that a mix of R uses surrounds it and he pointed to his exhibit board these uses between Lexington and Collier Ridge. He noted that it is a desirable use, because the infrastructure is there to support it. He though property values would be conserved because this was compatible with the surrounding homes. Kent went through the comp plans 8 general development guidelines with respect to transportation, infrastructure, utilities, all letters showing these were available, and noted that SR148 and 48 was targeted by DCRSD as a problem area needing sewers. This way the county gets sewers at the developer's expense, he said. The tax maps showed some qtr. acre lots in the area, the topography was suitable with some design, and soil maps were provided in this area that is not in the flood plain.
Kent went into detail pointing out the existing lot sizes in the area. It was noted that in Horizon Way the lots are smaller, but owners bought multiple lots to decrease the density on their own.
There is a variance of about 150 ft being requested, as the entrance distance to SR 148 is 650 ft rather than the required 800 ft per code. Kent went thru the criteria required to get a variance also. He produced a letter from Mannings and Meyers stating they do not oppose the sub'n and will work with Kent to removed their driveways and attach to the sub'n road so as to make that area safer. Other R uses won't be affected by the variance. Kent gave a mini-history of the Roy Miller property and how the panhandle lots were set up originally. He theed that in eth 80's that was how we did things, but he can see that piecemeal development produced no checks and balances on the safety issues of the roadway the way a sub'n plan does. The problem was caused by previous development and not by Kent's design.
He felt he met all the criteria; he will help protect rural area by having higher density and consuming less land, and thought it was fiscally responsible. The question tonight he said - Is this the right area for R zone?
Todd Listerman- cty engineer gave his professional opinion and analysis of the functional boundary issues of SR148. He concluded that the driveway combo made the intersection safer and that the 650 ft distance for the subÂ’n entrance was beyond the turn lane taper in the functional boundaries of the intersection. Kent has no other way to access the property. [NOTE: Has Kaiser Road been considered for one of the entrances?]Mitter asked Kent if the lot sizes weren't a bit out of character in this area. They went over the density pictures. Kent insisted that the surrounding area is high density. [NOTE: The actual drive-by view doesnÂ’t depict that- it's more moderate to low density. If a farmer looked at the are- he would call it high density. If a sub'n dweller looked at it, theyÂ’d call it moderate. If an urban dweller looked at it, they'd call it low density. The concept of density is relative- unless you look at what the master plan committee defined as the 3-4 levels o R density. Then it might be more OBJECTIVE.]

Kent said he was not leap-frogging- this land butts up against R zones. We have 3 R zones in the master plan and only one in the codebook still.

At 8:50 PM Public Comment began with two spokespersons and some additionals:
Irwin Diehl – 6118 SR 48 noted that he speaks for himself but many agree with him Moved there in 9/04 to live in rural area and be free from urban congestion. Thinks no variance should be granted, as the highest density should be held to the highest standard of the codes. He noted the variance prior to design was unusual and concluded that this was HIGH density R being requested. The tax records don’t show the multiple lots purchased in Horizon Way so the homes are less dense. Ag and low density R surround this. He requests they FAIRLY BALANCE the rights of the landowners with the community needs. He noted that Kent had stated they aren’t exactly sure what they are doing with the final plans. He stated there was no transition from R high density to the surrounding uses. Numerous residents are dismayed- many have become active to voice opposition- this affects the whole county. He passed out 480-500 petition signatures opposing the plan.

Chet Wolgamatt (sp?)- 6264 SR 48 asked for the Manning and Meyer letters to be read out loud (Mitter did) and then presented a slide show of points. The slides described and refuted the following issues: Texas Gas line beneath the 2 entrances, traffic volume at least 1000 vpd per INDOT and traffic study, 800 ft is the only safe way to do the entrances per the unambiguous code, had concerns with highway engineer's objectivity as he was overheard at tech review meeting talking about negotiating and purchasing land from Kent in Carlee Acres Deed book 154 p 10-12 recorded March 2, 2006. He noted the letter on the intersection analysis was dated March13, 2006. [NOTE: This was thoroughly questioned and examined later in the meeting by the plan commission. See end of notes]Wolgamatt went on talk about driveways and safety issues, and that the burden of proof is on the developer to prove that it's not substantially adverse. Use of all adjacent land will be affected by what is next door. Granting variances every time to make a development passable negates the ordinance. "To deny this is the only fair, proper, logical, definable position." Slide showing a 650 psi gas pipe leak in an isolated are of New Mexico and the resulting disaster was included. Lengthy description of the depth of the Texas Gas pipe (that runs from Gulf of Mexico to Michigan) and the safety issues, dirt cover allowed and grade of the entrances was depicted. Mike Hall provided the professional survey of the pipe issues at Wolgamatt's expense. (thus he stepped down from the board for this). Heavy construction vehicles and loaded buses were a concern over this pipe.
In the FSG study and IN home averaging $225K or more pays its way in taxes. In this development 260 homes of less than that price will create a tax liability to be absorbed by the taxpayers of the county. Residential uses cost $1.18 per $1 tax paid and higher density R cost $1.45 per $1 tax paid. It's the "worst cost to benefit ratio of any cty land use."
Roy and Marie Miller had deed covenant restrictions on parts of the acreage in this development noting there shall be only one residence and it's auxiliary building on this lot. These are recorded covenants - please respect them.
This will drastically alter the economic value of a community. The applicant knows this as he visited each of the adjoiners and apologetically attempted to present this. This testifies to the negative impact this will have. A survey of 38 homes adjoining in the area show 2 homes on 1-2 acres, 5 on 2-5 acres, 14 on 5-10 acres, 4 on 10-20 acres, and 5 on > 20 acres. Average is upwards of 3 acres. “I will buy a steak for anyone who can find me a .25 acre lit here.”
We need more than one R zone in our codes- even the master plan said this. "There is nothing fair about destroying one community just to create another."Dearborn Cty has far more $100-200K homes than the rest of the state. This month there were 177 R properties on the market in the county in the $100-200 range. There is no present housing necessity for this type of home.
He ended with a detailed list summarizing his reasons for denial.

[NOTE: There was discussion by residents afterwards about commissioners overturning an unfavorable recommendation and granting this anyway. It should be noted that with the amount of evidence presented in this hearing, the county could be taken to court with a writ of certiorari should the commissioners fail to adequately verify all the steps for a zone change. ItÂ’s not a win if the developer ends up stalled in court.]

Brian Groh - concerned with increasing traffic on SR48, concerned with cty engineer weighing in on an issue where he has had negotiations with the contractor. Concerned with what's reasonable development and what is not. Didn't pay much attention to county gov't, but I am now.
Tim Connelly, Sue Dausch, and Cari Baylor had nothing further to add.
Carol Lane- Manchester Trustee- for 25 years we're mostly Ag- not a lot of businesses. Volunteer fire and EMS, small ball park and athletic facilities, not sure school can handle this either. Costs will increase.

Ralph Thompson -congratulated Mark McCormack on being named Director and complimented the board for hiring him. Noted as a member of master plan adv board the disparity in the zoning ordinances with only one R zone. Hoped the board would take into account that the residents themselves have chosen low density.

Marguerite Cowans- lives on 30 acres on Platt Rd for 16 years. Moved away from Cincinnati and drives an hour a day to work. Talked about beauty, peace and tranquility. Wished she could have raised all her kids here, not just the last one. Noted her reasons were more emotional, she likes not having to lock doors to take a walk, not enough jobs here to support these people, cheapest homes wonÂ’t necessarily bring in the kind of people you are hoping for. This is nothing but a money making project for him he could put less homes here.
Eric Watkins reject this as PROPOSED and not as DISCUSSED. Before I bought property here, I had a national chain of appraisers value the property. They noted that a high density sub'n WOULD IMPACT my value. Said he didn't get a letter of notification and he is an adjoiner. As an engineer himself he is flabbergasted at how this intersection could be safer with all this added to it.
Mike Livingston- Will the board refer this conflict of interest to the prosecutor (referring to Listerman)? Mitter said they would address that issue later in the evening.

At 10 PM Public discussion ended.

Tom Kent's rebuttal addressed first the timeline of ListermanÂ’s purchase of the land from him. He also noted that he was not hiding anything- they discussed it in public. Didn't want this hanging over his head so turn it over if you have to.
Kent elaborated on Texas Gas Line-there is also one in Rookwood estates off Tower road. He referenced the TEC Traffic Impact Study and Ed Williams comments as well as Listermans. He read the letter from South Dearborn schools, which detailed why they could take the students. He stated that the question is whether or not this is suitable for R- for high density R?

Todd Listerman -Cty Engineer- understands the people's concerns. Mitter noted that with an appearance of impropriety, we have to take that seriously. Listerman stated he was hired in mid Aug 2005. Commissioners wanted him to live in the county. He currently travels an hour each way and lives in Seymour. First duty was to check signage at Carlee Acres and saw the sub'n lots. He asked Kent if Lot 8 was sold- Kent said not yet. Listerman said to consider it sold. He then went to get financing and have his family check it out. His son will be swimming at IUPUI and has an academic scholarship there. He wanted good access to interstate to get to Indy to see him compete. They wanted a rural location. Ewbank Title handled the purchase. Purchase actually was completed in March. Patrick deMaynadier asked if he paid fair market value? Answer- YES. Mitter- Did he ask you to skew this? NO.

Chet Wolgamatt made sure they understood he questioned OBJECTIVITY not conflict of interest. Board said yes- but others asked about prosecutor so they wanted to clear it all up. Mitter noted we have to maintain the public trust- if the employee did nothing wrong , this should be covered too. People need to have confidence in our decisions.

The board discussed the pros and cons. Main issue was the variance and if and when it should be looked into. The other big sticking point was the density in relation to the area. An actual suggestion was made to get to the 3 acre average. (This would yield about 60+ homes.)Patrick de Maynadier complimented both sides on their diligence and that it made the boardÂ’s job easier. Said this was the best heÂ’d seen yet. Board members concurred.
Buffer was also an issue.

Kent went back and forth on whether he wanted to change the density. Finally he asked to have it tabled so he could look into that in detail. DeMaynadier motioned and Ohlmansiek 2nd to table till May 22 meeting. All ayes to table.

Board decided to schedule a working session at 7 PM on Monday April 17th to discuss the proposed changes to the zoning and subÂ’n ordinance due to the lateness of the hour.

Board decided to allow Mitter to negotiate with commissioners and council to coordinate the GIS dept set up.

McCormack noted that US 50 study with Strand is proceeding with business survey mailers going out. Adv Board is meeting May 8 or 10 to take a bus tour along the corridor. By May 2 the current conditions report will be available in draft form from ME (the consultant doing the land uses components on US 50)

Meeting adjourned at 11:55 PM
Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

21 March 2006 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

21 March 2006 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

Present: Benning, President, Hughes, and Fox
Also present: Pickens, Auditor, Ewbank, Attorney, and Messmore, Administrator.

[Note: All three commissioners dressed up tonight. The room was full for the Dutch Hollow Road item below. Mike Rozow, Chamber of Commerce, and Bill Ritzmann, UCB Bank and DCEDI, were present as was RALPH THOMPSON, Republican candidate for D-3 Commissioner.]

Benning introduced all the above people and told the audience that in order to speak at the meeting they had to request to be on the agenda a week in advance so the commissioners would know what they were going to say. Cliff Eibeck protested that a citizen can’t know if they want to speak, when the agenda isn’t posted till the day before the meeting. [NOTE: Both Hughes and Fox campaign’s in 2004 were in favor of town hall meetings and increased public input. What happened to those “promises?”]

Suzzi Romines- Prevent Child Abuse Coordinator – received Commissioners verbal support for a candlelight vigil Tues April 11th at Newtown Park around 5:30 PM to mark Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Bob Hrezo Engineering and Chris Harmeyer updated commissioners on the YES Home renovations. The YES Board is satisfied at this point. Commissioners will look over the plans and respond at their next meeting in April.

Eric Ratts of DLZ presented the completed plans and estimates for renovation the EMA Building and lot to house an additional 4 departments they wish to move from the ADM BLDG. (Health, Bldg Dept., Planning and Zoning, and Highway). Each Dept gets 1,000 sq ft of space, which is a 15-20% increase over their current space. EMS will also still be there. County gets 22,000 sq ft of space including 4,000 sq ft of mezzanine storage for $2.5-3.0 million. Parking will also be added. The exterior of the building shows upgrades to enhance and blend it with the other buildings on the gov’t campus. Commissioners took this under advisement.

Brad Carman Railroad Lane- no show

Todd Listerman- Transportation Dept. – Vogelsang Road residents Rebecca and Elsworth Harper wanted the road maintained to the old end as it used to be. They stated the county was getting maintenance dollars from the state and should honor that. Commissioners decided that they would maintain the official .69 miles of road with gravel to a turnaround that Harpers gave land for at the end. No additional ROW was granted. Gate will be removed. Gate was originally put up because of issues with people driving back there and doing “you know what” according to Elsworth Harper.

Greg Platt and about 15-20 Dutch Hollow neighbors PAC (Political Action Committee) – requested safety and road upgrades to Dutch Hollow a connector between SR56 and US 50 serving 200 homes on it and its side streets. [NOTE: PACs seems to be a popular method of opposing incumbents who fail to listen or serve their constituents. Dutch Hollow is in District 3, the current district up for commissioner election this year.] Listerman and/or Seiler will be out to check the curve and speed limit signs etc. within a couple weeks. Platt also wanted them to look at the humps, blind curves, and vigorously questioned the paving criteria, citing three dead end streets serving 1- 7 homes that were recently paved. Platt requested to be on the Apr 18th agenda and also wanted copies of the ’04 an ’05 transportation budgets.
[NOTE: It was not explained to Platt that Dutch Hollow will be a special project and will have to also get Council approval in order to have funds released for its upgrades if the commissioner’s decide to add it to their list, and if it gets prioritized using the 10 or so criteria that Highway uses to evaluate projects.]

Jim West Economic Development Director – presenting the 3 TIF districts for Commissioner approval thus confirming the actions of the Redevelopment Commission and the Planning Commission.
West gave an overview of the mission of the DCEDI- to create new “wealth” with new jobs and new investments. They approached the Redevelopment Commission to help solve the problem of having shovel ready sites for business and industry. He described the 3 TIF districts and noted that sewer issues exist in all three- from having little to having some capacity. They will need to expand sewer capacity in all three ultimately. He noted water pressure issues possibly also. In St. Leon he stated there were some willing and motivated sellers and some who do NOT want to sell at this time. The current zones and land uses were important in their choices and the motivated sellers “give us something to work with.”
West said TIFs were a way to capture tax revenue from new businesses in the area. They will use that tax revenue to generate a revenue bond (NOT a general bond) that is paid for by the income stream from taxes. It is sold to the public and that bond pays for infrastructure. Nothing in the TIF affects private property rights. TIF can’t affect property value or taxes. TIF is not a tax break or abatement.
The next step after commissioner approval is a tax impact statement and public hearing, then a redevelopment commission public hearing and resolution and a filing with local government finance board.
Kathy Scott read Alan Freemond’s letter opposing TIFs into the record. His opposition was based on the interest payments for the bonds having to be guaranteed by the taxpayers, the insurance on the bonds is paid for by the taxpayers, and the developers may buy the bonds and thus pay the interest (taxes that are diverted to the TIF) to themselves. They have far less risk to assume that way. He was in favor of the developers PERSONALLY guaranteeing the bonds, thus relieving the taxpayers of any liability. In closing he noted that the bond issues are lucrative deals for the lawyers, bankers, and accountants who set them up.
Helen Kremer presented opposing arguments as well, citing the historical position St. Leon natives have for keeping their community rural. She raised the question of eminent domain and stated: “People have the right to sell their property. I hope you also feel that they have the right to NOT sell their property.” She noted that the increased tax base will NOT go to paying for schools and emergency services for the community. She said this has lots of implications for the taxpayers. She noted the schools themselves are very close to these TIFs. Large areas are assigned, but we do NOT know what is coming into them. There aren’t always good quality jobs coming in.
Fox asked West- What are you going to target? West said- no one is on the hook. They are looking for light manufacturing, logistical operations, and retail to support them. West noted zoning was a limiting factor – they would have to seek rezones in some cases.
Pickens asked if light industry comes in are they eligible for abatements? West said yes, but it would defeat the purpose, as they need the tax base to pay off the bonds and build the infrastructure.
Hughes abstained from the Aurora TIF as his family has property there.
All three resolutions passed.

[NOTE: We should be concerned with TIF owners who are not ready to or not
willing to sell. It seems that being in a hurry to get these through,the Redevelopment Commission may have set up a problem further down the road.It's hard to say what future politicians and commission members may do to the lands captured in this. That specter of eminent domain looms rather large for those people. Many people feel inept at even discussing the TIF- they don't begin to understand the tax games and the law allowing them. Even relatively smart people are struggling with it. I'm virtually certain the people voting were doing it on faith rather than on knowledge. The lack of a plan- with types of businesses or wage scale limits etc is another worry. Most people look at the prime real estate in the cities that has been used along US 50 and see low wages and retail mostly. It would be a in to waste these TIFs because we "can't be choosy" as no one is breaking down our doors to get in. It may take longer- but being choosy and showing a plan just might entice the right mix. Dare we hope to have supportive complementary agricultural industry? On another note- if Pernod Ricard leaves- could that plant be converted to fuel production- as in ethanol?]

Bob Ewbank reported that the executive session earlier was unresolved until Messmore investigates the claim of the employee and dept. to report at the next meeting.

Roger Woodfill and David Caldwell presented Rump Lane off US 50. Plans will be reviewed and a decision asked for at the next meeting. There seems to be some issue with Planning and the Highway Dept. on the roadway acceptance for the Sheldon Property there.

Claim and minutes were approved.

Messmore allowed Charlie Ashley to present Randy Abner as rep to the 911 Board as the Fire Dept. rep. Approved.

Ewbank presented the ordinance on Parking on County Road ROWs. Passed with amendment to 3 ft off the road per Fox’s request.

Building Codes were approved and signed to go to Homeland security and then after approved be published for 2 weeks before being effective.

Dorothy White vs. Dearborn County lawsuit settled with changes being recommended to update the sign ordinance to reflect the recent Supreme Court case law and also to pay $8,000 in att’y fees for White. There are no monetary damages being paid to White herself.
Commissioners approved.

Benning did the usual report on meetings she was attending, including Wage hearings at South Dearborn and an Emergency Mgmt meeting. The Energy savings report for the old courthouse renovations came in time for SBOA audit. The OKI agreement was signed reflecting new by laws, and her trip to Washington DC was successful and she met with Sodrel who assured her he would do his best for Dearborn County.

Meeting adjourned 9 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Monday, March 20, 2006


An Offer I Have To Refuse

As a county activist it is important to have no conflict of interests. It is important that people can trust what I say and write. I do not want to do anything that could compromise my integrity. My husband and I ARE NOT ACCEPTING the free “gift from Lawrenceburg Council” for reasons outlined below.

When Lawrenceburg extended sewer service to Perfect North Slopes, the council via the utility company made an offer to county residents of Pribble Road that seems to be almost too good a deal to be true. They offered us each free tap in, a free E-one 2010 grinder pump, and the excavation and pipe between them (value approximately $6,000 per the contractor.) I was asked to “not noise this around” as it was not offered to other neighborhoods. I cannot, in good conscience, honor that request.

Something just doesn’t feel right about Lawrenceburg City Council’s “gift.”

We are not residents of the city of Lawrenceburg. Neither is Perfect North Slopes. This line runs past two long-time family farms and a wildlife habitat area – all agricultural uses.

I researched the 2005 and 2006 Lawrenceburg utility and council minutes. Then I asked Mayor Cunningham and Mel Davis, the utility director, for the contract between the city and Perfect North Slopes for the new 6-inch forced main sewer line and also the final scope of work and contract.

Mayor Cunningham and Mel Davis then told me that there is no contract with Perfect North Slopes. The sewer line down Pribble Road is being financed entirely by Lawrenceburg.

Lykins is the low bidder at $259,365. Lawrenceburg has not sent the requested final scope of work, but when I called the clerk treasurer I was informed that the bid price includes the free “installations” for the 11 county residents along the line. Like Mel Davis and Mayor Cunningham, she said: “the city thought PNS’s monthly fees for sewage collection and treatment made it worthwhile to install the line at the city’s expense.”

PNS’s “large scale usage” will be primarily from November through March. What happens to the line in the off months concerns the neighbors, because experts tell me a line that big with little flow can “go septic.”

We have been given nothing in writing from Lawrenceburg to indicate what they are providing and what they expect from us in return. When questioned about annexation, Mel Davis and Mayor Cunningham told me they have no plans to annex and we are NOT required to sign any statements stating we won’t oppose it, if it would be proposed. Yet the mayor says they plan to annex out to the Y at SR148 and they want to annex Tower Road.

We have had no say in the type of line that was run for a private business.We were originally told earlier in 2005by Mel Davis that PNS was paying for this sewer line and so it seemed obvious that the type of line would have to be PNS’s choice as it was their money being spent on the line. Apparently that was not true (or is no longer true.)

In the fall of 2005 when I asked if we could access the line via gravity feed, as many of our homes are designed for that, Davis told me that the line was already designed and IDEM had approved that design, and they couldn’t change it now. They would talk about a lift maybe in our area afterward. Now they say that is not possible as it would cost $100,000. How ironic! We live on what is nearly the highest point of land in Dearborn County and can’t have a lower maintenance gravity fed sewer system!

One of the criteria used to assess property values for real estate taxes is the availability of sewers. Most farms do not need sewers, nor do they want their real estate taxes to increase on land that is farmed and not developed. Farmers generally don’t want to be annexed to cities. Their land uses are incompatible with city development.

Grinder pumps in rural areas are a liability. A power outage basically stops water usage in the home. Long pressure lines to the street along with pumps that fail in under ten years all add up to more things to maintain and increased costs. Setting aside an additional $30 a month to replace the pump in ten years adds $360 to a household’s annual budget. That doesn’t include the monthly sewer fee itself. Then, of course there’s that nasty little problem of check valves that ultimately fail and sewage that ends up in the basement.

In my experience in rural areas, septic tanks are reliable. They have the advantage that when they aren’t maintained or something goes wrong, their failures are generally outside the home and not inside the basement. That is far safer and healthier than sewage in the house. And in rural areas they can generally be fixed, because there is enough available land.

It doesn’t seem fair to accept a deal that others in the county have not been offered. In light of the disparity in costs throughout the county it doesn’t seem right that we get a $6,000 “gift” while northern Dearborn County residents in the St. Leon sewer district are paying tap in fees as high as $4,000 in addition to their excavation and pump costs.

Something doesn’t smell right. And it isn’t the sewage.

A closer look at Lawrenceburg Council “gifts” and “loans” in 2005 indicates a lack of criteria. Public entities have to pay back “loans” Emergency Management radio systems and equipment that is clearly for public use. On the other hand, private businesses and property owners have been given grants and “gifts.” Why do public entities have to PAY BACK loans, while private businesses and property owners RECEIVE “gifts?”

WHO gets what and WHY they get it are not clearly defined. It is a system ripe for abuse and potential corruption.

On the state level we need to take a serious look at the laws that are driving this sewage overgrowth, because these laws were made to help sewer providers and developers, but they are increasingly harmful to farmers and especially elderly landowners on fixed incomes. Communications with our state representatives about St. Leon’s troubles produced replies that included this statement:

“The current short session is just about half over and the deadline for drafting new legislation has already passed. I understand that most of the parties involved have attorneys and are already in legal proceedings at this time. Depending on what transpires with that situation will determine what can be done the next legislative session. Even though your idea sounds reasonable, I am sure there will be many lobbying groups in opposition. Rest assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind and should you have any further concerns please don't hesitate to contact me.”

No one wants to invest in repairs if they will be later forced to a sewer line. I wonder what lobbying groups would be opposed to an amendment to the current law exempting farmers and large lot rural landowners from being forced onto a sewer line IF their system is functioning or repairable?

Even the county regional sewer district (DCRSD) is looking at sewers from a development point of view rather than from the health and environmental view. Why stall the original “reason” for a sewer district (HighRidge Estates) where homes are tied to a long-time failed package plant? The environment is being degraded and health hazards are obvious.
Why try to attach to Aurora’s system when IDEM states they are in violation for repeated overflows? Instead DCRSD asks for variances to increase the load on a system in violation.
Why have the concerns for health and safety taken a back seat to just putting lines in to accommodate development without a thought of the environmental impacts?
What will happen as sewer districts install initially cheap pressure lines and repairs are needed in a few years? If the pace proceeds at the current rate, the tap in fees and the monthly rates for all sewer users will have to increase to accommodate maintenance and replacement.

Why are we leap-frogging development over rural acreages and forcing the rural landowners and farmers to tap in and help pay for the development beyond them? This is not following the county master plan to develop from existing infrastructure outward.

Developers need sewers. Farmers and rural landowners should not be forced to pay for them.

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Sunday, March 19, 2006

TIF Districts on 21 March 2006 Commissioner's Agenda

The TIF districts are on the March 21st Commissioner's meeting agenda. The meeting starts at 6 PM and is on the top floor in the Administration Building on Mary Street in Lawrenceburg.

Friday, March 17, 2006

16 March 2006 Dearborn County Sewer Board Meeting Notes

16 March 2006 Dearborn County Sewer Board Meeting Notes

Present: Brett Fehrman, Acting Chairman, Dave Enzweiler, Barry Pruss, Rodney Dennerline, and Pat Holland.
Also present: Lehner, Att’y, Baer, Health Dept., Messmore, County Adm., and Quinn, Engineer
Jim West- DCEDI Director was in the audience

Mark Stenger representing Ralph Meierjohn of Ameritech Homes and the Gabbard Property on US 50 asked the board to appoint a special committee to report back in 4 weeks regarding their proposal to install a 5 mile long sewer trunk line from the west side of the Aurora TIF district to Dillsboro. Ameritech would guarantee for 5 years the payment of the interest on the bonds for the line. He estimated the cost to be $2.5 million with a favorable 2% interest rat- yielding $50,000 in interest per year to be paid. Ameritech was prepared to offer a corporate guarantee of that payment figuring the increased tap in fees would be able to retire the debt.
He stated this would 1. help HighRidge Estates, 2. promote economic development in the TIF, and 3 alleviate the I and I in Dillsboro. [NOTE: Not to mention help Ameritech whose primary approval on the Gabbard property expires this year.]
Fehrman thought they could take the line to Aurora too.
Holland, Fehrman, and Enzweiler offered to serve on the committee. They will meet on the 27th. Baer noted that Woolpert had talked to Dillsboro already and they might want to talk to Woolpert first. Messmore agreed.

Bob Hrezo and Randy Turner were to be present for sewage disposal alternatives for Gabbard and SR148 respectively, but did not show.

[NOTE: It seems a lot of special requests come in- and DCRSD has no means to accomplish these yet. They need a PLAN and a PRIORITIZED way to approach development requests. Until Woolpert is finished it is pretty much wasted time to hear these.]

Old Business:
Tom Quinn – permits for Stewart St. and Cole Lane- the board will meet with the residents 7 PM Wed Apr 5 at the Aurora Firehouse to give them some details, though they don’t know the actual rates yet. Seems that Aurora charges a differential outside the city limits of 2.7 times the water rate for sewer. DCRSD will probably charge a $500 tap fee. [NOTE: They seem to be going into a meeting with 43 residents and no firm numbers!]Holland thought they should have some Aurora reps there. Dennerline thought they weren’t needed- we’re just going to give surface info. No easements will be needed because DCRSD will not be maintaining the pumps once installed. [NOTE: What’s with keeping these people in the dark about their rates? If Aurora is there, they will be able to answer that question.]

Brett Fehrman- service update with Aurora. Fehrman wants to go for ANOTHER variance for HighRidge Estates- about 50 homes (High Ridge plus the people between them and the line extension. Lehner said if we ask for 120 they will turn it down- so they are leaving the trailer court out of the request. Using a factor of 300 gal per day per home Quinn estimated they need about 50,000 gal. They have a 4 in line, which Dennerline says can handle a lot of sewage. Board VOTED TO petition IDEM for a variance for capacity for HighRidge plus the extra homes at about 50 total.
[NOTE: Is anyone concerned that they are adding to a violation for Aurora? Sewers are to help ELIMINATE health issues- not create more. HELP THEM FIX THE PROBLEM!]

Lehner- stated she is working on rules and regulations to set tap fees. Enzweiler said Woolpert should be getting that info. Lehner can’t do the numbers- she is crafting the framework for them. They already have a user agreement drawn up.

Brett Fehrman- update on SDRSD membership- Hankins and Fehrman met with SDRSD. Lehner talked to Feichtner. SDRSD will vote on this prior to their regular meeting. There were numbers in the $2.5-5 mil range. DCRSD Board voted to pursue the membership, but did not vote to obligate the money yet.

Legislative update from Lehner and Messmore- communications from the governor’s office regarding the RD (rural development) grant seems to be hung up somewhere and no one knows where it is. GRW helped write this a long time ago. Baer emailed and there were issues with exceeding the income requirements. After the income survey- they decided DCRSD could reapply. “At least we haven’t gotten a denial.” Lehner was encouraged that the Governor’s office called us. [NOTE: DCRSD is in denial- they need to pursue other avenues- this one obviously has the potential to fall through.]

Messmore- Woolpert update- All visits done except Moore’s Hill. Holland and Dennerline gave them some contact numbers- apparently Moore’s Hill is part time – so hard to coordinate meeting.

New Business:
Baer listed claims- Woolpert, Hankins for extra meetings, Quinn, Lehner, and VRUC (Lehner fees) All were approved to be paid.

Tax papers to be signed as required by SBOA showing salaries and per diems and employees. Also had to do state sales tax form even though they had none. Pruss was authorized to sign these.

Holland asked if DCRSD could by-pass Aurora. Quinn had talked to Turner in Aurora to go to Indy to talk t Tierney of GRW. Tierney told them capacity issues had to be discussed with Lehner, so it wasn’t worth coming to Indy. Therefore they did not meet.

Jim West- DCEDI – expressed concern for the TIF district and business requests he’s taking to Aurora. He’s told there is capacity and after listening tonight, he’s not sure that’s the case. [NOTE: Because it seems that different requests get different answers, I asked the board if they thought that maybe Aurora was not cooperating because they were waiting to see how DCRSD membership goes? They didn’t think that was an issue.]

Meeting adjourned 8:10 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Information about a planned development for SR48 and SR148 area to be heard at the March 27th Plan Commission meeting can be found at the following website:

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

14 March 2006 Dearborn County BZA Meeting Notes

14 March 2006 Dearborn County BZA Meeting Notes

Present: Jim Deaton, Chairman, Jane Ohlmansiek, Patty, Baker, Mike Hall, and Jake Hoog.
Also Present: Arnie McGill, Att’y and Mark McCormack, Enforcement Officer

Officers elected- Deaton, Chairman, Jake Hoog, Vice Chairman, and Jane Ohlmansiek, Secretary
Arnie McGill was reappointed Attorney.

1. Front yard variance for the location of a pole barn on Boyd Road for John Makstaller on 8.595 acres in Ag zone in Sparta Township. Variance request was for 53.5 ft setback. One neighbor was opposed due to view obstruction from his considerable investment in his home. Makstellar is building barn before the home. Property has steep slopes and a pond. Only site available without some excavation. Ohlmansiek motioned and Baker 2nd to allow the variance per site plan. All ayes. Passed.


2. Conditional use for the location of a telecommunications tower by Steve Carr (Cincinnati Bell Wireless) for owner Dan Helcher on Losekamp Road on 14 acres in Ag zone in Harrison Township.

HC Nutting Company is the county’s agent on cell tower reviews in the county. They have currently reviewed 12 applications in Dearborn County and all have been able to be co-located on existing towers. This application is unable to be co-located due to a gap in service along Jamison Road- an area that connects between two of their existing towers. (CBW is also co-located on a tower in Bright)
This tower will be 190 ft tall, lower than the originally proposed 220 ft height. This also eliminates the need for FAA required lighting. Fence and landscaping will be included. Carr went through the conditional use requirements and answered each from CBW’s perspective, He did note that there is no way to hide a 190 ft tower.

Lisa Lehner- att’y representing Karen and Dave Cody adjoining property owners in Morgan Meadows Subd’n – introduced herself, Greg Dale a certified planner, and Nelson Elliott, a certified real estate appraiser. She requested they DENY the application for reasons that were submitted earlier in writing as well as tonight in person.
Lehner presented several technical points that were wrong with the application. Among them were: no evidence that HC Nutting had Planning certification for non- tech issues or authorization to review tech issues, Federal law requirements of more than just tech review, Federal law requiring that CBW show a SIGNIFICANT gap in the area for all wireless providers, requirements to fill the gap in the least intrusive manner.
She went on to mention local laws regarding Articles 15 and 3 protecting Ag uses and Residential uses of the lands in the county. She discussed the lack of property interest that CBW had, as well as the visual impacts and decreased property values as a result of the tower.
Karen Cody presented a slide show of pictures of their home and the neighboring properties with photo-shopped cell tower placement to show the NEGATIVE visual impact.
Other neighbors speaking to that issue, country settings, and the property values were: Jim Ferris, Julie Neyer, Don Mulaley, Cara Tsulef, Jeff Brand, Mike Annis, ? Cottrell, Ken Kirsch, and Mike Uhde.
Lehner went on to introduce more problems with technicalities with the application process including: CBW failure to complete application prior to agenda deadline, original applications in 2004-5 so had plenty of time, property owners not signing application, proposed lease memo is unsigned by CBW (no proof of valid lease), several court cases upholding denials based on the above issues, and went back to the code in Article 15. Aesthetic harmony is a primary goal for the BZA to consider, federal law accepts gaps in coverage, no proof of the gap in paperwork. Lehner stated that Jamison Road is sparsely populated and is NOT a major artery. [NOTE: Actually Jamison is a major feeder to the Bright area.]

Nelson Elliott- certified appraiser- said the attorney takes the law and looks for facts to fill in. An appraiser looks for facts first to form an opinion. His opinion noted the following: The tower is in an area with kids- it’s right next to a subdivision. (climbing safety issues). The tower is SW of Cody’s and wind comes from that direction. (500 ft away) – Frost, ice, and wind issues potentially. The tower casts a shadow on their home.
From a comfort and welfare standpoint, you couldn’t build a 15 story building here, but this tower is as high. Ag and R are the two lowest priority zones for this tower in the code. Section 15 says you have to protect against POTENTIAL effects.
Regarding property value, Elliott noted that he ca not tell exactly what percentage their property will be devalued, though East and West coast studies in densely populated areas have shown property value loss with cell towers by homes. According to topo maps he sees 3 more locations that might work. This one was “easier.” If Jamison is the only problem, there are alternate routes and alternate methods to get cell coverage. He saw $$signs and the seller was willing, so it was cheaper to construct there.
[NOTE: There did not appear to be an actual letter signed by teh appraiser attesting to the devaulation of this property.]

Greg Dale Commercial Planner and certified by AICP – [NOTE: Greg Dale also presents seminars where previous Planning Commission members trained, has written for the Planning Commissioner’s Journal, and previously appeared in Dearborn County representing Perfect North Slope in their Zone change request to B-2 in 1997.] He discussed the land use and zoning issues. He noted the visual analysis was NOT done by CBW, but by the neighbors. They called the surrounding land uses- undeveloped wooded land- it was not just that. The Applicant has a burden to do this analysis – per code.

Lehner returned to add that Cody’s had another cell tower assessment done by an outside company. She just received that report today and so it was being submitted tonight to the board. [NOTE: The board couldn’t possibly review that in detail]
The key report points were:
1. has to prove this is Best site
2. has to prove other sites not done
3. questioned why CBW is trying to serve unpopulated Jamison Road
4. proposed site doesn’t serve the community at hand
5. proposed alternate sites (2) that will serve Bright and are in areas where towers are encouraged to be giving hand-off to Grubbs Rd and other cells in area
6. thought 150 ft would work as well as 190 ft.
Lehner said the Codys feel passionately about this and paid a lot of money to get professional reports needed. They essentially fulfilled the applicant’s responsibility. They request DENIAL.

PUBLIC speakers added a few more points:
Ken Kirsch- questioned the radiation- fed gov’t may say it’s safe, but so was asbestos…
Don Mulaley- Pictures don’t do justice to just how big it looks outside.
Mike Uhde- noted he also has gaps in Verizon coverage in this area. [NOTE: This did not help their case!] Also did a 90 sec skit of home buyers looking through ads with oil rigs or towers next door. People can make money- just not at other’s expense. Plus they will make money leasing tower to others also.
Karen Cochran- only adult on earth without a cell phone- the purpose of this tower is so people can talk WHILE DRIVING on Jamison Rd????

Rebuttal: Cinti Bell Wireless- Steve Carr-
1. Wish we didn’t have to allow others on our tower- helps our competition- but your law requires it!
2. Will remove towers when no longer used and return land to original status.
3. Independent consultant report suggested tower in Bright- we already have that- co-located
4. This is the wave of the future- people are abandoning their land lines.
5. Tower produces no odor, traffic, or noise. It has no light.
6. Their studies show no real effect on homes sales. [NOTE: That’s NOT believable]
7. Bright has a big tower and all development around it- also new development planned near it. [NOTE: That is different- the buyers KNOW what they are getting into.]
8. NO tree foliage in these pictures- ¾ of year they will shield the tower.
9. Ice forms but we meet requirements
10. Power lines on these streets in these pictures are also viewed from these homes.
11. We DID a visual impact assessment for Nutting and in Phase 1 report we state these homes are here.
12. Can NOT do it with 150 ft tower. (Rene Webb CBW engineer stated that- she also described the MgHz differences between CBW – a PCS carrier at 1900 MgHz and Verizon or Sprint a cellular 850 MgHz carrier. CBW signals do not travel as far so towers have to be closer together.
13. A 350 home development is PLANNED in direct view of the Bright tower.
14. Rene Webb noted they’d need 3 towers instead of 1 to connect Harrison to their island in Bright if other route was used.
15. Photos were submitted with this application through Nutting and Carr

Lehner objected to cutting off public discussion- when she spoke again she reiterated most of her previous arguments.

Board review:
Deaton noted the relevant codes and stated- WE ARE NOT A COURT OF LAW - WE HAVE TO FOLLOW THIS CODE.
Hoog noted the cell tower seemed inappropriate in that area
Baker cited the “will not impede the normal and orderly development and improvement section.
Hall said the only thing in question was their manner of choosing “friendly” sites- did it eliminate other good sites.
Ohlmansiek – the impact is felt further away from it along that ridge.
(Most were stuck on section 315 b)
Baker motioned to deny the conditional use based on Article 3 Section 315 B and Section 1514 number 5 (i.e. it was not in harmony with the character of the area and no other hilltops were investigated)
Ohlmansiek 2nd. 3 ayes- 1 Nay (Hall) Chair did not vote.

Mark McCormack announced the 6:30 executive session for March 27th with both boards to discuss the hiring committee report and a litigation issue on the sign ordinance.
The regular PC meeting is moved from 7 to 7:30 that night.

Meeting adjourned 11:15 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

March Plan Commission Meeting Time Change

The March 27th Plan Commission meeting will start at 7:30 PM due to an executive session meeting preceding it.
The agenda for the 7:30 meeting includes one item- a zone change for properties near the SR48 and SR148 intersection. Agenda is available online on the county website.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Eminent Domain Issues and Redevelopment Commissions

News With Views Alert web site
I have been asked to post this particular column for the citizens currently looking into the TIF districts and Redevelopment Commission powers. To access it copy the web address into your browser.

The Specter of Condemnation Hangs Over All Property
by Tom DeWeese

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


How to obtain absentee ballots

If you have reason to believe you will be unable to be at the polls for the primary election in May you may vote by absentee ballot. YOU WILL HAVE TO SELECT A REPUBLICAN BALLOT ON THIS FORM IF YOU WISH TO SELECT THE OFFICES LISTED BELOW. Be sure to request your ballot early, so as to be able to get it back in time for the election. You can mail the ballot back or return it in person. Official absentee ballot request forms can be printed from this site:

Mail the completed form in to Dearborn County Clerk of Courts 215 West High St., Lawrenceburg, In 47025-1909
Phone 537-8867

You may send the request form in any time now, but they won’t begin processing them until April 3rd.

In the May primary the local elections only have opponents on the REPUBLICAN ballot. You must select a Republican ballot in the primary if you wish to choose these officials:

Commissioner District 3 (voted on by entire county)- Ralph Thompson vs. Vera Benning

Sheriff- Linda Estes vs. David Lusby

Miller Township side of HVL and the Bright area for district Council seat -Elizabeth Morris vs. Craig Lysne

There are no local choices on the Democrat ballot in the primary.

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

7 March 2006 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

7 March 2006 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

Present: Hughes, Acting President, and Fox
Also present: Pickens, Auditor, and Ewbank, Attorney
Absent: Benning and Messmore, Administrator

New Business: (not itemized on agenda)
Mike Kraemer of Pinnacle Advisory Group
passed out more information on the health plan and the means to calm down the small claims costs and the new version of the disease management program, which could be incorporated into the plan as a turn-key module. They would be working behind the scenes to make sure patients are “doctoring correctly” and taking their medications appropriately. He will provide a copy to Benning also.

Fox read a statement from Bill Black that declared March 5-11 as Severe Weather Awareness week with Tornado exercises to go on March 8.

Claims and minutes:
Minutes were approved and then the approval was amended when a citizen (Kathy Scott) asked if the amount borrowed for the hospital expansion was $30,000 as it stated in the minutes. It was actually $30,000,000.

Claims were all approved except for two checks that Hughes wanted withheld- # 25317 for Mike Alpert Leasing (vehicles) and # 25390 for H&B Systems LLC. He wanted to know what they were for. Pickens didn’t have that detailed info, and said that this was “bogus” and that they should have asked about this prior to the meeting so he could get the answers. In the future he will get them the printout before they print checks. This will also make payments later. [NOTE: The other option is to bring up the individual claims in a box to the meeting for details then. Filing can be done AFTER claims are approved. Commissioners should be looking at the claims prior to approving- and they also should be reading the minutes prior to approving. The object is to pay them accurately and on-time.]

Bob Ewbank stated he had placed the updated Building Code in two locations for public viewing and comment- no comments were received. They will now be submitted to the State Building Commissioner and published for 2 weeks before they become effective. He stated the State Building Commissioner’s Office is in the Dept. of Homeland Security Building.

Ewbank also drew up a resolution for the resurrected Economic Development Commission (NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE REDEVELOPMENT COMMISSION- they are different bodies). The members are Jackie Stutz (L-bg Clerk-Treasurer) appointed by Lawb’g Council, Mark Neff (Chamber of Commerce liaison for governmental affairs) appointed by County Council, and Al Schumway appointed by Commissioners. IC 36-7-12 is the state law governing this board.

They will meet with the county administrator to give publication of their meeting times and dates. Council will then approve the proposed bond issue for the hospital March 30 or 31st probably. First the Economic Development Commission will meet, then Council, and then the attorneys and bankers will meet for underwriting to see if the hospital can borrow that money. Finally, the commissioners have to sign the bonds. Ewbank stated that this bond issue has NO EFFECT ON TAXES and NO EFFECT ON THE DEBT LIMITATIONS OF THE COUNTY. [NOTE: This is all for the approximately $30 million hospital expansion.]
Meeting adjourned 6:30 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

2 March 2006 Dearborn County Regional Sewer Board Meeting Notes

2 March 2006 Dearborn County Regional Sewer Board Meeting Notes

Present: Chairman- Hankins, Dennerline, Enzweiler, Pruss, Holland, and Fehrman.
ABSENT: John Maxwell
Also Present: Doug Baer, Lisa Lehner,Attorney, Tom Quinn, Engineer, and Bryan Messmore, County Admin.. Note: Jim West of DCEDI was in the audience.

Note: Arrived late and missed the call to order, meeting minutes and Treasurer's Report. Agenda indicated no change in the treasurer's report since the last meeting.


Tom Kent petitioned the Board for Certification for sewer transport along SR 1. He has a certification from Lawrenceburg for capacity and transport; but, needs one from DCRSD to go before the Plan Commission for Primary Approval. He will install an approximately 2400 foot extension from the existing line to the subdivision and approximately 12,000 feet of sewer in the subdivision (Sun Valley Acres). Tech review begins Monday and he need the letter ASAP for the public hearing on March 27, 2006. Passed. LL to draft.

The St Rt 1 Project has been temporarily postponed. Greendale has been contacted for service and can serve it. A letter of Certification will be needed later

Reported for Stewart St and Cole Lane

Quinn reported that Stewart St and Cole Lane permit was approved and sent in for typing and should be available in 1 to 2 weeks.

Quinn was approached by a developer with approximately 300 acres bisected by I 74 and abutting US 52. He plans Commercial and Housing development and wants to build a treatment plant and operate or turn over to DCRSD, which will discharge into the Whitewater River. Apparently the developer has options on 450 acres. He couldn't get agreement for St. Leon to handle. DCRSD wants to potentially use this as part of their load for their part of the St. Leon expansion and will approach St. Leon under the DCRSD as opposed to a new plant.

Meeting with Aurora Officials

Met with the Mayor, but the meeting was unsatisfactory. No present extension of the deadline for Aurora appears in the offing. GRW appears to be designing the Cochran St. substation in a way that will prevent use by DCRSD. Quinn wants to meet with GRW to discuss the design or a bypass. Dennerline and Baer to join Quinn. If there is a bypass Cochran St. is of no consequence to DCRSD.

Meeting with VRUC Officials

Not sure how to help resolve.

St. Leon TIF District and Sewer Update

The TIF District at St. Leon ( as well as two others) was approved by the Plan Commission. The Districts have to go before the Commissioners on March 7, 2006. Wolpert is starting to work on the study.

Letter to the Legislature

The letter is for earmarks and it has gone to the Stag(?) Grant Process.

New Business

There will be an update meeting on a weekly basis with Woolpert on the study progress. They want to prioritize and move St. Leon up in the priority because of the TIF District. The meetings will be Wednesday at 4:00 PM by conference call.

Cruse(?) of Sunman was at the meeting seeking information (and seed money) for a regional sewer district Sunman is starting. DCRSD will share information; but, has no money to share.

Meeting adjourned at approx. 7:45 PM

Ralph Thompson
Washington Township

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Ralph Thompson for Commissioner

Thompson for Commissioner

To my friends and fellow Citizens of Dearborn County:

Dearborn County needed a choice. I feel that the current representation from District 3 for the County is woefully lacking in fairness to all the Citizens of the County and is not in the best interest of the County. Therefore, I am running for District 3 Commissioner in the Republican primary.

I am not a politician! I am an Engineer. All my business interests are outside Dearborn County, so I have no business conflicts within the County. I am used to operating in a professional and ethical manner and think our County should also be run that way. I own a small horse farm in Washington Township in Dearborn County.

I love what we have in Dearborn County and don't want to see it turned into another Hamilton County. The rural atmosphere and variety of living styles are our treasure.

I think the County needs an unbiased representative for all the Citizens. We need someone who will take a reasoned approach to development, sewer expansion, infrastructure issues and all the new "taxes" in the form of fees for this, that, and the other. We need someone who will listen to the Citizens and be open with the Citizens. I am an advocate of Smart Growth and sustainable development. I advocate pacing development to fit the infrastructure and capacity of the County to absorb it and placing that development in areas that are appropriate. I have faithfully served on the land use Planning Advisory Committee with Planning Commission. I also have knowledge from an engineering standpoint of the issues involved. I will continue to contribute a positive input for the County as a whole.

US 50 is still a problem and all the various governmental groups just cannot seem to get together. The officials can't seem to coordinate their efforts to get a workable solution to benefit the cities and the County. We need an advocate for cooperation and real progress.

Government should be open and above board. Are you tired of not being permitted to express an opinion in a public meeting? Are you tired of a government that acts without public knowledge or representation?Are you tired of a ‘secret’ ruling body?
Your opinion and input should and do matter. Sewers should not be forced upon Citizens without their input and without representation. Government without consent violates the Principles of our Founding Fathers. We do not need a small ‘elite’ group deciding what is best for the County.

If you feel as I do, that the County needs new leadership, I ask for your support in this endeavor. I need workers, contributions, and Citizens who just want a change and are willing to vote in the Republican primary in May to bring about that change. There are no easy answers and there many things that need to be fixed, but we have to start somewhere.

We live in a great County. Let’s work to make it better. Now is the time to act to bring some reason back to our government. You don’t have to settle for the status quo. Take action for change.

Contributions can be sent to the "Thompson for Commissioner Committee" at P.O. Box 3572, Lawrenceburg, IN 47025.

Every elected official is the employee of all of the Citizens of the County. Any official who is not serving the entire County to best benefit of the whole County has forgotten who is their employer and is using the office poorly and cheating the Citizens.

If you have questions, please send them to my e-mail address. Please e-mail this to your friends.

Ralph E. Thompson, Jr., PE

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ~ Edmund Burke
Even the longest journey begins with a single step. ~ Chinese Proverb

Septic Tanks, Pestilence, Morbidity and Mortality of Biblical proportions?Armageddon at St. Leon?

Septic Tanks, Pestilence,
Morbidity and Mortality of Biblical proportions?
Armageddon at St. Leon?

Submitted by Dr. Alan S. Freemond, Sr.

There is a strong movement by a few powerful movers and shakers of St. Leon to extend the St. Leon Sewer system to no announced limit.

The arguments for this extension are always cloaked in the old bromide of doing well for the people. Therefore we get the same old tired arguments that time has shown to be unimportant and/or in error. One such argument is that 85 % of the septic systems in the State of Indiana are failed or failing. Another argument is that the soils of Indiana are incapable of handling septic systems. YET WE’RE ALL STILL ALIVE AND WELL.

This doing good for the people, a standby for politicians to get what they want, reminds one of the old song sung by that Harvard math Professor Tom Lehrer who wrote a song that could have been in reference to politicians, about a prostitute who was doing well by doing good (for her customers).

I have heard about the 85% failure rate of Indiana System Systems since the early 1970s. Around that time a group of blue suit/red tie types from Indianapolis arrived in St. Leon with the grand idea of building a sewage disposal facility to supplant, by fiat, septic systems regardless of how well they function. They too had that number 85% failure of septic systems in Indiana. They gushed about the health hazard to which people in St. Leon were exposed.

Given the implied health dangers of the claimed widespread failing of septic systems we should see the ubiquitous presence of waterborne coliform bacteria, pathogenic parasites, and pathogenic viruses. Thus it is reasonable to assume that there should be occasional epidemics of disabling to fatal cases of dysentery from the intestinal bacterial or from intestinal parasites.

Logically there should be cases of infantile paralysis from the polio virus that is transmitted by sewage along with other ways. We are not even seeing occasional or anecdotal reports of individual cases of the above disease in rural/agricultural areas serviced by septic systems. Thus we don’t even have an endemic infestation of these pathogens.

Now about that over and over repeated worn out 85% number of failed or failing septic systems in Indiana. I can’t find corroborative data or even one piece of datum to validate that claim. What we do find is that according to the Purdue publication (revised 9/2005) of “Septic System Failure” there are about 800,000 septic systems in Indiana. Of those approximate 800,000 systems it is estimated that approximately 200,000 are inadequate, failing or failed. This demonstrates that about 25 systems out of every 100 are in need of repair or replacement rather than the 85 out a hundred as is claimed by supporters and proponents of the St. Leon sewer system.

Interestingly enough among those 800,000 Indiana were Septic systems built from before 1950 to those that were built as recently as 2003.

Studies quoted by Purdue University demonstrate that of the systems build between 1950 and 2001 one in three systems needed repair. Since then with newer regulation the repair need is simply 3 out of 100 systems.

Obviously those build before 2002 that required repair or replacement were repaired or replaced and they are functioning satisfactorily. If they were not functioning satisfactorily we’d have endemic infestations with reports of a few cases of diseases previously mentioned. Possibly we’d have epidemics of these diseases. This is not the case.

It is unfortunate that there is a perception among government people that we don’t know when our septic systems are not functioning properly. The odor emanating from the tank, the foul puddle of sewage in one’s front yard, the poor functioning of our drains and toilets are in the eyes of the sewer proponents not noticed or intentionally ignored by us and thus we must by court order connect to their sewer system - for our own good of course.

Essentially there is no great problem that requires court ordered connections to the St. Leon sewer system. The total cost beyond their $4,000 connection fee includes the cost of excavating and laying pipe to the house, the cost of the grinder, and the continuing cost of the service, which are outrageously expensive. The bland recommendation that one should get a loan for all of this is inexcusable. The individual who is forced to get a loan must of course pay back the loan plus all of its interest.

We must explore in detail who is the driving force or who are the driving forces behind this outrage.

Do members of the various administrations of St. Leon want this in order to service their own land or relatives’ land to sell as industrial sites at say $55,000 to $60,000 per acre? There is land now being serviced by the sewer system or about to be serviced ready to be sold at $55,000-$60,000 per acre as industrial development land.
Are the members of the sewer board being urged on by developers, relatives, or friends to force sewer connections?
Are the members of the sewer board being urged on by the company that runs the sewer plant?
Did St. Leon take on too big a debt for their sewage plant and now that debt must be serviced by everyone whom they can reach?

Just what is it that has brought this onto us?

Certainly the members of the St Leon Sewer Board, Andy Ziegler, Chuck Hall, Roger Boehm, Harry Hudson, Dave Bischoff, and Jimmy Fox are concerned about the financial welfare of their neighbors around St Leon.

Essentially the Indiana Code in regard to sewers must be very simply reworked to make exemptions for farms.

We must notify the Honorable State Representative Robert Bischoff and the Honorable Senator Johnny Nugent that we need this code correction, although I am certain that they already know that it needs to be modified with exemption for farms. Of course we know that these two gentlemen will get that done, don’t we?

A few hundred phone calls to these very busy legislators will remind them of this critical situation in the event that they may have forgotten this problem of their constituents. A good time to call these gentlemen, when not in session, would be around suppertime, they are usually at home at that time.

In the meantime until our two legislators can accomplish this slight modification of the code, Mr. John Watson, the Sewer Board’s attorney should find a way to obtain a stay of these court ordered sewer connections. It would be easy because what judge would like to see, for instance a court reporter, as depicted on Channel 9, whose husband is disabled, be forced to sell her home for pennies on the dollar because she can’t afford the court forced expense of many many thousands of dollars to make a connection to the sewer system. We all know whom I am describing. What a sickening pity.

We must remember that Mr. Watson, who is in my opinion a fine gentleman, is the hired gun of the sewer board but he is really on the payroll of the taxpayers. Therefore he ought to act on behalf of the taxpayers. That is unless the members of the Town Council, the sewer board and the Planning and Zoning board all of St. Leon, who are not in favor of exempting farms from forced sewer connections, are paying Mr. Watson out of their own ample pockets.

Alan Stanley Freemond, Sr.
Jackson Township