Saturday, May 27, 2006

Give Me Liberty or... $55,000 an Acre!

Mr. Andres has written:

"When a Town submits a proposal for bonds it needs to show how those bonds will be repaid. This includes a cash flow chart that shows when and where will the money come from and when will it be paid off. Revenue sources need to be shown, and in the case of the sewer the only revenue sources are 'connection' and 'user' fees. If you show that there will be XXX number of customers that will be providing that revenue you then need to provide a contract to collect those fees."

And, indeed, so the town officials did.

They have accumulated a large debt for people in St. Leon and people within the jurisdiction of St. Leon but who do not having voting rights in St. Leon. Yes, we know that it is legal. These folks included property owners who did not need, did not want and for some could not afford the connection fee, the cost of the grinder pump, the excavating cost to lay a pipe from the owners house to the sewer line, the continuing sewer service fees and the probable increased water fees. People will be and are forced to service their grinder pump, regardless of the weather, regardless of their own health.

The questions still are why was this done, why was there an additional one Million dollar 2003 extension of the system in 2003 and why is there now a plan for a 4 to 5 Million dollar plan for the extension of the St. Leon sewer plant.

The sewer plant representative mentioned that at present there the sewage plan has an available facility for over 1000 new connections. That is a lot of connections and a lot of money for the sewer board account and for the operators of the sewage system. 1000 connections might indicate 1000 more houses build in our area. What else could it signify?

One can wonder if this sewer system was instituted for the enrichment of a few via the coerced connections of neighbors and citizens of this county where the median income is but 43,000 dollars a year. This is shameful.

The Dearborn County Development Economic Development website has a list of some properties for sale as industrial sites. There is a parcel of land along I-74 of a little over 20 acres advertised a having utilities and being sewer serviced. The land is offered at 55 thousand dollars an acre. If it is all sold the owner will harvest over 1 million dollars. The name of the owner is Andres. I have no idea whether it is our Mr. Andres, relatives of his or someone from an entirely different family. Perhaps it is one of those strange coincidences.

Now it is conceivable that the Town of St.Leon's officials find the costs referred to above as insignificant. They are business men, and entrepreneurs. However there are property owners affected by this sewage system who find it a heavy and needless burden. Again, it is shameful.

The actual mechanics or plan of the system is really not pertinent except for the fact that Mr. Andres mentions that there had been "some inconsistency in the original installation that was causing then system to operate inefficiently and would have caused serious problems down the road." Well, what's this all about? This reads a bit like a euphemism, a whitewash? Who was responsible for this "inconsistency," were they insured for their "inconsistency" or do the coerced citizens have to pay for the correction of this "inconsistency"?

Now Mr. Andres has mentioned that when bonds are issued in a town's name the integrity of the town is at stake. Well,unfortunately the integrity of the town of St. Leon is a laughing matter since a TV program aired and a newspaper described a chaotic St. Leon meeting during which a respected elected town official was quoted as saying to a police officer "throw him out before I knock him out."

What is more important, the town's former integrity if there was such a thing or the financial viability of our friends and neighbors?

A default on these bonds would bring in a fresh, disinterested receiver who'd put the proper perspective on this muddled situation.

An alternative would be for the state or federal government to buy back the bonds and put and end to this nonsense. The amount of money involved to the state or federal government would be insignificant. However the Honorable John Nugent and the Honorable Bob Bishoff show no interest in helping and neither does our esteemed United States Senator Dick Lugar.

It seems that all elected officials want this burden placed upon our citizens. It is so easy for politicians to put the responsibility for their actions upon the citizens.

I still wonder who urged the elected officials to take on this enormous debt and the impending debt which is causing so much angst and anxiety among our friends and neighbors. Was it at the urging of housing development companies, sewage operating companies, companies who sell products to sewage system operators? Who?

Alan Stanley Freemond, Sr.

Jackson Township

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Sewer Comments From Former St. Leon Town Council member

I have no idea where Freemond gets his information but it is obviously from someone who does not know the facts and he selectively chooses to challenge those aspects of the Sewer operation that will continue to inflame some 130 people and not resolve the issue. His remarks are an insult to the some 900 intelligent people that made the correct decision some 10 years ago and connected to the sewer system as was required. I do not know if he is one of the 130 that made the wrong decision. He knows little or nothing about how the system operates and does not take the time to become informed. This system is a 'low pressure' system that operates differently then a 'gravity' system. The original collection lines that were installed were in reality two separate collection 'loops', one on the North side of I-74 and the other on the South side that were independent of each other.

He talks about the School Corporation paying for the upgrade of the recent line installed which is completely untrue. The School Corporation paid for only those portions of the Sewer connection that effected them just as any other developer is required to do in order to connect to the system. I am sure the minutes of the public School Board meeting at which I (Town Council member) discussed these issues with the Board are available and should reflect the Corporations responsibility for payments to the Sewer. Perhaps Freemond should contact them for those minutes. The size upgrade of the line and other mainline extensions was done at the expense of the Sewer. These upgrades were undertaken for four specific reasons;

1. The School Corporation indicated to us that they had another School building of equal or greater size that was on the drawing boards that would be constructed in a few years. We then on our own fiscal initiative and expense, decided to increase the line size which saved them the expense of doing it at a later date.

2. We connected the South side 'loop' to the North side 'loop' which accomplished several money saving issues one of which is that the flow from the South 'loop' can be reversed in the case of an emergency such as what happened when the County broke the line on Whites Hill Road this past year. This ability saved time money and aggravation for the Customers served on the South.

3. In order to make this work efficiently we completed the line in the Town and closed the 'loop' down Hwy. 46. Again this will save the customers money by doing this now rather then later.

4. During the Engineers study of this project, it was discovered some inconsistency in the original installation that was causing the system to operate inefficiently and would have caused serious problems down the road. By upgrading at this time it prevented some very costly repairs in future years.

You can see that every thing that was completed at this time was done on a fiscally responsible basis with the Customers well being in mind. These upgrades at this time allowed us to scale back the rate increase that was recently enacted.

Municipal Bonds are different from other bonds in that not only the integrity of the Town is at stake but also financial viability is on the line. When a Town submits a proposal for bonds it needs to show how those bonds will be repaid. This includes a cash flow chart that shows when and where will the money come from and when will it be paid off. Revenue sources need to be shown, and in the case of the sewer the only revenue sources are 'connection' and 'user' fees. If you show that there will be XXX number of customers that will be providing that revenue you then need to provide a contract to collect those fees. The only legal way this can be accomplished is through an Ordinance that in essence provides a contract with the customers. All of the Ordinances that were enacted were done so according to the State Statute in an open advertised public meeting. Few if any customers were at those meetings to learn about the fee structure and other provisions much less voice their opinion one way or the other. It is easy 'after' the fact to criticize when you have no input into the discussion and to distort the facts when you are not present when they are presented.

It would be in the best interest of every one to get the true facts before they continue to spread rumors that are untrue. Once you understand why certain actions were taken you will see that the best interests of customers and the Citizens well being were the driving force. Should Freemond want to get the TRUE FACTS I will be glad to inform him.

Chuck Andres

St. Leon

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

23 May 2006 County Council Meeting Notes

Dearborn County Council Plays the Money Game for 5 ¼ Hour Meeting

23 May 2006 County Council Meeting Notes

Charlie Fehrman, Chairman, Mark Mitter, Liz Morris, Dennis Kraus, and Bo Lansing.
Absent: Bill Ullrich and Tom Cheek
Also present: Cary Pickens, Auditor, and Bryan Messmore, Administrator

There were no uniformed officers present at this meeting.

Register Publications covered the meeting also.

1. Dearborn Highland Arts Council- Marilyn Bowers- Approved $1000 from Youth Services for Gateway to the Arts to subsidize classes for children and a parent.

2. Sunman Dearborn Summer Art- 2 week program- Ruth Ann Batta- Approved $1000 from Youth services.

3. Library Capital projects- Sally Stenger from L-bg and Mary Alice Horton from Aurora- received their annual approval on a 3-year plan.
Pat Ritzmann was also appointed for 4 years to the L-bg Library Board.

4. Prosecutor’s Office- Aaron Negangard- presented the Sheriff/Prosecutor’s Office booklet on Law and Order published recently in the local newspaper from discretionary funds.

Recovered $15,000 in seized assets from drug busts.
They need a fund to put money from the mayor’s for office supplies travel and conference expenses on the Special crimes Unit – Reimbursed to County General.
Requested $10,000 in investigational funds for a murder trial- Granted from riverboat fund.

5. Planning Dept- Mark McCormack- Requested $18,000 in litigation expenses- Tabled to allow to get this at later meeting.
$3958.60 approved out of contingency fund to cover current expenses for legals.

6. Margaret Minzer and Dennis Kraus, Jr. presentation on GIS status – see commissioner meeting notes in early May for details. Council advised Minzer to develop a wish list with subsets for budget hearings.
Kraus Jr. was approved to use $60,000 of his $80,000 corner perpetuation fund to use GPS to locate section corner markers.

7. Health Dept.- Doug Baer and Terry Miller- Public Health Coordinator- requested Identicard system credentialing equipment for $10,000. Tabled.

8. Charlie Fehrman announced that PSEG is appealing their taxes and if they win there will be a 10% reduction in the budget- across the board.

9. DCRSD- Sewer Board- Mike Hankins accompanied by John Maxwell and Brett Fehrman- asked for $4.4 million for SDRSD membership and expansion and $1.5 million for St. Leon expansion projects supposedly for TIF areas primarily.
Hankins comments:
In 2003 DCRSD got $125,000 from County and $100,000 from DC Foundation as seed money for 370 sewer hookups.
In 2005 DCRSD changed boundaries to take in the entire county not currently serviced.
This year with Woolpert study DCRSD discussed the ability to own part of a sewer treatment plant and want to join SDRSD. Initially SDRSD had some members who were skeptical about the county treating wastewater. Now the skepticism has waned.
The other site is in St. Leon where 2 TIFs need treatment. We need funding to treat sewage in the TIFs in the northern part of the county- to be shovel ready.
The first sewer construction is Stewart St and Cole Lane to be bid and finished this summer.
We can eventually get pipe, collect fees, and repay the county.
Lawrenceburg says if we put in $1mil they will loan $5 mil.
Mitter asked when revenue stream might start to come back to county. Hankins said there are 1250 customers we have to serve,
Mitter- 36 months or more?
No real answer.
Priority is West Aurora. VRUC is an issue. Pernod Ricard seat may be open- they do 1 mil gpd. County could own Pernod Ricard’s share and new company could pay county for the sewage treatment.
Pernod Ricard can assign capacity to purchaser or divide it equally among the shareholders of SDRSD or buy it or…
Two primary objectives: Gain treatment capacity and enter interlocal agreement to expand St. Leon plant.
SDRSD treats 10 mil gpd.
Buy in to St. Leon would not be equity so we do not inherit debts.
Mitter asked how $4.4 mil was determined at SDRSD – Answer was it was the same numbers that VRUC was given a couple years ago.
Woolpert Study data will have another report in July from all the entities showing assets and liabilities.
Question asked: Growth and Development Fund has slightly over $5mil. If we use 80% of that fund what about other county projects?
Charlie Fehrman sees it as a way to get MORE money to fund jail and gov’t building remodeling for office space.
Hankins sees a 10-15 year payback time. Pickens said TIFs can then bond out and pay bonds back on sewers.
Kraus- before we spend $4.4 mil we should have a full board here.
Ask Ewbank to draw up the interlocal agreement with DCRSD and the County and vote at later meeting. They need $1.5 mil for St. Leon too. Will set meeting in June for this (CURRENTLY THIS IS SET FOR JUNE 21st at 5:30 PM)

10. Lusby- Sheriff- needs $150,000 to cover inmates for the year. Currently owes Ripley County $50,000.
Council approved $90,000 to cover till August and tabled $60,000 all from Riverboat Revenue.
Lusby requested $50,000 for vehicle maintenance- Approved $25,000 and tabled $25,000
Lusby said commissary money under Indianan code can be used for a variety of expenses related to the jail- supplies, education cell phones, advertising, promoting sheriff’s offices, etc. They get about $3-5,000 a month. Pickens suggested they have Ewbank research and put it in resolution form for the next meeting. Approved Ewbank doing that.

11. Juvenile Dept.- Scott – Approved $6500 from riverboat revenue for DVR Recorder, travel, and residential supplies.
Overtime pay- will get ruling on how this works during sick or vacation weeks- Approved $3,000 tabled $3,000.
Part time youth attendant- Approved $10,000 and tabled $10,000.
All the above is out of county general.
Might look into commissary fund for some educational expenses here.
$5700 for computers from a grant will not be turned over to county general until they see if they get a grant to complete the project. This eliminates asking for it back.

12. Charlie Ashley- 911- approved $50,000 from relocation fund for 911 out of $300,000 in the 911 fund.

13. Todd Listerman – County Engineer and Transportation Director – discussed cross training both the bridge laborers and highway laborers to have CDL licenses to be truck ready for snow plowing etc. Advantage was in long snow periods with tired drivers- having more shifts. Also noted that all other counties do this with staff. “We’re the only ones around here without all CDL licensed staff!”
Mitter asked what happens if they can’t or won’t get CDL? Listerman said we’d have to evaluate the worker- we are eliminating the other position- so they have to have this training. They will be paid nearly $1,000 extra a year in salary- and the county is providing and paying for training.
Costs are covered with the elimination of 2 laborer positions that were not refilled.
Looking for summer intern for $8,000 and $11,000 for eng services contract.
Also wants $6,000 for charts software that tracks manpower, equipment, and material for future decisions. 15 counties use this and love it- locally Franklin, Ripley, and Decatur do. Annual fees after the first full year are $1500/year.
Safety training equipment - $19,500 requested.
Insurance agencies should reflect reduction in WC with this also.
HIGHWAY DEPT IS BEING REORGANIZED. There will no longer be D-1,2,3- but all Dearborn County. Listerman mentioned the elimination of the former highway director position (Mike Davis) and will get an ass’t to oversee just the highway crew at a reduced salary with a new job description. Salary similar to his surveyor/ass’t eng salary (Seiler). Bryan Messmore is working with him on this.
By August he hopes to have it all consolidated.
Council approved moving the above-mentioned funds to the appropriate accounts for Listerman’s work.
Salary ordinance was amended to include the additional CDL pay for the laborers. ($2862)
Bell’s Branch was funded $45,000 from Cum bridge for design of project. Cum bridge fund as $582,000 in it. Shared costs with Ohio County.

From the new MVH sub fund- formerly the 147 fund- now the 172 fund:
Total available is $1,767,847.98
Approved $15,000 to remove underground tank in D-2 garage for IDEM violation.
Approved $200,000 for Stateline and Stephens construction
Approved $160,000 for line striping- TWICE WHAT WAS ASKED- to add the white lines on the sides also- per Liz Morris and Mike Davis requests.
Approved $200,000 for 2 trucks
Listerman tried to get the entire list approved per commissioner wishes and also stating that these roads had such thin bottom coats that they would not hold up. Numerous questions regarding the paving done on these in the first place- when and how approved. Listerman stated they were before his time- was going on what he could see in records and was told.
Council instead decided to approve topcoats for those road that were currently paved at 18 ft or greater width. That is # 2,6,7,11,13,14,15,16,17,18,19 on the paving list.
Those numbers correspond to these roads: Blue Creek, Huseman, Ireland, Probst (may include Water St to FD), Sawdon Ridge, Schwipps, Stewart, Voltz, wedge/levels Sawdon and Stewart, driveways on these roads, line striping for Huseman and Sawdon Ridge.
Roads eliminated from the list due to insufficient pavement width include: Ashe, Ester Ridge, Fox, Grimsley, Kuebel, McManaman, Pollard, Rice.

14. Bill Black- EMA- requested $5600 for siren maintenance and equipment repair. Approved from Riverboat.

15. Don Townsend -Building Dept.- gave a detailed accounting of services and fees and appealed for a full time inspector. Council approved $16,108 base salary plus the benefits for ’06 remainder. Salary for full year would be $27,615 plus benefits. Townsend intends to offer the job to the part timer.

Townsend’s comments included:
We have the only certified inspectors in the county. Do inspections for everyone – approximately 12,000 inspections a year with 4 full time and 1 part timer. Fees increased by $26,000 this year so far. Argosy’s expansion will probably add about $50,000 in fees.
There are 1485 proposed residences in approved subdivisions this year and 1406 proposed condo units. Fisher Homes has 36 condos signed for so far and 4 buildings. They build as they get sign ups.
In 2005 they took in $331,160 in fees and they project over $500,000 in 2006.
There are 900 units proposed by Fisher homes on the intersection of SR1, Ridge and
Hilsinger’s property above Steak and Shake is coming together as well.

15. Coroner’s request for vehicle maintenance. Approved $1500 to replace discretionary fund borrowed and deny $3500.

16. Solid Waste needed a resolution signed by council so they can do their own PERF now that County no longer does their payroll. Approved.

17. Cum Courthouse ($248,216) and Cum Cap ($505313) approved to spend the amount that was OK’d at budget – but not advertised.

18. Messmore asked for another $15,000 to finish up insurance assessment needs of the county. (Total so far is about $30,000) Thinks this is a good use of tax dollars, as it hasn’t been done before. The current company has service issues with getting the entire inventory done, it seems. As the insurance companies bid each year they will UPDATE THIS RECORD. By August budget they will have a price for insurance as it is bid in June. $15,000 approved.

Messmore is setting up financial consultant interviews to do strategy, capital management, and a fiscal model. Cheek and Ullrich will sit in on that process.
Messmore wants seed money to match for federal highway projects- so they can get better responses. Wants Council to consider this.

19. Council mentioned asking Ripley County to help with badges for Health dept request. Better than the whole $10,000 expense.

20. PTBOA Board appointments for tax assessment appeals were Ken Madden and Mark Neff. Approved.

21. Chamber of Commerce letter representing the Redevelopment Commission asked for TIF fees of $18,000 att’y fees, $5,000 CPA, $1,000 local att’y fees (Butler) for a total of $24,000. They are going to have someone come in just to manage the TIF districts to be sure they are figured out. (Original TIF wasn’t filed properly and so now dollars were recaptured yet.) This item will be advertised and they will come to ask for it in person in June.

22. New Horizons didn’t get their annual $10,000 form Council Benevolent Fund and so it was approved for $10,000 from discretionary fund.

23. Stephanie Disbro off for 6 weeks medical leave. Approved $1,000 for additional help during that time.

The next meeting is a special meeting to be advertised for June 21st at 5:30 PM

Meeting adjourned at 12:45 AM 24 May 2006 (YAWN)

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

22 May 2006 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

22 May 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.
Also Present: Arnie McGill, Attorney, Mark McCormack, Enforcement Officer, and Todd Listerman, County Engineer and Transportation Director

Register Publications covered this meeting.

Administrative Items covered first due to two PC members stepping down for the main business of the meeting to follow:

1. OKI draft versions of strategic policies and plans were covered in a meeting with McCormack, Feiss, Bryan Messmore, and OKI Copies in PC member’s packets.
2. Working session 7 PM Wed May 31 to discuss parent tract that commissioners sent back for changes, Regional sewer district, and St. Leon requiring some help with planning.
3. US 50 existing conditions draft and Gateway study documenting every access point on US 50 in the county is on INDOT site and PC website.
4. Enforcement officer will be selected in the next few days- references are being checked.


[NOTE: While the commissioners are pushing for changes in parent tract language in the zoning ordinance that would essentially allow for piecemeal development with potential drainage and infrastructure issues, the PC is being tied up discussing that instead of working on one of the main zoning ordinance changes proposed in the comprehensive plan. Perhaps multiple R zones need to be added to Wed May 31 agenda at the working session.]

Zone change from Ag to R for single-family development on SR48 at 148 on 184.87b acres in Manchester Township. Applicant is Tom Kent- Owners have changed. They are now Boones, Craigs, Powells, and Busses. Rollins has dropped out.
FEISS AND HALL stepped down for this item due to possible conflicts of interest.

The room was full for this item- approximately 50-60 residents.

McCormack gave the overview of changes in the proposed development- the access is single now and will utilize a boulevard style entrance. The proposed 265 units have dropped to what the applicant states in less than 180 at 1.07 units per acre or .933 acres per unit. Street configuration internally is nearly the same. They reduced cul-de-sac to meet ordinance. Craig driveway can move at applicant expense or if not a variance for the entrance might be required. County engineer to give design possibilities to applicant for entrance. New adjoiners were notified due to redesign. Tech review was moved to May meeting, with historical b/u as the reason to allow.

Tom Kent presented two main ideas that MUST happen for his “moderate density” plan to work:
1. The boulevard style entrance has to be approved- with essentially two lanes in and two out.
2. Clustering for part of the development to allow for 3 different products leading to more buffer and more greenspace.

He provided an updated traffic study and also was clear that he wasn’t proposing 180 single acre lots- but a sum total of moderate density as the ENTIRE project is considered.

DeMaynadier asked for Kent’s definition of moderate density. Book says 1-3 acres. Kent said closer to the 1 acre.
DeMaynadier- said that was just on the other side of the line for high-density parameters. He also asked if the purchase of the land was contingent on the proposal being accepted. Kent affirmed that was the case. DeMaynadier noted that the purchase price COULD be changed to reflect whatever the potential for development allowed.

Kent said he planned a homeowners association to handle the ballfields, but there would be no pool in this design. Greenspace and buffers would be handled by covenants on larger exterior lots rather than by HOA. Busse and Kent will share fencing as per township rules. More buffering would be put in some areas with white pines – double rows.
Kent wants to offer a mix of affordable and higher priced homes. Affordable as defined in the comp plan.

Listerman noted that the boulevard was the minimum requirement for a single entrance on this plan. Right turn lanes will be determined at primary approval stage. He also discussed the site distance options with the Craig driveway.

At 8 PM Public input began.

Chet Wolgamot- first Kent said 260 weren’t feasible- now he’s saying 165. We won’t know what’s really feasible… Right now we’re skating on the edge of moderate density.
There needs to be a buffer between rural residential and this contrasting development. Why buffer so much against the farm fields? Do we worry more about field mice than about existing homes? (Mitter stopped him at this point to remind him not to make a joke of the board. Wolgamot apologized for the emotional response. Mitter explained that farm uses were often incompatible with residential- that’s why the farm buffer was important.)
Wolgamot acknowledged that we need R even if doesn’t pay for itself. He went on to say that quality of life in their area will be degraded by this density- “we are not Bright or HVL.” This development would be a toehold so that the next farm sells and so on and we become another Bright. Developers can maximize THEIR profit in this “affordable” price range. The PC has to allow for development that benefits the county. We showed at the last meeting 170 homes available in this price range here. There are 23 home on 5-20 acres around this The average lot size is well above 3 acres.
Current conditions and character- How can this be in character with existing homes?
Most desirable use for the land- This is a new toehold of a new era different from anything along SR48 corridor.
Conservation of property values throughout the jurisdiction- My value will go down because of this. We have 500 people (petition) who understand this concept of value- we hope you do too!
Responsible development- Why allow more and moor minimum value homes that are not needed- is that responsible. Think of how hard people worked going door to door to get 500 signatures- this should give you some idea of how we feel.
We feel better about these changes coming in. We didn’t come here to be patted on the back about our good presentation like last time- we want to be heard! “We need rich people too.”
"This board approved a zone change in Bright (Maxwell’s Hidden Acres on Sneakville) and I went to my first commissioner meeting." The Bright Fire Dept and EMS were turned down – because we have no money- they were given a letter of support to get the money elsewhere. AND IN THE NEXT BREATH they added 300 more homes! (by approving the zone change)
Mitter encouraged Chet Wolgamot to present the rest of his ideas, but Wolgamot thought they might be more emotion than fact. He senses an atmosphere of indifference in the politicians. He did add that we just had a primary election and changed commissioner candidates. He said that if 300 Bright people and 500 in this area don’t like an idea, then something is wrong!

Mitter noted it was frustrating on the PC side of the table too.

Patrick deMaynadier explained the judicial nature of the PC – where they consider facts and the POLITICAL nature of commissioners where the petitions have more effect. Commissioners can look at petitions as a reason to accept or deny. PC cannot.Mitter noted that PC goes to great lengths to listen.

Irwin Diehl- Said he wasn’t active politically for a long time but he is AWAKE now. He has the impression that the county commissioners are not as open as they could be- agendas are not done a week in advance and yet citizens have to sign up a week ahead if they wish to speak on and issue- a catch 22 situation.

Mitter commented that he was on the other side 10-11 years ago and was told by the PC to shut up and sit down. So he got involved, went to the extreme, and ran for office even- “What was I thinking?” (Laughter)

Diehl thanked Kent for the changes so far. He doesn’t like the density being in the front along his and Wolgamot’s and Horizon Way properties. He still thinks there is not adequate transition between these property uses.

Dennis Sparks- lives near the Y- has 3 kids- this would at least double the enrollment at Manchester elementary. Most people move out here to live in a rural environment. You can’t compare Bright to Manchester.
The sewer line has to go back to near Ludlow Hill Park and bring a new or larger one out.

Dorothy Watkins- Horizon Way – We live on 11 acres of AG zoned land. What buffer do we have? (She wasn’t notified due to assessor’s office address errors.) This cul-de-sac is right up against my Ag land. She also wanted shorter meetings. Mitter commented that they are trying to hear everyone- “this is an endurance test.” (Laughter)

Brian Groh- read a prepared statement including these comments: People had to take time from their family and jobs to be here. People are shocked by the disrespect to the community. There are many people who agree- thousands went to the polls to vote for Ralph Thompson. People are ANGRY- there seems to be no reasonable limits, they have to take time away from busy lives to take care of this, and they are connected as never before, by email and Internet now! Do you respect the citizens enough to listen to what we are saying?

Carrie Baylor – Horizon Way- These homes here are $300,000 and up. 14 homes adjacent to this are on 5-10 acres. How can this possibly meet criteria #4 for a zone change? (property values)
Tom Kent is asking you to approve a vision- not a plan. If you are judicial as Patrick said- how can you decide on a vision? My neighbors have horses. The sewer letter says they are SEEKING TO PROVIDE- it is NOT there yet! I liked 2 entrances- now we are back to one and no definition of it- a very rubbery understanding.

At 9 PM Public comment ended.

Kent spoke about leadership creating a comp plan and protecting the rural look. He said that means we will leave some untouched and take other land. 500 petitions are one thing. 48,000 people in this county have spoken through the comp plan.
He plans green space and apologized to some of the residents he hadn’t spoken to yet.
“If we have criteria that we have to MATCH the area beside us, then why have a comp plan?” He believes that moderate density is in the 3 subdivisions around this.
Mitter asked about buffering the Watkins property. Kent showed a ravine there and said no building would occur between about 200-300 ft of that property line.
A discussion occurred on tax parcels vs. lot divisions. Wolgamot finally explained how the small parcels on one owner’s land occurred due to section lines and taxing rules.

Mitter noted this has to be decided on the worst-case scenario- because there is no concept plan submitted.

Plan commission members discussed:

De Maynadier- With no concept plan-= we have to use worst-case scenario.
In reference to the tax lot thing- zone requirement doesn’t say current LOT size the code says “current buildings and structures.”- so tax lot sizes are not a deciding factor.
I’m not averse to R- but density IS an issue here.
Tom Kent is a good businessman- if we decide X lots, then he will only pay Y price for this land.
Cluster would work here- but it depends on how much is in the cluster.
Boulevard entrance is a good OPTION.
I see 60-90 units maybe here.
I don’t see this plan as being that different from the first one.
Hughes – With Ag vs. R- I think this should be R.
Law- I wish the lots were in the plan- with no plan- I have problems with that. Likes the boulevard solution for two entrances and thinks this should be R.
Ohlmansiek- In the master plan we showed this are as potentially for growth and R. I like clusters and greenspace. I wish we had lot sizes on this map! I don’t have an actual number in my mind- I’d like to see a picture of it.
Held- Would be appropriate for R here with clusters, greenspace and buffers. Density issue.
Kraus, Jr. – Comp plan says where infrastructure is in place. This is on a state road. Relatively close to Aurora and Law-bg. We’re not compromising the residential of the county- it’s not like it’s on West County Line.

DeMaynadier noted three options- Favorable- if we can add written commitments or qualifications, Unfavorable, or Unfav and send a signal to come back with a design.

Mitter- It doesn’t meet criteria #2 for current conditions and character and it doesn’t meet #4 for conservation of property values. This must be viewed by ordinance in the worst light (because of no concept plan submission)
If we do R they can have carte blanche to do anything that R allows in the ordinance – apt’s and condos even. The topography is not conducive to all of R. This is not responsible growth and development to do just R.

Following this there were 5 or more attempts to get unfavorable (4-3 vote- 3 nays to UNFAVORABLE were Laws, Hughes, Kraus, Jr.)
It takes 5 to have a majority of the board (total of 9 members)Favorable with 60 units max- failed also due to lack of 2nd.
Favorable with no restrictions failed
UNFAVORABLE and adding sewer line unavailability failed also.

Board was deadlocked and so the matter proceeds to the commissioners with NO RECOMMENDATION.

[NOTE: At no time in this did Kent ask to have this tabled so he could draw up a concept plan. This indicates that he is comfortable going to the commissioners with whatever recommendation he got- even none. There is only one reason that would be the case – if the Commissioners plan to pass it. Potentially, it would seem that there is ample evidence in the record of this meeting that if the commissioners do not specify I fairly low density in their approval, the residents would have cause to seek legal remedy.
It would also seem that if and when Kent returns for primary approval, he could demonstrate an understanding of the surrounding parcels by drawing a plan that truly enhances that community and doesn’t detract from it.]

Meeting adjourned 10:10 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Friday, May 19, 2006

18 May 2006 Dearborn County Regional Sewer District Meeting Notes

18 May 2006 Dearborn County Regional Sewer District Meeting Notes

Present: Hankins, Chairman, Maxwell, Enzweiler, Holland, Pruss, and Fehrman.
Absent: Dennerline
Also present: Lehner, Attorney, Quinn, Engineer, Baer, Health Dept., Messmore, Cty Adm.
Audience included: Tom Kent, Vera Benning, Mr. Z (Starlight Reception Center), Bob Hrezo, Jim West, and Jerry Jacobsen.

Special Requests:

Board went over Peter Ellis, O’Brien Engineering update on Chateau Pomije- trying to extend their pump and haul permit until the sewer access can occur.

Bob Hrezo passed out his detailed portfolio of projects, experience, and credentials of the Hrezo Engineering staff. He asked to be considered for future engineering work and stated he “didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes”, but wanted the board to know that Hrezo Engineering was available to do work on their sewer projects.

Mr. Z- Starlight Reception center- presented his request that the board consider going to Dillsboro for sewer as they have current capacity to p/u about 100 people between him and their lines. He had met with Scott Fortner. Maxwell and Hankins both talked about their meeting with Fortner also and the I&I concerns if they went thru town. Going out west required 3-4 miles more of pipe. They also said Dillsboro had higher sewer bills. R. Z thought there would be decreases as more came on due to higher volume and economy of scale. They will have more info by next meeting.

Old Business:

SDRSD gave then a favorable recommendation and that letter is being presented to Council on Tues when they ask for money.

Stewart St and Cole Lane have 5 contractors bidding to be opened at June 6 meeting. Enzweiler stressed getting ins to cover after construction liabilities if flooding or back-ups occur. Baer to talk to agent at Seitz about this. Lehner said the county engineer said he wasn’t comfortable inspecting the project [NOTE: Wouldn’t this would be outside his job description and add duties to an already full plate?] She also asked Hrezo if Chad Kramer was on his staff and could he inspect? Hrezo said yes and that he could also do it. Hrezo to give them a price on about 2 hours a day.

Some easements needed on Cole Lane because ROW is not big enough. Maxwell informed them that Cty Eng. keeps current records on ROW widths. Unsure about WHO will obtain the easements from discussion.
[NOTE: This project is ready to start- and they don’t have this ready?]

Hankins- Letter to residents in draft form is in packet advising them of bid process and being unsure about fees.

Quinn passed out colored maps of the Aurora interceptor options. Wanted to open cut to save $$s. Creek crossing issues exist- open cuts saving $1.5 mil estimated. ( Environmental impacts?)
Quinn to redraw avoiding creek crossing. Maxwell stated (stressed) that he needs to meet with GRW- there ought to be a discussion with them first. Quinn noted GRW’s pump station had excluded everything we’d bring down US 50. [NOTE: Hence Maxwell stressing GRW involvement in this design and decision. It would be fruitless to work at cross-purposes.]

St. Leon Meeting- Hankins discussed Serenity Ridge crossing LMH territory- so DCRSD will bring feeder to St. Leon for 6-7 homes with no septic sites, that can’t be built yet.
[NOTE: This was a known problem when that sub’n was approved years ago. How did the lots get sold?]

Lisa Lehner to work with John Watson on an interlocal agreement for sewage transport. They need it for activity on SR52. Lehner said that Watson and she agreed to settle on territory to be covered. They will draw lines on maps to show current area and beyond that we will transport to St. Leon.
Hankins note St. Leon does NOT want DCRSD to have equity in the plant, but would allow us to participate in the board of directors. “They see us as a great big guy putting his arms around the little guy and squeezing…”
Enzweiler- we need to stay out of there and let them fund capacity- we pay tap ins and they make money off us. The agreement just has to make sure we have a guaranteed capacity.
Hankins- we don’t want to get in a bidding war with private entities over capacities.
Fehrman- thinks the cty needs some ownership interest in St. Leon – maybe even a plant across the street. Would we have a say in fees or capacity?
Enzweiler- What about DCRSD- we have a big chunk of money invested- we need to concentrate on the bulk coming to SDRSD.
Lehner- we have a lot of debt? Hankins thought $4-5 mil with St. Leon.
Baer asked if Rosewood property was in the county- Yes. They need to keep that in mind with negotiating territories. [NOTE: SD Schools paid approximated half a million for a larger line out that way. Reference school finance officer]


Much discussion on setting tap fee- cty range is $360-$4,000. $500 talked about- no decision. Quinn noted MSD in Cincinnati- used $3,000 for NEW homes and less for existing houses. Figuring new homes bear the cost of line extensions and capacity increases required.

Staff will be taking over part of break room downstairs for about 18 months till office space is created.

Maxwell and Hankins - Need to look at Woolpert draft as homework to be sure lines are accurate etc. Maxwell questioned some of the lines. Stays as draft until review.

Fehrman said Aurora was looking to partner with DCRSD- they have no debt now- but are about to incur $3 mil in next few months. Lehner said law on regional sewer districts gives them a lot of flexibility.

Holland will rep the DCRSD at the Moores Hill meeting.

Still having problems with the Rural Development grant and GRW’s apparent lack of info on the filings. [NOTE: This grant may have more problems because of the larger area they took in originally. The income guidelines changed as developers jumped in faster and property got bought for Ameritech etc. An experienced grant writer may be able to quickly ascertain the viability of this grant now.]

Meeting adjourned 8:40 PM

After the meeting I requested a copy of the claims and budget information from the inception of the district to the present time from Doug Baer. When claims are paid at meetings it is often hard to hear and unclear as to what is being paid. Baer has it in Excel format and will email.

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Sun Valley Acres at SR48/SR148

Planning Commission Meeting
Dearborn County Courthouse Annex
Monday, May 22nd, 2006, 7:00pm

This Monday evening, Tom Kent will be re-presenting his modified development proposal for a high density subdivision in the SR48/SR148 junction area in an effort to obtain a favorable recommendation for a zoning change to the properties involved. Citizens interested in learning more about this development or who may wish to express their concerns should same should plan on attending.

Chet Wolgamot

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

16 May 2006 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

16 May 2006 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

Present: Hughes (became new president at this meeting), Benning, and Fox
Also present: Pickens, Auditor, Ewbank, Attorney, and Messmore, Administrator
A county officer was also present.

Preceding this meeting (at 5:30 PM) was a continuation of Friday’s special meeting regarding Mike Davis’s appeal regarding his resignation under duress. Benning presided, as she was technically still president at this. He had also questioned whether they could eliminate a highway supervisor position. Ewbank’s research citing IC code[Note: I think this is the number he stated- the sound system was acting up again] and he also mentioned other cases allowing counties to combine the duties of engineer and supervisor. Commissioner’s decided to deny the appeal. Fox stated the duress did not come from them nor did the idea of someone filling the highway supervisor position. Benning abstained and requested that the record show that. She did not state WHY she abstained.

Regular meeting:
Commissioners reorganized naming Hughes President due to Benning’s resignation as president. They also named Fox to the Redevelopment Commission replacing Benning on that. Next redevelopment commission meeting is at 9AM May 22 in the Chamber of Commerce offices on Walnut Street.

Hughes yielded time to Joan Seitz, assessor to get appointees to the PTABOA (Property Tax assessment Board of Appeals). Bill Hartwell a farmer from Moores Hill and Benning were suggested by Fox and appointed.

Craig Beckley presented Greg Gavin as the bid winner (though his bid was the midpoint- they felt he met other criteria needed) for the migrant housing project on Beiersdorfer’s Orchard. Cost $197,000. Commissioners approved after questioning pricing differences.

Greg Mathina Bright Fire Chief and Steve Callahan EMS gave a detailed report and requested commissioners support to obtain more funding from Riverboat revenues via Lawrenceburg Bond bank for their expanding needs. Basically they are attempting to step up service by having volunteers stay at the station for $5/hour to decrease response times. They have 75 volunteers and it takes average of about 7 min to get to firehouse and another 8 on average to get to scene. Renovation of the central firehouse to house bunks and a kitchen and showers is needed. They are looking for $1.5 million. Fox said they have no money. Pickens noted that Bright could use their organization under the townships to obtain funding, even though they are unincorporated. Benning said Randy at Ivy Tech could help them with grant funding requests. Commissioners approved Messmore writing an endorsement letter for them and working with them to obtain funding. [NOTE: This entire presentation underscores a problem with overdeveloping Bright. Their population is enough now that they probably should be considering paid staffing of EMS and fire. A second issue is fire hydrants. Drive through Bright- even on the main roads- and see how many hydrants you can count. Then check out the big subdivisions. The answer may surprise you.]

Greg Platt yielded their time on Dutch Hollow Road and agreed to meet with Fox and Todd Listerman to discuss their requests for road improvements. [NOTE: Frank Linkmeyer, a local developer, was sitting with the Dutch Hollow spokesperson (Platt). Shouldn’t these road requests be public knowledge?]

Hidden Acres Subdivision – A citizen group spoke at length reiterating their arguments against a zone change for Maxwell’s development. See notes from Plan commission in April earlier on this blog site for those details. The power point presentation highlighted drainage issues and safety issues with all road accesses. They also noted the school issues with redistricting elementary schools and also the fire EMS presentation earlier in the evening.
Plan commission forwarded this with a favorable recommendation, but requested that they NOT use any of the optional accesses.
Fox stated he’d been out there and thoroughly concurred with the Renck Court Access issues among others.
Maxwell was questioned regarding Renck, the curve access designs, and Grubbs widening. Maxwell stated also (regarding these issues and DRAINAGE ISSUES from Tucker’s previous development)- “IF WE CAN IMPROVE EXISTING CONDITIONS WE WILL DO THAT.”

[NOTE: Problems have been accumulating from old developments. Purely as a function of numbers, there have been traffic and safety issues. Renck COURT residents have an expectation that their road is a cul de sac and shouldn’t be a through street. What needs to be considered however is that this subdivision had numerous potential connections to allow an inner flow of traffic in the Bright area. Nearly all of these were considered to be inadequate by the PC. Randy Maxwell at previous meetings has stressed connectivity. He is right to pursue this goal- because the actual quality of life in the long run- once the area is built out - will be better with connections than with just feeders to the main streets. The PC and Highway Dept. needs to take a long look at the total LOCAL street network in the county and determine how to fix these inadequacies as they schedule paving and widening projects. Something is seriously wrong when a development has that many connections denied.]

Benning thought the issues were well covered. She motioned to uphold the favorable recommendation and approve the zone change reading each of the 5 criteria for zone change but not stating how each was fulfilled. Fox 2nd. Approved.

Text changes to the zoning codes:
The parent tract language was changed to eliminate the 1989 historical starting point references. Minor subdivisions were to have a 2-year period for each division. The commissioners sent both of these items BACK TO THE PC for consideration so that the wait period would be 1 year. They will use a draft form of the minutes drawn up by Messmore to speed up the process and not wait for officially signed minutes for the PC to reconsider the request.
Benning wanted to know why the commissioners couldn’t just do it themselves. Ewbank explained that the state code requires this procedure.
[NOTE: The ramifications of changes in zoning codes require a far more thorough discussion and professional input than commissioners alone could provide. The county planner and staff, the tech review board professionals, and the PC all weigh in as well as citizen input at the PC hearing. The state code is a PROTECTION. It forces an examination of the repercussions of each change.]

Commissioners did approve the 2nd change in zone code to allow surveyors to comply with the need for 100 ft of surrounding property buildings to be noted on their plans for developments without having to use field surveys if the GIS and aerials can locate the buildings accurately. This was to eliminate trespass issues that occur at times.

Todd Listerman- Transportation Dept.-
Annual report prepared by Kin for SBOA was signed.
Paving pricing was approved at a higher amount to account for pricing increases in his request to council. It will be at $42.50 per ton vs. $31 a year ago. Total is $950,000 for a cushion. If prices get worse, then roads will be dropped from the paving list till next year.
[NOTE: Doesn’t putting pricing out like this encourage higher bids?]
2006 Line striping will be 1 coat and annually on roads with >1000ADT. The list was given to commissioners and approved.

Vogelsang Road is completed to cul de sac and gate removed.
Counter was completed on Dutch Hollow also.

Cary Pickens- auditor- presented claims.
No minutes as preparer had surgery.
GFC Contract was signed for $7,000 to prepare budget books.
Moores Hill EMS standard contract signed.

Bryan Messmore-
June agendas will not be on line due to Stephanie’s planned sick time in June. He has not mastered the process of uploading them to the site yet.
Commissioners approved getting the RFQ’s for the EMA building remodeling. He may lease some space from the old IVY tech in the mean time for a couple offices.
Jeff Hughes will sit in on Finance Interviews for 4 hours. This is to select someone to go over the financial status of the county????
Insurance review company needs another $15,000 and still doesn’t have a review of health ins needs in that package yet. Ewbank stressed that they get that done also.
Total cost so far is $30,000 to review Workers Comp, property and liability insurance. [Note: This better be saving a lot of money to justify this expenditure… This is not the first time these have been reviewed.]

Benning read a series of letters she’d received to be sure commissioners had seen them.
IN Housing and Community Dev. Authority found no errors.
Chamber has the Redevelopment Commission Meeting at 9 AM at their office on Walnut on May 22
Dept. of Labor Wage hearings copy to be inserted in minutes.
Highway Dept not responsible for road kill unless it’s a health or safety hazard. If it’s rural they leave it for nature to take its course.
Insurance company safety training- gave high marks to county workers with reflective clothing and enclosed a video of their assessment.
May 18 from 9-12 GIS event to look at regional sharing of materials.
Comcast Cable letter verifying their current status with the county
IDEM sewer permits letter- no details….

Meeting adjourned at 8:30 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Monday, May 15, 2006

St Leon and its Sewer People

St Leon and its Sewer People

The St. Leon Board has offered their explanations to Register Publications concerning forced connections to the St. Leon Sewage System. This present letter is very similar to one submitted to the Batesville Herald Tribune, which was attributed to the thoughts of the St. Leon Town Council but written by their taxpayer-paid lawyer. Register Publications has not seen fit to publish a rebuttal to this one sided explanation which consists of selectively chosen facts to make a case against their neighbors.

Bond deals are not as confusing as presented in their explanation.

The board maintains that in 2003 it was necessary to expand the sewer system. Why it was necessary to expand and take on more debt is unclear. Hazily they mix that questionable necessity with the need for additional sewage facility for the newly constructed East Central Intermediate School. However the school district paid the town of St. Leon over $580,000. The school laid a line of greater diameter than what St Leon’s system had and allowed St. Leon future use of their line for additional connections, which means more income for the St. Leon Sewage system.

The board maintains that the bondholders demanded that all houses in St. Leon and its jurisdiction must connect to the system to insure that the bond holder get their interest payments and that the bonds at their time of expiration will be repurchased thus returning the money loaned via the bonds back to the bondholders.

Bondholders do NOT dictate terms. They simply buy a given bond as it is described in the bond prospectus. If someone interested in a bond does not like the terms of its payments or the risk involved in purchasing the bond they simply don’t buy that bond. This is not complicated.

Since Town Council members are not financially sophisticated, one wonders who aided them or urged them to expand their system in 2003 beyond what the middle school needed and financed. Who urged them to institute coerced sewer connections? Further expansion required the large sums of money that were raised by selling more bonds.

There are some questions about this expansion. Who advised or perhaps urged the Town Council to expand their system. Could it have been developers who wanted sewage for intended tightly packed subdivisions? Could it have been the company that derives income from running and maintaining the sewage system? We will never know answers to those two questions. Was that expansion unnecessary? Was the expansion a mistake?

There are two ways to relieve this crushing burden placed upon our friends and neighbors by the Town Council.

First we could simply let the thing go into bankruptcy. This would entail cessation of interest payments on the bonds, and the elimination of coerced connections with their resultant fees. We would go back to our status prior to 2003, perhaps prior to 1996 - the time of the beginning of the system.

Secondly, we could go to the state and/or Federal Government to try to get them to raise the few million dollars that it would take to buy back the bonds from the bondholders at this time. That would cure the bond requirement that alleges that everyone in St. Leon and in the jurisdiction of the Sewer Board must connect to the system. The sum of money involved would not be much as far as the State or Federal government is concerned. It is an enormous sum of money for a town in a county where the median income as reported in the last census is $43,000.

The proffered idea that the Town Council of St. Leon may offer amortization of the connection fees does not help. The money plus the interest on the loans must still be paid. The letter writers omitted mentioning the crushing costs of buying and maintaining the grinder pump and the cost of excavation to lay a sewage pipe from the property owner’s house to the sewer line. For people who live on low fixed incomes from pensions and those who live from paycheck to paycheck with little to no elasticity in their disposable income in the face of increasing inflation, amortization is no answer. It is demeaning, it is cruel and it demonstrates either an egregious lack of compassion towards their neighbors on the part of these of those coercing sewer connections or it demonstrates their total lack of understanding of what they have done.

Unfortunately, as we try to relieve our friends and neighbors of the cruel and crushing financial burden placed upon them, the company that runs the sewage system for St. Leon has submitted a 37-page proposal to expand the system further. The costs being entertained for this expansion vary from a low of nearly $4 million to a high of well over $5 million.

Who is urging the town council to do this further expansion?

Lastly there is the murky business of the impending lawsuits against our friends and neighbors instigated by this misbegotten project. There are said to be 130 homes according to the Town Council that should be connected. 18 People have been notified of the legal action being taken against them. Is the Town Council going to take action against all 130 of these people or just a few? How have they decided who was to be sued and who was not to be sued at this time? Is the idea that instead of suing all 130 homeowners (who could mount a more economical and powerful defense) they plan to sue small numbers of individuals in court? Perhaps they fear a unified defense from all 130 homeowners against their taxpayer paid law firms.

The coerced connection to a perhaps misbegotten sewer system is an example of the arrogant unrestrained use of power and wealth by those unaccustomed to the use of either or both.

It is unfortunate that this muddled problem has allegedly produced threats, insults, and perhaps business reprisals against the Town Council members. However that fearless president, Harry Truman, said it all with his memorable metaphor: “ If you can’t stand the heat, get of the kitchen.”

Alan Stanley Freemond, Sr.
Jackson Township

Dearborn County 2006 May Primary Election Stats

Dearborn County 2006 May Primary Election Stats
Taken from summary report purchased at the Clerk of Courts Office

Registered voters 36,691
Total Ballots cast 5,521
Republican ballots 4,132 = 74.84%
Democrat ballots 1,375 = 24.90%
Other ballots 14 = .22%
Voter turnout 15.05%

Republican ballot results:

US Senator - Richard Lugar 3,352
US Rep District 6 - George Holland 340 vs Mike Pence 854
Us Rep District 9 - Sam Schultz 604 vs Mike Sodrel 1,656
State Senator- Johnny Nugent 3,468
State Rep District 55- T Scott Bevington 456 vs Tom Knollman 672
State Rep District 68 – Bill Ullrich 1,890
Superior Judge – Sally Blankenship 3,151
Prosecutor – Aaron Negangard 3,167
Auditor – Cary Pickens 2,937
Recorder – Barbara Kaffenberger – 3,013
Sheriff – Linda Estes 928 vs David Lusby 3,115
Assessor – Gary R Hensley, Sr. 2,710
Commissioner District 3- Vera Benning 1,569 vs Ralph Thompson 2,189
County Council District 1- Craig Lysne 375 vs Liz Morris 685
County Council District 4- Dennis A Kraus 682
Clay trustee- Jerry Caldwell 273
Harrison trustee – Tom Cottingham II 192
Logan trustee- Myrtle White 242
Manchester trustee- Nick Werner 222
Miller trustee- Art Little 744
Sparta trustee- Craig Beckley 91
Washington trustee- Clyde Randall 119
Center trustee- Rick Probst 372
Clay board- Scott Fortner 259 and Dorothy Walker 141
Harrison board- Jack Ernst 176
Manchester board- Nancy Pickens 219
Miller board- Randy Bentle 454 and Gary Morris 550
Washington board- Dave Wunderlich 113
Jackson precinct committee- Lynn Deddens 38 vs Shirley King 20
All other boards and trustees had no republican candidates

Democrat ballot results:

US Rep District 6- Ralph Spelbring 68 vs Barry Welsh 100
US Rep District 9 –Gretchen Clearwater 141 vs Baron Hill 895 vs John Hockersmith 32 vs Lendall Terry 59
State Seantor District 43- Lane Siekman 982
State Rep District 55- Dale Lanning 157
State Rep District 68- Bob Bischoff 1,097
Assessor- Joan Seitz- 1,139
Council District 2- Dan Lansing 353
Council District 3- Tom Cheek 374
Center assessor- Jackie Greive 141
Lawrenceburg assessor- Mary Booker 301
Caesar trustee- Sherman Hughes 21
Center trustee- Nancy Fahey Turner 156
Lawrenceburg trustee- Tony Gilb 333
York trustee- Elsie Carr 16 vs Leo Martini 31
Caesar board- Jerald Grace 16 Marilyn Jeffries 24 and Jill Pruss 17
Center board- Ken Greive, Sr. 133 and Doris Schipper 105
Kelso board – Matilda Hoffbauer 77
Lawrenceburg board Dorothy Blackwell 300, James Hamill 253 and Judy Jackson 237
Manchester board- Ike Ellinghausen 78

South Dearborn Schools:
District 1 -Karen Sue Cutter 1043 vs Kevin Elder 950
District 3- (Top two win) Gene Ferfuson 873 vs Karen Loveland 867 vs Michelle Fentress 805 vs Roger Ullrich 1,149

Friday, May 12, 2006

Register/Journal Rebuttal

Choosing to send your child to a private school certainly is a personal choice. Who wouldn’t want to send their child to St. Mary’s. It’s a wonderful small school…only 147 students. Class size ranges from 12-21 students and over the last four years, ISTEP pass rates have ranged from 86.4 to 96%. That is phenomenal. But the fact is, many in our community don’t have that opportunity. Private schools are only open to those who can afford them.

South Dearborn Elementary Schools have been doing a wonderful job. But things aren’t very good in upper grades.

South Dearborn’s overall ISTEP rate was only 65% in 2005. Those low rates are attributed to our High School where many teachers have an average class size of 30 pupils, and some students haven’t had a full year of Math or Language Arts since the sixth grade. Some elementary classrooms at SD have as many as 27 students.

South Dearborn’s suspension rate is 11.6 per 100 students. SD has the 86th highest suspension rate of 298 Indiana School Corporations. Behavior problems are always present in large schools and over crowded class rooms.

Our school board has been trusted with a tremendous amount of money. The per student state support was $4,240 in 2005. The corporation calendar boasts “an annual budget of over $25 Million with buildings and equipment valued in excess of $75 million.” I would guess St. Mary’s operates on a much slimmer per student budget, but manages to do a great job.

SD’s board also has the ability to levy taxes. The tax rate at SD has climbed 6.5 % since 2004 from 1.4338 to 1.528. It did increase, but we didn’t notice because of the assessment mess. It should be noted, that in a school where teachers have as many as 30 students in a classroom, 35.2% of that local money goes to pay debt service and only 42.7% goes to the general fund. The general fund pays teachers and a variety of other expenses. It also should be noted that Lawrenceburg has the lowest school tax rates in the county at 1.3669 AND 65.8% of that goes to their general fund. Lawrenceburg is not disposing of a school building and they have a debt service rate of .2911. Despite what the public has been told, these are largely LOCAL decisions.

If our Center Township School Trustees were sending their children to South Dearborn Middle School, wouldn’t they be a little concerned that the number of suspensions doubled last year from 77 to 158? Wouldn’t they be concerned that 133 SDMS students had more than 10 unexcused absences? If their children had been in a fifth grade classes of 25 at SDMS in 2003, rather than at St. Mary’s in a fifth grade class of 15, would have they been likely to make the first and second motions for a building project landing the corporation in additional debt of 38 million and Aurora Elementary students in a school of nearly 700 students? Would they have asked Aurora teachers for their professional opinion before the decision to convert the middle school to an elementary was made? Who knows?

The board should be working to ensure SD public school students have the same opportunity’s for a high quality education as those who attend that very fine private school in downtown Aurora. The money to make that happen was there in 2003. I’m afraid it’s gone now.


Karen Loveland

AKA “Sour Grapes”

Ralph Thompson Thanks the Voters

Republican Candidate for Commissioner Thanks the Voters

I want to thank the Citizens of Dearborn County for placing their trust in me and indicating their desire for a change in the current direction of Dearborn County.

I also want to thank all the people who contributed their time, effort, and financial support for my campaign.

This Primary win is the first step toward putting common sense back into our local government.

Should I be elected in November, I will continue to need the help and support of the Citizens to redirect the government to the right track for the future of Dearborn County.

Ralph E. Thompson, Jr., PE

Saturday, May 06, 2006

St. Leon Redevelopment Commission Meeting

St. Leon Redevelopment Commission Meeting May 3, 2006
by: Helen Kremer

St. Leon held the second meeting of the Redevelopment Commission on May 3, 2006.

The St. Leon Redevelopment Commission meetings are held the first Wednesday of the month, at 6 p.m., at the St. Leon Firehouse. There are five members of the Commission. David Alig--President, Cliff Bishop-Vice President, Paul Alig--Secretary/Treasurer, and two other members Jerry Bodicker and Vernon Hensley, John Watson is the attorney.

The Commission was formed because of the town's TIF (Tax Increment Financing) status.

The By-Laws to the St. Leon Redevelopment Commission state:
" I. Purpose
1. The St. Leon Redevelopment Commission (the "Commission") has been formed to carry out the public purposes of clearing, replanning, and redeveloping areas in need of redevelopment; planning, replanning, developing and redeveloping economic development areas; and all other purposes consistent with and as prescribed by the provision of IC 36-7-14 and IC 36-7-25, as amended from time to time (collectively, the "Act").

Paul Alig read the minutes.

John Watson stated the Bond applications were filed. He also stated that Jim West (Dearborn County Economic Development) wants to set up a meeting with a couple of St. Leon Redevelopment members, and maybe he (John Watson) would attend also (if the members wanted him).

John Watson said Jim West wants the meeting set-up so R. Fox (Dearborn County Commissioner), and Brian Messmore (Administrator) could attend.

David Alig said he would email Jim West and set-up a meeting.

JIM WEST DOESN'T WANT AN OPEN MEETING, John Watson told the St. Leon Redevelopment members.

The Redevelopment Commission members discussed they would hear where they are coming from (Dearborn County). Watson said an issue could be sewer expansion. Cliff Bishoff asked what kind of jobs and businesses are we looking for? The members talked about getting jobs for young people in the community. The Redevelopment Commission agreed that David Alig would contact Jim West to set-up a meeting.

If too many members attended the meeting, there would be a quorum (3 members). Because of the Sunshine laws, they would not have a forum. They will listen and hear what they have to say, and bring back the information to discuss at the next Redevelopment Commission meeting.

A general discussion took place regarding towns in the SE Indiana area being considered for a Toyota plant. John Watson stated he has heard these people (Toyota) have not asked for anything.

The members mentioned the hiring of Joe Rathz to write the Comprehensive Plan, Zoning and Subdivision ordinances for St. Leon. Also, John Watson told the group that Dearborn County Planning and Zoning office would help St. Leon.

The meeting was adjourned.

St. Leon Planning and Zoning Commission meeting was held at 7:30 p.m.

The members are Cliff Bishoff, Doug Farrow, Kevin Alig, Rodney Eckstein, and Jerry Bulach.
The first issue was billboards-- Larry Weaver (sp.?) wanted permission to have double billboards in the community. Although, Mr. Weaver presented this issue before, the decision was to table his request, and Rodney would investigate further. They will contact Mr. Weaver about a future decision.

Other issues were the addition of a garage, and it met the standards.

The Deddens were to get a legal description of property, and the Commission would sign off on it.

Two issues were discussed about additional lots being divided, and another person requested a swimming pool location--but the applications were not formally brought before the Commission--the applicants have to meet the requirements, and present to the Commission in the proper format

The Commissioners then talked to Mr. Joe Rathz, who will be completing the Comprehensive Plan, and the Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances. He said it would be completed in four phases. He would do it for $35,000, and he believed it could be done in one year.

He would like a steering committee of 10-15 people (a diverse population) of farmers, a plan commission member, a town council member, stay at home mom, people who commute to the city, people who work near here, etc.)

They will then have 1 or 2 public meetings explaining what they are going to do. They will send out a public survey of 6-8 pages, and distribute as many as possible to get a good representation for the steering committee.

Doug Farrow motioned they hire Mr. Rathz, and Kevin Alig seconded the motion.

The meeting was adjourned.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

3 May 2006 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

3 May 2006 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

Present: Hughes, Acting President, and Fox

ABSENT: Benning and Pickens [NOTE: There was no county police officer at this meeting]

Also Present: Ewbank, Attorney, Messmore (for half meeting, then went to “Farm and Park Board meeting”), Stephanie Disbro, subbing for Pickens.

GIS – Margaret Minzner- gave an update report detailing progress on parcel data entry, shared costs, and shared data entry saving county dollars, and the new ortho formats. Data is being updated to show new homes and buildings in the county as well.

Linda Johnson and group from Bright (via daughter Allyson and also Norm Andrews) presented their input on the proposed rezoning of land for Maxwell’s Hidden Acres development. The actual rezone hearing ahs been scheduled for May 16th Commissioner’s Meeting due to the time frame requiring public notice publication for the hearing.

The power point presentation included slides detailing:
The existing community was outlined and handouts to commissioners showed 4 subdivisions in Bright with vacant unsold new homes. Buffering and density concerns were discussed including why the landominiums and condos weren’t shown at the PC meeting, when they actually increase the overall density of the project. (These were on the parcel already zoned R and so were not part of the rezone acreage) Slides showed the surrounding acreage pointing out that Ag use and rural lands are on two sides of this project. A horse farm very close to the S curve on the feeder road was pointed out as an issue. Local school system issues were brought up with taxation increases and quality of the education being a concern. Infrastructure was detailed- citing NO HYDRANTS- and that the fire chief wanted them. All volunteer EMS and fire were a concern with the large population. The sewage smell and runoff from LMH’s plant was discussed. Concerns that the county let LMH cover what was county “territory” were brought up. (DCRSD claimed all lands not currently served by sewer in Dec 2005) Flood prone areas were depicted, as were huge drainage issues from Tucker’s adjoining developments and plant. (These pictures and descriptions were detailed- it is clearly a problem) Road accesses were also discussed. Pictures showed the quality of roads, lack of enforcement, and safety issues with kids driving and hill hopping. Allyson ended with a request that they consider the CURRENT homeowners needs and usage of their property as equal to the needs of the sellers.

Norm Andrews petition was to strongly consider the wildlife habitat, the 300 + signers of the petition against the development, and the drainage issues.
Hughes suggested they contact Soil and Water Conservation District. They had- but no reply as yet.

Allyson also asked why the adjoining property owners aren’t given the “required 30 days notice” on these requests. They have little time to prepare their side of the issue.
They are to contact PC about this…
These items will be repeated at the public hearing on May 16th.

Todd Listerman- Transportation Director had 8 items for approval:

1. Commissioners signed the $40,200 contract for Bernardin, Lochmueller, and Assoc to do the design for Stateline and Stephens intersection. Construction to be completed by end of 2006. He’s hoping Macke can get the light in concurrent to some of the construction.

2. Listerman approved to go to Council May 23 to transfer funds to cover the construction costs for #1 above from the MVH subfund (formerly the bituminous fund)

3. Listerman approved to go to Council May 23 to transfer funds to cover removal of an underground gas tank in D-2 garage to be replaced with above ground tank per IDEM and EPA regs. Cost to be approx. $15,000.

4. Listerman approved to go to Council for transfer of funds to replace 2 dump trucks and get the trucks on a rotating schedule of replacement. This was a problem from several years ago when almost all the trucks were replaced in one year. He wants to do a couple each year so as to budget more easily. Amount is about $200,000-using Major Moves money (about half will cover this)

5. The proposed paving list for 2006 was presented: Roads were paved with only one course and no topcoat. Notice most of these roads are in D-2 and 3. Only One is in D-1, but it has a big price tag. One road this year (Fox)and one next year (Rumsey) are being done because they “PROMISED THE RESIDENTS THEY WOULD DO THEM” per Fox. Rumsey Road will be done in 2007. Rumsey Road residents have meeting minutes documenting their requests.
FOX ROAD (0.46 mi) WILL BE IN 2006. [NOTE: WHEN did Fox Road residents get promise this? Are there minutes to corroborate that? Fox Road is already PAVED (to less than 16 ft) and was widened to 16ft. This paving will add pavement to the road. There are few residents on this road. Rick Fox and his brother and their spouses own almost 90 acres that only has access on this road. They do not live on the acreage. Land cannot be developed along a road that does not have adequate width.]

ROADS TO BE PAVED IN 2006 with estimated costs: total about $ $903,000 including additional wedging, striping, and driveways.

District 1-
Sawdon Ridge- $189,108

District 2-Asche - $96,980
Blue Creek - $89.443
Ester Ridge - $16,520
Fox - $42,746
Kueble- $42,891
McManaman - $14,961
Schwipps - $36,241

District 3 –
Grimsley - $9,292
Huesman - $106,867
Ireland - $58,893
Pollard - $43,614
Probst - $16,727
Rice - $12,928
Stewart St- $10,082
Voltz - $10,325

A point system is being used to get all future paving done and a priority list generated. This list finishes up the “old” roads requiring topcoats etc.

6. Listerman approved to request $100-150,000 from Council for Striping on centerlines. He gave a list of striping schedule to the commissioners. Listerman wants it done in the summer to set the paint well. List is based on ADTs greater than 1000.
He also will monitor to this. Cost is 18cents/foot for double yellow lines.

7. Budget adjustments in the dept due to attrition have allowed Listerman to upgrade all laborers to CDL drivers. He wants each to have the additional $954 annual pay and they will now be able to snow plow 24 hour round the clock. 5 people still are in the process of obtaining their CDL this year to be able to drive the trucks.
Engineering and safety training are being funded. He is also using part time summer help for inventory on bridges and data entry. We are getting resource tracking software similar to Rush, Franklin, Ripley counties. This will enable Listerman to see where costs are going and track equipment usage and personnel costs.

8. Listerman is pursuing money to pay for the Bell’s Branch Bridge and sharing costs with Ohio County and the federal funds. He’s taking $45,000 out of the $578,000 cum bridge fund to start this. Construction should begin in 2007. This already has an INDOT DES s #.

Claims and minutes were signed.

Ewbank noted that a suit was dropped from an inmate claiming the law library in the jail was insufficient.

Fox asked about Dutch Hollow road- Listerman said he is waiting on further input from the residents on their requests. Nugent and INDOT are coming to the county to look at intersections on US 50 and Dutch Hollow and also Blair road for safety issues.

Rebecca Laile called Benning regarding assessment issues and Benning asked her to be put under Hughes name at the meeting, She was a no show.

Meeting adjourned at 8 PM
Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Dearborn County Government
Primary Election Results

Commissioner- District 3 :
Ralph Thompson defeated incumbent Vera Benning- 58%-42%

David Lusby defeated Linda Estes 77% -23%

Council District (Bright area)
Liz Morris defeated Craig Lysne 65%-35%

Monday, May 01, 2006


Vote tomorrow- May 2- or don't complain.

You must be interested in local politics or you wouldn't be reading this blog. Tues. May 2 is PRIMARY day. All voters in the county can vote in the primary.
You will be asked which ballot you want- Republican or Democrat.

Only the Republican ballot has choices in the local county elections.

You have a choice for commmissioner-
either RALPH THOMPSON or Vera Benning.

You have a choice for sheriff- Dave Lusby or Donna Estes.

In Bright - you also have a choice for County Council- Liz Morris or Craig Lysne.

Remind your family, friends, and neighbors. Bring a picture ID- like a driver's license. It's the new law.

Exercise your power - vote tomorrow.

A Trend Developing?

One of our serious problems is the dismal educational background, with few exceptions, of the elected officials throughout the county. They don't understand what is needed, pander to the rich and well connected, and they are led around by outside people and developers who have lawyers and accountants to look out for the developers' interests.

Alan Stanley Freemond, Sr.
Jackson Township.