Wednesday, November 29, 2006

28 November 2006 Dearborn County Council Meeting Notes

28 November 2006 Dearborn County Council Meeting Notes

Health Insurance and DCEDI Dominate Council Discussion

Present: Fehrman, Chairman, Kraus, Sr., Lansing, Cheek, Ullrich, Mitter, and Morris.
Stephanie Disbro was sitting in for Pickens, Auditor.

Ralph Thompson, Commissioner-elect was in the audience.
Judges Witte and Humphrey were each present for parts of the meeting.

Bonnie Shepherd spoke about health insurance issues for 110 employees who signed a petition- some of whom were in the audience. She reiterated her appeal made to commissioners last week and asked Council to carve money out of the budget somewhere to help lower employee out of pocket costs. She noted 8 new employee positions were created in the budget for $188,000 and that some people got more than a 3% raise that the rank and file received.
One commissioner told her that he got a $6,000 raise and didn’t need it so he was considering donating ½ to life squad or fire dept. She estimated Council members make about $130 per hour for the 60 hours they work a year.
She and Ullrich got into a tete a tete over him calling her a Chief Rapture Girl stirring up trouble at the courthouse.

Ullrich informed her that council sets the budget amount- but commissioners buy the insurance plan.

Shepherd said that Kramer told her to take the blood test and “play the game.” The blood tests are technically voluntary, but if the employee doesn’t do this they pay $200 per month premium vs. $77 if they do.

[Note: Later in discussion it was said that this insurance blood test is required to get the best insurance rates. And the test consists of routine screens as well as PSA (a test for prostate cancer), and other tests. They say they are doing it to get a baseline and to help them get care needed. And it’s “free.” Kramer also was said to have told the group the county pays ½ of these costs.
It is not reasonable to assume the county isn’t paying for these totally. The insurance companies are not giving out free health care. The costs are built into their plans. So taxpayers and employees are paying for these tests too.
Secondly, tests of this nature should be interpreted by the patient’s doctor- who knows their medications and health history. There is also the danger of false positives and test results causing undue anxiety in patients when not part of a total care program. Family doctors are the best source of individualized patient health advice for ongoing care and chronic conditions. This is like practicing medicine without a license.
Third, there is a danger to the employee in that these tests can also be used to build a history that will make them ineligible for insurance down the road. Insurance companies know your drugs because they pay the pharmacy bills. They know what tests have been run on you, because they pay those bills. Now they are seeking to actually know what your health future might be. This is a huge invasion of privacy. And it needs to stop.
If employees want to voluntarily participate in a wellness program, that is fine- but this is coercive- forcing them to divulge personal health histories essentially in order to be insured at a better personal rate with GROUP insurance. This is not private insurance.]

Fehrman informed the group that the county pays 74% of their $16 million budget on employees.
$3.4-3.6 million is spent on health insurance. (The plans cost about $12,700 apiece per Fehrman) The county is paying the bulk of those costs. Employees will be paying $75 a month.

[NOTE: As a point of reference- Health Alliance insurance thru Health Span is costing employees of the Cincinnati Alliance hospitals about $185 a month for family plan for the Alliance Select version of the plan where you pay more out of pocket and can see out of network doctors. The hospitals also self insure, similar to the county.]

Cheek gave some private sector costs to put this in perspective. Thompson asked council if they had checked into pooling employees with other entities to get better rates. Fehrman said they had, but our plan was “richer” than others so that would cut our benefits and force others to raise theirs.
[NOTE: These situations and costs are rapidly changing now- forcing the county into a plan similar to the mainstream.]

Other comments from council members concerning ways to cut fat from the budget:
Sheriff’s cars are left running at restaurants supposedly to enable them to have a quick start. [NOTE: That seems reasonable for a carry-out order perhaps, but not a meal inside. Besides the gas costs, the pollution caused by an idling car should be eliminated.]
The county engineer drives a county car to and from Seymour daily. [NOTE: This was negotiated at his hiring, to cover the time to get his home built in the county.]
Mitter challenged the council pay of $130 for 60 hours- saying that council members work numerous hours on other boards and county work. [NOTE: Mitter does as Plan Commission Chair and also on master plan, but not all council members are as civic minded.]
Council agreed that communication needed to happen. This plan is apparently done for 2007. [NOTE: Doesn’t Messmore function as an administrator who should be communicating the commissioner decisions to employees?]

Special appropriations- additionals:

$25,000 was approved from Riverboat revenue with Cheek the only Nay for gas and oil.

$1395 times 15 inmates for 4 months approved from Riverboat Revenue for inmate housing out of county with Mitter the only Nay.

$5,000 was approved for part time help and $12,000 for autopsies for the Coroners office.

$491 for Court ordered drug tests for the probation dept. was approved.

Extension office was tabled to get further info.

Mike Rozow, of the Chamber of Commerce, was grilled by Mitter regarding how much of the $25,000 goes to DCEDI funding. (About $20,000) Mitter said his support for EDI has dried up and he is unwilling to spend another dime of taxpayer money on EDI as they are supporting a developer who is in violation of county zoning ordinances.
Rozow said the money goes from the county to the chamber to Redevelopment Commission to EDI. In addition $50,000 from Tourism Bureau (CVTB) goes to Redevelopment Commission, which works with EDI.
Rozow said part of his salary comes out of this too.
Mitter said he’d worked hard on the TIFs with EDI and felt their latest actions were a slap in the face.
The money was approved at this point with discussion later on these issues.
[NOTE: Mitter must have seen the circuitous route this money was taking. It seems that the county needs to clean up their funding mechanism on these private entities.]

The contingency fund was approved to pay $200,000 in additional health insurance costs. The $3.2 million from January was not enough.

2007 salary ordinance was signed.

Extension was untabled and money transfer approved for them.

Bill Black asked about his possible part time help or assistant. Cheek finally told him that if there is money left he thought health insurance would take precedence over more Homeland security. Apparently all the grants and paperwork are getting extensive.

At 9:30 PM Alex Humphrey son of Judge Humphrey introduced himself as an 8th grader at St. Lawrence working on his Eagle Scout badge. He has raised $19,500 of the $25,000 needed for the eternal flame to be installed at Greendale cemetery. He has also sought $20,000 in a grant that hasn’t been awarded and may only realistically be half that amount. He plans to use excess funds raised to maintain and keep the flame lit as often as possible considering gas costs. Council approved the ENTIRE remaining $5,500 needed from Community Services Funds. All ayes. Council members commended Alex for his dedication.

Minutes were approved for the year with Cheek and Morris abstaining on those when they were absent.

Mark Mitter then addressed Council regarding the details of the Plan Commission Meeting last night and stating at the outset that he was immediately resigning as Council’s rep to the Plan Commission so that he could speak freely on these issues.
[NOTE: Council needs to resolve these issues quickly and then attempt to get Mitter to reconsider serving on PC.]

He said that this stemmed from issues regarding his ability to speak at the Plan Commission hearing raised by an applicant’s attorney (Lisa Lehner) who was informed by Nicole Daily (of Bayer Becker Engineering) that Mitter had a conflict of interest. Daily was present and Mitter called her to the podium to answer questions. Daily related that she had reported to Lehner that Mitter had said at a previous meeting that he was going to step down to avoid a conflict of interest when the Mariah Business Park came in. She wasn’t sure what the issue was- she said. She knows there is a conflict with one of the owners- Kramer- who owns land next to Mitter’s home. She does not know who all the owners are. She knows there are questions regarding how they are using the property next to Mitter’s home. She said Lehner already knew about this. Daily said she wasn’t aware that Lehner was going to use her name in the meeting last night.

Mitter said he worked for the county for 11 years as a volunteer and then as an elected official. “Just because I’m elected I don’t give up my right to free speech. I stepped down because I filed a complaint of a zoning violation against the owner of Mariah Development who also owned land next to me.”
Mitter met with DCEDI and others regarding concerns over this owner doing a new project in the county when in violation on another piece of land. EDI said they viewed this man as a property owner only- selling his land. Mitter then showed Council the plans with Mariah DEVELOPMENT on them as owner. He said the owners are also the developers.
Metter said- we fought for TIF districts as a development tool. What do we get? Self-storage units and gas stations? Does that create jobs? We capture tax revenue to help create jobs. These businesses are not going to do that. Mitter wants job creation and increased property values. This does NOT do that. Staff report at Planning office showed numerous deficiencies in the plan and roadway design. EDI wants a shovel ready site. We need to look at these issues and not create a further problem up there at I-74. We want industry with a POSITIVE impact on the community. The attorney for the developers (Lehner) only wanted an approval- no discussion.
Mitter told them he did not speak on that issue at PC, he resigned tonight so that he was free to speak on it with no potential legal repercussions for the county.
EDI wants one in the win column and it doesn’t matter what it is. Mitter outlined slopes greater than 20% LOS F for access points, SR1 access problems, and improper use of valuable land in a TIF.
Cheek was strongly against supporting anyone in violation of county ordinances. “This is NOT the right thing to do.”Mitter said EDI needs to pay attention to county government if they want our money.
Cheek said we’ve also paid out a lot for supportive services with GIS, qualified staff in planning, and this EDI support sounds like the good old boy system.
Mitter said an ad ran in the local paper listing this 56 acres as M zoned property as if it were a done deal.
Daily said they didn’t know that had happened with their client. She thought EDI didn’t either.
Mitter said we need to send a message to EDI. Daily said they should be here to answer to this.
Mitter said West was at PC at the order of the executive committee to support the Mariah Development Park. Mitter said he was so worked up by this issue that he didn’t sleep till 4 AM after the PC meeting.
Fehrman is to set up a public special meeting with Council and DCEDI to air these issues.

Fehrman and Council joked around with Bo Lansing and wished him well at his last meeting after 24 years on County Council. Lansing will get his plaque at the County Christmas party in 2 weeks.

Meeting adjourned at 10:30 PM
Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mitter Resigns PC- 27 November 2006 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

Mitter Resigns PC- 27 November 2006 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

Meeting lasted 6 hours and 20 minutes. I have condensed 14 pages of notes.

Present: Mark Mitter, Chairman, Patrick deMaynadier, Jane Ohlmansiek, Tarry Feiss, Nick Held, Mike Hall, Robert Laws, and Dennis Kraus, Jr.
Absent: Jeff Hughes
Also Present: Arnie McGill, Attorney, Mark McCormack, Planning Director
Also absent: Kate Rademacher, Enforcement Officer.

1. Tom Kent requested a change in written commitments for Perfect View Zone Map on SR 1 in Miller Township. Specific request was to modify the language so that he could GRADE on slopes greater than 20% for his roadbed to cut through the hill and not on the edge of it. The actual road will be on less than 20% slope when finished. The geotech engineer thinks the road will be less prone to slippage this way.
No public comment. Hall remarked that it’s like new 48 vs. old 48 in design change. Board concerned that they would set a precedent with this. All agreed this was a small section and not a precedent.
Patrick de Maynadier motioned and Bob Laws seconded to give a favorable recommendation to the commissioners to allow the geotech study to be submitted to allow grading on this section of 20-25% grade with the understanding that the road is finished to less than 20% grade and that NO BUILDINGS will be along this section. All ayes.

2. Zone change request from Ag to R for 108 single family homes on 56 acres of White Farm on North Dearborn/Gaynor Ridge/Short Roads in Logan Township.Owner/Applicant: White Farm Development LLC (Tucker and Schmidt) and Becker Bayer
This application took almost 2.5 hours.

When McCormack presented the materials and pictures he included calculations on densities in the area at the request of the PC.
Farmland averaged 2.16 acres/unit. Harley Springs averaged 1.26 acres/unit. White Farm proposed to be .519 acres/unit. That makes it over twice as dense as the next densest subdivision in the area. Tucker cited other subdivisions in Bright and by East Central as back up for his proposed density. He stated that these were adjoining farmland also.

Tucker offered $20,000 to be donated to N Dearborn Elementary about a ½ mile away for use to upgrade their playground and $30,000 to be put in the pot to repair other sections of Gaynor Ridge. Tucker said he realized this was a small amount compared to what Gaynor Ridge needs.
Tucker said this application is different from the previous one that was given an unfavorable because he decreased homes from 131 to 108 (17% reduction), changed the landscaping to increase buffering, changed the street configuration, and changed the average frontages to 100 ft outside the development edges and 85 ft internally. There are several homes facing the main county roads and accessing them directly via individual driveways.
This project will donate 40 ft half ROW to North Dearborn on that perimeter. No trees will be cut in the 20 ft buffer by written commitments. There will be no buildings in that buffer either. The minimum sq footage is 1500 sq ft on ranches. Tucker passed out a booklet illustrating trees, homes, and monuments. He said it would cost $175-200,000 to do all the upgrades to roads and tree plantings around the perimeter. He cited those as benefits to the community at large.
Tucker said there were effects to the outside community that he attempted to mitigate with his $20,000 to playground at the school and $30,000 for more roadwork on Gaynor Ridge beyond his development edges. The $30,000 is paid, as each of three phases would be complete at $10,000 per phase.
The 108 homes will be in by 2011 at the earliest.
The board asked about combined driveways on the county street sides. That was to be discussed at primary plat phase.


10 people spoke: Tom Gaynor, Todd Schumate, Ralph Geis, Bob Gaynor, Alan Acheson, Sheila Henderson, Bill Williams, Glenn Crocker, Brian Richardson, and Steve Kuhn. There was also one letter from Mr. Baer, an adjoiner.

Their opposing comments centered primarily on density issues, safety issues, and school overcrowding and taxes.

Moving farm equipment and the number of long time family farms that are working farms in the area were cited as evidence of the rural/ag nature of the area. Traffic along the windy, hilly area with school speeders was also cited. Several of the speakers illustrated density concerns with maps, percentages, and pictures. Some contested the idea that this was an appropriate “mix” of housing stock.
School class sizes in elementary grades exceeding 32 per class were noted. The $20,000 gesture for a one-time fix to playground was seen as not fixing the EDUCATIONAL impact of the development. Some families have over 6 generations of history in the area. One went so far as to state that he felt that in his humble opinion, Tucker missed on all 5 criteria for the zone change.

Several noted they are NOT Bright- they are Logan Township- and they are rural.

One showed 108 houses in an aerial picture as a big ugly tumor. He also noted 16 driveways directly accessing Short and 12 on Gaynor Ridge. This is an Ag area and there is nothing wrong with that field staying Ag. Many proposed 1-2 acres per home to make it a true rural setting.

Tucker and the PC then discussed the comments for the next 30 minutes.
Tucker insisted this was controlled development and it is exactly where we want to grow. Listerman was consulted about the road changes and noted there was some concern with curves on Gaynor Ridge. He also related that some of these aren’t on the 2030 plan. The Short Road alignment fix was good and county had already trimmed some trees to improve visibility.

PC board had a hard time seeing this BLEND with the area. They had issues with the driveways accesses to main roads. They saw buffers on the east side by Farmland but not the others.

Tucker thought that if others could access these streets, why not his development?
Mitter told him – these were in the past- we seek to control those issues for the future safety of the road. He said you got this almost right on the internal streets, not the outside ones. Tucker said they couldn’t lose a bunch of units and afford the road fixes etc.

Patrick de Maynadier motioned and Nick Held 2nd to pass an UNFAVORABLE recommendation to commissioners as this does not meet Section 540 requirements for a zone change. All Ayes except for Bob Laws Nay.

PC took a break for 15 minutes.

3. Mariah Business Park Zone Map amendment request for 32 of 56c acres on SR1 and Olds SR1 (Sawmill Road) in Kelso Township from H-1 to M-1. Applicant presenting was Bayer Becker for Mariah Development and their attorney , Lisa Lehner.

[NOTE: This is in the TIF (Tax Incremental Financing) district recently created by the Redevelopment Commission and Commissioners with the support of DCEDI also. It is also located right next to the new school on SR1 and Sawmill Road.]


McCormack presented the staff report. Notably there were letters missing on the school and fire/ems support. The traffic study showed a level of service F as designed for the access to SR1 for the Park. The other 5-lot industrial park development for gas station, convenience store, hardware, storage units etc was essentially tied to this access also, so if the variances weren’t granted, then that one would drop out also.

Nicole Daily of Becker Bayer did most of the presentation for the applicant. She noted buffer areas and helping to balance the fiscal problems of county development. This doesn’t affect the number of kids in school, so the school board was looking at it in relation to safety issues etc. Water was OK but fire flows had not been calculated. Slopes greater that 20% were at the back of the property by I-74. Preliminary grading indicates areas greater than 20% grade may be disturbed. They are willing to hire a geotech. They think they have an 8-inch main on SR 1.

DeMaynadier said the fire dept won’t give a letter till they know what the M-1 is going to be. He cited- speaking from experience in another state- the pharmaceutical or chemical industries that would mean a much different form and level of fire protection.


Earl Dawson- adjoining property owner was confused about acreage- 56 acres- but they are only taking 32 for this and 9 for the next application- which leaves 15 unaccounted for. Daily said these were interstate ROW.
He questioned their ability to access SR1 with less than 800 ft available.
He said county is looking for planned development and this road is a mess; more turn lanes on top of each other and conflicting traffic with business across the street. He noted also they have NOT controlled the Johnson grass on the property- and there is a law against that.

Jim West- DCEDI (Dearborn County Economic Development Initiative)- came to speak in favor of this, as they want an inventory of available shovel ready sites to capture Honda spin-offs. To date they have no sites available.

Mark Mitter- came to the podium.

Lisa Lehner- attorney for the applicant- immediately objected, stating Mitter had a conflict of interest. [NOTE: This is the same attorney who didn’t think that Maxwell, a developer, or Fehrman, a realtor, had any conflict of interest on the sewer board.]

Mitter stated he had no pecuniary (monetary) interest in the project.

Lehner went on to suggest that case law would show they had a reason to take legal action due to this conflict. She mentioned that Mitter was not an adjoining owner.

[NOTE: Neither was West or Lehner for that matter]

Jane Ohlmansiek, acting chairman for this case, said that all citizens have a right to speak and that right is not given up just because they are on the board.
DeMaynadier said that Mitter speaking as a citizen and not voting is no conflict. Kraus, Jr, asked for McGill-the board’s attorney’s opinion.

McGill noted that in the past they could speak as long as they step down- EVEN as surveyors who did have pecuniary interests. He saw no problem with this as the board was making a recommendation and not the decision either.

Mitter said he has no pecuniary interest but Jim West does. He said Lehner seeks to shut down public input.

Mitter then stepped back and said he decided not to speak, even though McGill said it was OK.

Chris Mueller- I brought up that this M-1 zone was in the TIF district- (This seemed to be a surprise to several of the board members!)
I mentioned problems with interstate access as being inadequate particularly showing what happened in Harrison and also in Batesville as they had to upgrade and the turmoil and traffic issues that caused during construction.
I noted with two schools in the area and the entire northern county access here, it would be detrimental to the development of the area. I noted there was no development plan attached- and we even have those in Residential zoning- they would be far more important here. I said with the TIF district all these things need to be nailed down so we do not waste the declared area on gas stations and low paying industry uses.
I mentioned with the schools so close they need to know what is going in there because if they zone it M-1 with no Dev Plan they can legally put anything there that is in the M-1 district. There were missing utility and fire letters.
I strongly suggested they at least table this.

End Public comment.

Listerman talked about the road issues and the access being within the turn lanes. The Bayer Becker study did not use the deceleration lane in their calculations. They need 620 ft and Sawmill is only 450 ft away.
Access A has LOS of F, this does adversely affect SR1- people get impatient, and then accidents occur. They need to get connectivity across lot 5 to adjoining property on NW.

Daily noted schools were concerned with M-2 so they switched use to M-1.

Katy Lambert of Bayer Becker did the traffic study and attempted to justify her results. Noted they were restricted because of their small SR1 frontage. Said OUR DRIVE IS OUR PROBLEM. Said people will learn to use Sawmill Road access. Wanted to get INDOT to get traffic signal there.

DeMaynadier- said how do you explain to parents that their kid’s school bus just got T-boned there.

Lambert noted there was a HUGE COMP PLAN THAT WAS DOING THE WHOLE AREA. (Vieste/Level 5?)

Mark Rosenberger of Bayer Becker said he sensed they were going to table this and that they would probably have to study the interstate access as Chris Mueller suggested. What other concerns did the board have?

DeMaynadier said- traffic, uses going in, especially close to the school, access issues, etc.

Kraus, Jr said they should contact other owners to see about better access.

DeMaynadier motioned and Hall 2nd to TABLE pending specific info to address matters in section 540 for 60 days or less.
All ayes.
The next 5- lot Mariah Park was tabled also for 60 days max.


Mr. Stenger representing Ralph Meierjohn on Ameritech (The Glenn Property by Greendale on SR 1 proposed development) spoke to the board touting their developments and wanting to take a couple of them to tour so as not to violate open door laws. He also suggested they could go tour with Jim west if they preferred. Apparently West is in favor of their development too as it provides upscale housing for all those Honda spin off workers [NOTE: YIKES!!!!! There is more at stake than Open Door laws- PC members are not allowed to be influenced prior to a hearing. What he was suggesting was attempting to influence them in favor of his company’s product. I saw no one take him up on the offer and apparently no one called him back when he placed calls to the members.]
Stenger wanted them to see the quality of their homes and visit the Monte Vista area in Western Hills by I-74.

Mark McCormack- presented packet for their review for next meeting, and noted the section on animals in R districts. PC meets Dec 18th next.

Dec 4th is the Open House for Master Plan Public Comment at Sunman Dearborn Middle School Cafeteria from 709 PM. Comments will be written, submitted then or later, oral with staff at stations, and may also use colored dots to vote for their choices of land uses.

Mark Mitter addressed the board from the podium stating his intent to resign his Plan Commission post Tues night at the Council meeting.
He said that 11 years ago he was asked to serve on BZA by commissioners because it was all screwed up and people weren’t being heard. He has confidence in the PC and BZA boards because we can disagree and still go out and slap each other on the back in the parking lot afterward. He said he fought hard and was a big proponent of economic development including Vieste and the TIF. He wanted to speak to that issue tonight because of all his background and saw the applicant only trying to silence his input. He thinks he can do more from this side of the podium now, with his resignation. He said the advertising of the 56-acre M-1 district a month prior to it being heard even makes the public suspect that this was all a done deal. He thought that was wrong. Said it was a pleasure and good luck to all of you.

The board attempted to get Mitter to reconsider. Discussion clearly showed their desire to keep him on PC. Mitter wouldn’t change his mind. Other comments included Lehner as an attorney trying to influence board to not allow a citizen/board member input by insinuating there was case law (not cited but mentioned) that would uphold her contention that he had a conflict of interest. That was why the board sought their own attorney’s advice.

[NOTE: In my opinion, this is a huge loss of experience and leadership for the Plan Commission. Mitter and I have argued and agreed and argued some more - many times over the past 11 years. While I don’t always agree with him, I rarely have felt the need to criticize his handling of the public during any meeting. He has presented an open forum almost without exception during his tenure on BZA and PC. I expect he will be hearing from many others regarding his resignation.]

Meeting adjourned at 1:20 AM Tuesday 28 November 2006

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

21 November 2006 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

21 November 2006 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

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

No uniformed police officer was present at the side table although several were present for the first item on the agenda.

Commissioner-elect Ralph Thompson was in the audience.

1. Bonnie Shepherd- county employee spokesperson for a petition of almost 90 employees requesting the county reconsider the health insurance cost increases. She read a prepared statement with 9 questions concerning why the increase, how many proposals were received, employee education to keep costs down, other revenues possibly available to carry the increase, the annual cost to keep the present plan, and why family doctors couldn’t do the blood tests required to be part of the wellness program to keep costs down.
They respectfully wanted to be included in future decisions of this type; they wanted three tiers of plans, single, family, and 2-person household.
Some dept. heads objected to employees standing up and objecting (Pickens later said this was in reference to his dept- where he asked them to wait for the meeting on the 28th)
Shepherd also stated that Ullrich, the elected councilman and fellow worker told her that he told all the employees that she was the “Chief Rapture Girl” stirring all this up at the sheriff’s dept. She said she felt this was inappropriate at that she’s just trying to get answers on issues that affect all employees.

Mike Kramer of Pinnacle Advisory Group re-explained the plan to commissioners and employees at Fox’s request. There were 10 bidders on this plan. He talked also about the costs being $700,000 more than the previous year and estimates almost $1.6 million more next year. They budgeted for $2.4 million and the county is self-insured. Pinnacle is the broker and Health Span is the administrator. Apparently schools and municipalities have higher user rates on health care.
The blood draw is done by the company to get 33 tests- standardized, eliminates chasing down test results from multiple doctors, and give consistent reporting for the patient.
Kramer noted that hardly anyone shows up for meetings to explain these plans, when offered for staff.
[NOTE: What does the Wellness Care component of this plan cost? Could there be savings if all government employees, cities, and towns too, and schools combined resources and bid out as a large group?]
Commissioners will investigate more and the group is going to Council next.
Pickens noted that this was not really changeable for this year. Budget was set. He also said it is one of the best plans around and is still a perk.

2. Todd Listerman- Transportation Dept Director:
Triple Whipple Contract signed
Commissioners accepted Tall Oaks Drive 0.2 mi and Schipper Court 0.04 mile into the county maintenance and inventory of roads. They are off Dutch Hollow outside Aurora.

3. NACO Prescription coverage was tabled as Messmore forgot to get it checked with the insurance consultants.

4. The second half of a state grant agreement was signed for the Dept. of Corrections.

5. Commissioners signed the lobbyist activity report for $36,000 for the county from Frick and Associates. [NOTE: Is this a new lobbyist group besides Barnes and Thornburgh and Lewes- Kappes?]

6. Claims and Minutes signed

7. Ewbank read the amended credit card ordinance incorporating new State Board of Accounts rules. Messmore said there were no comments from dept. heads. Commissioners signed it. The ordinance seems to increase the logging requirements for each dept. on their credit cards. The rest was similar to previous ordinances.

8. Hughes will look into an ordinance amendment regarding replacing existing structures- he thinks there are some common sense rules that need to be looked at.

Meeting adjourned 7:10 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Friday, November 17, 2006

16 November 2006 Dearborn County Regional Sewer District Meeting Notes

16 November 2006 DCRSD Meeting Notes

Present: Chairman Hankins, Maxwell, Dennerline, Fehrman, and Holland
Absent: Enzweiler and Pruss
Also Present: Baer, Health Dept., Benning, Secretary (?), Kramer, Attorney, Quinn, Engineer, and Messmore, County Adm.

Dick Robertson pf Level 5 Engineering/Vieste was also present in the audience

Minutes of Nov 2nd were approved with Kramer’s correction regarding Ameritech being revised to reflect efforts to get Greendale’s approval, which hasn’t been achieved yet.

Treasurer’s report was in their packets- Pruss was absent for medical reasons.

Old Business:
Cole Lane and Stewart Street- Draft copy of agreement between Aurora and DCRSD is going to their council. Fehrman noted that Mayor Hastings wanted to see drawings of the main and trunk lines. Quinn said Turner had them but he’d take another copy to the mayor. Tap fees were discussed more- Quinn was not in favor of tap fees for existing users, when correcting a problem as opposed to new construction. Fehrman said the Mayor did NOT want to waive tap fees in this case. Some DCRSD members thought the $20,000 that would be raised by tap fees wasn’t “significant.”
Maxwell wanted to know if there was an order for new people to tap on. What REQUIRES them to hook on? Baer said state law allows the Regional authority to do it. Aurora has the power to also. Fehrman said that Aurora prefers to offer it as a one-time price now and if they sign up later it is more expensive. There are 43 homes in this project. Only one is opposed to hook-up with a septic system less than 5c years old.
DCRSD wants Aurora to order the grinders and the county will pay for them. They will have draft document by early next week for DCRSD to review.
Dennerline and Maxwell motioned and 2nded to sign the order to proceed for Lykins to begin Construction on Cole Lane and Stewart Street.

Serenity Ridge- Hankins said LMH will serve it if we allow them to expand their CTA to these sections. Board not in favor of supporting this if at some date we have to buy it back. [NOTE: This seems to indicate a potential DCRSD buyout of LMH???]
Dennerline also didn’t want to step into St. Leon’s territory. Hankins said LMH has NOT been to DCRSD to discuss any of this. Dennerline and Maxwell motioned and 2nded to communicate with LMH that we’ll serve Serenity Ridge and then see if we can fee across the road (Henderson) to LMH for transport and treatment. Board felt this was the only way to expeditiously serve Serenity Ridge. Hankins will meet with Tucker near the end of November.

New Business:
SDRSD and DCRSD met Tues Nov 14 for a “spirited and lively debate
Hankins said the new idea that came from this for consideration was that DCRSD and SDRSD COMBINE and go to work to serve the county as a whole. No decision- but Hankins thought the idea had merit.

Dennerline wants Quinn to look at extending G-dale sewer line to Guilford along SR1.
Maxwell wanted to know when we will see Woolpert study. – as it was due in early Sept.
Hankins said they want to wait and coordinate it with the future land use map.

Maxwell wants GRAVITY along SR1 with Kent paying only his percentage use of it, rather than the force-feed smaller line Kent is proposing currently. They weren’t sure in Greendale was 10 or 12- inch at Green Road.
Quinn is to see if Woolpert studied this also. Messmore noted that Woolpert meets with them in December again.
There was some discussion of costs of $600,000 for 1.5 miles of gravity feed at $80/ft. Dennerline asked if a 6-inch forced main could process more sewage than a 12-inch gravity.

Hankins proposed going to monthly meetings. Board suggested keeping 2 in case they need it and canceling one each month. They were checking on how to give notice of cancellation.

For December they will meet on the 7th and cancelled the 21st.

[NOTE: This will save $350 in per diem expenses (7 x $50) each month plus attorney costs and engineer as well. Noting how much repetition is at each meeting, this appears to be a good idea- as long as they can settle on a pattern and notify public of the “real” meeting time each month.]

Meeting adjourned at 8:05 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Thursday, November 09, 2006

8 November 2006 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

8 November 2006 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

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

1. New recording system was being used during this meeting. [NOTE: This didn’t help the sound system as heard by the audience however.]

2. NACo (National Association of Counties)Rx (prescription discount) Program. If the county is a member of NACo then any resident of the county is able to tap into this offering as long as the county has a paid membership. Pickens said it was a no-brainer- no cost to the county. It covers only drugs not covered by your plan. Ewbank wanted Messmore to check this with the insurance advisors first.
[NOTE: For more info see, which lists he county as already being a member of NACo. This plan is administered through Caremark and utilizes a negotiated discount from pharmacies. Many organizations offer these types of discount cards- AARP, AAA, etc.]

2. Transportation- Todd Listerman- final plans for Stateline and Stephens were signed. Bids to go out in January and construction in March.
Dennis Kraus, Jr- county surveyor asked for preliminary thoughts on extending Cook Road maintenance 300 ft to accommodate a lot split for the Volker Family farm of 80 acres. Plans to create 50 ft ROW and gravel road with 10 ft lane and 40 ft radius turnaround.
Fox thought it would help county to have a turnaround for maintenance of the entire road. Ewbank wants Listerman to consult state statute to be sure they comply. Road has to meet county standards at applicant’s expense. This will be head publicly at a later meeting.

3. GIS Update- Margaret Minzner- listed several areas that GIS is involved in:
the EMA project, 911 addresses and centerline data, the GIS server has a new name- ARCGIS and hopefully a grant, historic structures grant, data development with contour and soil map layers, working to get pricing for rectifying parcel to match the other maps, possibly using Ball State students, and trying to get digital CAD submissions instead of paper on permitting process.
Messmore wanted to know if she wanted commissioners to recommend that P&Z require this. Then discussion ensued concerning some who don’t have that capability.
Minzner has done several presentations this year at conferences also.

4. County Farm Update from Dennis Kraus, Jr. – surveys of the shooting range, animal shelter, county garages area and YES home were presented. They also discussed access points to the unmarked pauper graves. This all encompasses about 45c acres of the 360-acre Farm. The county parks are continuing to farm it until they plan an actual park with fields etc there per Fox. Drawings go to tech review at Planning Office next Monday at 9 am

5. Aurora EMS contract signed.

6. Claims and minutes signed.

7. Commissioner meeting dates approved as 1st and 3rd Mondays ay 6 PM – same as this year. [NOTE: It would have been courteous to ask the incoming commissioner, who was sitting in the audience, if he had any problems with that schedule.]

8. Ewbank presented the credit card ordinance and wanted to use SBOA manual rules. He wanted the dept. heads to be notified by Messmore of these as it has increased paperwork.
Four zone change ordinances need to be sent to Planning office- they were requested by Planning. Ewbank explained that the ordinances were codified at the end of each year and put into their book.
(Perfect View 9/19/06, Sun Valley 7/18/06. Hidden Acres 5/16/06, and Lonnie Steele Golf Course 5/3/05)
[NOTE: When is county going to get their ordinances online similar to the zoning codes?]

9. Ewbank also reported on pending litigation including the civil rights case for a former jail inmate and 2 tort claims for an accident in which the litigants were intoxicated.

10. Hughes yielded time to Sharon Johnson of Jenny Lynn as she had called him earlier. She stated she was there just to see what they were doing- in case it came up at the meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 7 PM.

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

An Election Epilogue

Well all the Think Link signs are down on my street. A particular pole on Pribble Road was the site of a rather lively exchange of political banter over the last several weeks. All postings have been removed. Tonight there was a final sign that I think merits public recognition as an example of graciousness.

Passing cars can see Frank Linkmeyer's final message for his old neighbors on Pribble Road. The new sign says:

Thanks for a great race.
Good Luck.

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Monday, November 06, 2006

Civil Society?

I don't know about the rest of Dearborn County but I am totally fed up with all the "Candidate Bashing". What ever happened to the decent politicians that ran strictly on a platform without bashing their opponent? I would much rather vote for someone who would go out among the people and talk on the issues. Not come to my door and bad mouth their opponent. I feel like it's come to the point where we go to the polls and cast our vote for the lesser of two evils, not for someone who has the best interests of the people.

Our sons, fathers, and husbands did not go and fight for our rights to choose the lesser of two evils.

A Concerned Citizen

Friday, November 03, 2006

Need a definition of 'Hubris'?

Need a definition of 'Hubris'?

You need look no farther than the acts of the self-appointed, self-anointed, GOP aristocracy of Dearborn County in trying to nullify the choice of the people in the primary. The bitter taste of defeat might explain Vera Bennings' mean betrayal of the voters, but what about the rest of the gang? The consensus I am hearing is that these folks and their friends are the ones that stand to gain the most from unbridled development so they went shopping for another candidate to champion their bottom line. When these dogs lay down together you can bet we ALL wake up with fleas - if we let them. Ironically, the only way to remind these BIG men of the GOP that they are answerable to the public for public policy is to vote for the REAL Republicans that were selected in the primary.

Thanksgiving Dinner at Carnegie Hall Sunday

Carnegie Hall's annual ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT Thanksgiving Dinner. Sunday, Nov. 5 11:30 a.m. - 2p.m.

14687 Main St. Moores Hill, IN
Free will donations
Turkey, ham, and all the trimmings, salad bar and desserts,
For more information, (812) 744 4015

submitted by:
Pat Holland
Sparta Township

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

US 50 Gateway Study Public Meeting Reminder

Nov. 2nd- Thursday- US 50 Gateway Study Public Open House from 4-7 PM at Lawrenceburg High School.