Tuesday, January 30, 2007



Campaign finance forms were due in mid January. Several office holders- particularly those who lost their bid for election or re-election did not have folders or forms on file.
Some who did not file had $0 on their last forms in April or October, but this does not fulfill the requirements of the election law. If candidates fail to file a form checking the box that this is a final form closing out their file, they have to continually file annual reports. Judge Humphrey is the only officeholder whose large file of annual reports indicates he seems aware of this “rule.”

Vera Benning- no folder in the files produced
Bob Bischoff- not in file
Sally Blankenship- Final report files 1-17-07
Linda Estes- No folder in the file.
Gary Hensley- No final or annual report on file – last filed Oct 2006
James Humphrey- Annual report filed 1-16-07
Barb Kaffenberger- no annual report- last filed Oct 2006
Dennis Kraus, Sr.- annual report filed 12/28/2006
Dan Lansing- annual report filed 12/12/06

Frank Linkmeyer- final report filed 1-17-07 showing income of $10,236 and expenses of $14,326.91 for main election.
From Oct 31-Nov 8, 2006 - 5 checks were received by Linkmeyer’s campaign for commissioner D-3:
London Witte Group- $500
Level 5 Engineering- $500
PSA Dewberry Engineering - $500
Jungclaus Campbell- $500

IBEW Electrical - $250
[NOTE: The first four contributors are all affiliated with or working with Vieste – the company producing the County Capital Financial Plan that includes the NW Quadrant Economic Development Plan.]

Dave Lusby- Final filed 1-17-07 and paid off debt to himself.
Liz Morris- annual report filed with $22.91 cash and $2000 debt.
Aaron Negangard- annual report filed with $1790.80 cash on hand.
Johnny Nugent- not in file
Cary Pickens- Final report filed with only $100 paid to Bright Beacon listed.
Joan Seitz- no annual or final report- last one filed October 2006.
Ralph Thompson- Final report filed 12/29/06 showing $10,954.98 total income and total expenses for both primary and main election. $0 balance.
Bill Ullrich- annual filed 1-16-06 showing debt $7625.85 debt.

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township


Membership categories and lists for Dearborn County Economic Development Initiative (DCEDI)

Information from the website updated in 2007

Executive Committee
Chairman - William F. Ritzmann, United Community Bank
Secretary - John Maxwell, Maxwell Construction Co.
Treasurer - Peter V. Resnick, Dearborn County Hospital
Member - James Helms, Ivy Tech Community College
Member - William Cunningham, City of Lawrenceburg
President - James F. West, Jr., CEcD

Board of Directors
Jeff Bittner, Indicom
John Stenger, Lawrenceburg Gas Co.
Dave Alig, Town of St. Leon
Charlie Fehrman, Dearborn County Council
Ron Fischer, US Bank
Scott Fortner, Town of Dillsboro
Donnie Hastings, City of Aurora
Doug Hedrick, City of Greendale
Nisa Hensley, Duke Energy
Darryl Howe, Star One Realtors
Grant Hughes, Facilities Construction Mgmt.
Tom Kent, Kent, Inc.
Deann Lillie, Peoples Community Bank
Dave Lorey, Dearborn County CV&T Bureau
Ken Maddin, Century 21 Home Team
Bryan Messmore, Dearborn County Administrator
Chip Perfect, Perfect North Slopes
Dr. John Rahe, Dearborn County Redev. Comm.
Mark Rosenberger, Bayer-Becker Engineers
Mike Rozow, Dearborn County Chamber
Jeff Tucker, Tucker Homes
Ed Westmeyer, MainSource Bank

Other Investors
Joe Awad, Register Publications
William Backman, Aurora Casket Co.
Richard Craig, Southeastern Beverages
Terry Crouch, The Survey Company
Tom DeVille, DeVille Pharmacy
Ed Fischer, Dearborn Savings Association
Henry Fischer, Fischer Homes
Bob Hrezo, Hrezo Engineering
Tom Kohorst, Messer Construction
James Lemon, Friendship State Bank
Lisa Lehner, Wood, Lamping & Lehner
Dave Lorey, Lorey-Schwier
Sharon Morris, SPRINT
Joe Mrak, RQAW Corporation
Barry Nanz, Trade & Industrial Supply
Omar Nuseibeh, Midwest Data
Dave O'Mara, Dave O'Mara Contractor
Donald Patterson, Merchants Bank
Carl Petty, Aurora Lumber Co.
Marty Pieratt, Pieratt Communications
Don Richey, Comcast
Paul Rohe, Paul H. Rohe Co.
Brad Rupel, Rupel Development Corp.
Richard Schmidt, Schmidt Builders
Garry Setters, All Rite Ready Mix of Indiana

2006 membership list provided to Mark Hall in late January 2007 had the following list of members which differs slightly from the above list:

Board of Directors
Jeff Bittner, Indicom
John Stenger, Lawrenceburg Gas Co.
William E Cunningham, Mayor, City of Lawrenceburg
Dave Alig, Town of St. Leon
Scott Fortner, Town of Dillsboro
Deann Lillie, Peoples Community Bank
James Helms, IVY Tech Community College
Nisa Hensley, Duke Energy
Mark Lehmann, Fischer Development
Darryl Howe, Star One Realtors
Grant Hughes, City of Greendale
Ron Fischer, US Bank
Tom Kent, Kent, Inc.
Dave Lorey, Lorey-Schwier
Ken Maddin, Century 21 Home Team
John Maxwell, Maxwell Construction Company
Bryan Messmore, Dearborn County Administrator
Charlie Fehrman, Dearborn County Council
Chip Perfect, Perfect North Slopes
Dr. John Rahe, City of Aurora
Stephen L Keckeis, Messer Construction
Peter Resnick, Dearborn County Hospital
William F. Ritzmann, United Community Bank
Mark Rosenberger, Bayer-Becker Engineers
Mike Rozow, Dearborn County Chamber
Town of Moores Hill
Jeff Tucker, Tucker Homes
Larry Kinzer, Argosy Casino and Hotel
Terry Crouch, Land Consultants
James F. West, Jr., DCEDI
Ed Westmeyer, MainSource Bank
Donnie Hastings Jr, Mayor Aurora, represented by John Rahe
Doug Hedrick, Mayor Greendale, represented by Grant Hughes
Richard L Fox, Chairman DC Commission, represented by Bryan Messmore

Other Contributors:
Joe Awad, Register Publications
William Backman, Aurora Casket Co.
Richard Craig, Southeastern Beverages
Tom DeVille, DeVille Pharmacy
Ed Fischer, Dearborn Savings Association
Bob Hrezo, Hrezo Engineering
Lisa Lehner, Wood, Lamping & Lehner
Sharon Morris, EMBARQ
Barry Nanz, Trade & Industrial Supply
Omar Nuseibeh, Midwest Data
Dave O'Mara, Dave O'Mara Contractor
Donald Patterson, Merchants Bank
Carl Petty, Aurora Lumber Co.
Marty Pieratt, Pieratt Communications
Don Richey, Comcast
Paul Rohe, Paul H. Rohe Co.
Brad Rupel, Rupel Development Corp.
Richard Schmidt, Schmidt Builders
Garry Setters, All Rite Ready Mix of Indiana
Michael Kramer, Pinnacle Advisory Group

Contact information for DCEDI:
Dearborn County Economic Development Initiative555 Eads Parkway East, Suite 175Lawrenceburg, Indiana 47025
Phone: 812-537-0812 x. 29Toll Free: 800-322-8198 x. 29Fax: 812-537-0845Email: JWest@DearbornCountyEDI.com

Monday, January 29, 2007

RUSTIC AMBITION link for Business Courier NW Quadrant article

RUSTIC AMBITION link for Business Courier NW Quadrant article

The Business Courier interviewed local officials, citizens, and Honda representatives after the Councty Council meeting last week. The article is called Rustic Ambition.

Business Courier reporter Dan Monk quoted a Honda spokesperson as saying:
"One of the reasons we chose the Indiana site is because we'd be able to use the existing supplier infrastructure," said Honda spokesperson David Iida. "So we don't expect a lot of new supplier growth."

It is available on the Business Courier website this week using the following link:


Friday, January 26, 2007

What is 300,000 Dollars?

What is 300,000 Dollars?

By Alan S. Freemond, Sr.
Jackson Township

What is 300,000 dollars?

Well, firstly it represents the yearly average income of more than 6 Dearborn Countians.

Secondly it represents the average county income tax bill of 1408 Dearborn Countians.

Thirdly it represents the average state income tax bill of 253 Dearborn Countians.

This is not an insignificant sum of money to most Dearborn Countians. This is the sum of money that the county council had left over from the riverboat revenue that was to go to the region for economic development.

What is council doing with it? In their Received Wisdom (and let’s hope that it is only wisdom that they have received) they are giving it to the Redevelopment Commission. The redevelopment commission is going to take taxpayer money to buy land for their dreams of “Economic Development.”

There is no question that any of our wealthy Dearborn County tycoons of the DCEDI cannot write a check right now for 300,000 dollars to replace that 300,000 dollars of the taxpayers’ money. After all it was reported that to become involved in that secret organization the DCEDI one must pay DCDEI 5000 dollars. Now you know that no one writes a check for 5000 dollars to some sort of business organization, unless they believe that they will profit from doing so.

One wonders how many Dearborn County farmers joined the DCEDI.

Incidentally this reported 5000 dollar entry fee to DCEDI represents more than 10% of the average income of a Dearborn Countian BEFORE TAXES ARE TAKEN. These DCEDI people can pay their own way.

Books have been written on the subject of the risks of these schemes. They are anchored upon bonds issued by a governing bond and guaranteed by that government ‘s revenues, again taxpayers money. If they bonds are simply revenue bonds the fees for using the facility can be raised in order to protect the bond holders. Ordinances can be enacted to force more people to use whatever facility the bonds represent. This is well demonstrated by the unfortunate behavior forced upon of the St. Leon Sewer board. They have passed an ordinance to force people hook up to fund their bond indebtedness.

The DCEDI has hired an advisor whose business it is to teach his wealthy patrons how to get taxpayers to guarantee their schemes.

We are dealing with a group of men and women who are trying to achieve greater wealth by forcing the less fortunate Countians to guarantee their planned investments or schemes. This is worse than shameful. If these unknown people don’t have enough confidence in their various schemes to fund them themselves, which they can do, why should the ordinary Dearborn Countian do it for them?

It has been reported that the offer for land (acquisition cost) is 10,000 dollars an acre. If one has 100 acres and gets what will be “sold” to them as an unimaginable sum of money, one million dollars, one must remember that investing that money in shorter term tax free bonds might yield somewhere between 30 and 40 thousand dollars a year, with no allowance for inflation. These folks will not be as well off as they will be enticed to believe.

A Fehrman Realtor has already begun a campaign to buy land in Jackson Township. Fehrman is also the last name of the individual on County Council who recommended this 300,000 dollar giveaway; however that’s probably just a coincidence of names.

Soon we should discuss the validity of the claims of benefits for Dearborn Countians.

Alan Stanley Freemond, Sr.
Jackson Township

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Chamber Chats on 99.3 with Three Mayors on Monday

Chamber Chats on 99.3 with Three Mayors on Monday

The Chamber presents a “Fireside Chat” radio broadcast next Monday, Jan. 29 featuring Donnie Hastings of Aurora, Doug Hedrick of Greendale and Bill Cunningham of Lawrenceburg.

Mark Neff, the Chamber‘s Government Affairs Manager, will host the hour-long program from 7:00 to 8:00 PM on Eagle Radio/WSCH.FM 99.3. Be sure to tune in, and tell your friends about the broadcast.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

23 January 2007 Dearborn County Council Meeting Notes

23 January 2007 Dearborn County Council Meeting Notes

Country Council Waits Till End of Meeting to Fund Redevelopment Commission $300,000 for Acquisition of Land and Options for Economic Development

All members present: Fehrman, Chairman, Ullrich, Mitter, Morris, Kraus (now Vice chairman), Lansing, and Cheek.
Pickens, Auditor, and Messmore, Administrator, were also present.

There were nearly 200 people present in the audience, along the walls, behind the desk, and all over the hallways outside. The room couldn’t begin to hold them all. They also could not all hear. This meeting lasted until 12:50 AM

http://eaglecountryonline.com Click on news and see download of the 1/24/07 Jim West interview with WSCH regarding the NW Quadrant development issues.

Register Publications also covered the ENTIRE meeting.

1. Ed Opp and the Life Squad Alliance presented their request to increase Ambulance funding to $20,ooo from $12,000 for 2008. They said they had 3937 calls in 2005 and 4374 in 2006. [NOTE: Law-bg records showed they had 1700 call in 2006] Needs are increasing and volunteers need training. Dialog is to continue with Council till August budget hearings.

2. Vieste report presentation was made - similar to the one given at the Commissioners 16 Jan meeting- see those notes previously on the blog for details. The Council presentation however tried to address eminent domain by saying they wouldn’t use it, and soft pedaled the TIF issues that indicated a push for the NW Quadrant and leaving the TIF on the back burner financially. [NOTE: Council doesn’t have eminent domain powers, although the executive and legislative branches of county gov’t do have the power to veto the Redevelopment Commission’s actions in some cases.]

Messmore and Comparato indicated they wanted to engage the stakeholders now. They think the existing TIFs REACT to specific requests as opposed to the NW Quadrant which would be proactive.
Comparato introduced Jim Higgins of London Witte to Council as “your INDEPENDENT financial advisor.” Higgins report was primarily on how to finance the projects with the prefinancing to interim financing to long term financing fitting together as each stage pays the previous one back. [NOTE: If any of this fails or doesn’t perform as expected, the county taxpayers are still responsible for the debt.]

Higgins stressed that he was very conservative in estimates so that the county would feel comfortable with the figures and know that they wouldn’t be back asking for more.
Final preliminary finance numbers to cover the projects till July 1 are $612,000 for the buildings and $780,000 for the NW Quadrant. This is just for marketing, studies, and getting the vendors qualified for bids etc. All projects come back to council and commissioners for approval, he said. Comparato said the plans were not firm and they will come back with specific dollars later.

Fehrman asked if the $1.4 million would carry the current mortgage on the jail. Higgins said yes. Fehrman said he understand the bricks and mortar part, but didn’t see how it would work in the NW Quadrant.
Mitter asked about program management fees of $340,000 of the $1.4 million on preliminary work. Answer- those fees go to Vieste and London Witte. Comparato said- we serve as an extension of the county staff and work for the administrator.

They want to begin to identify stakeholders. [NOTE: The definition of stakeholder is: 1. One who holds the bets in a game or contest. 2. One who has a share or an interest, as in an enterprise. Surely the landowners are stakeholders- why have they not been included in this process?]

Comparato said this plan fits the 5 guiding principles of the master plan, [NOTE: Guiding Principle #4 of the master plan states CONSERVE THE DISTINCT NATURAL AND MAN-MADE FEATURES AND RESOURCES THAT CONTRIBUTE TO THE RURAL CHARACTER OF DEARBORN COUNTY.]

Comparato said they will try to feel through the NW Quadrant to see what is needed there and what the potential interest is. They saw Hamilton OH getting Honda spinoff and want to talk to Duke (Duke was mentioned several times as master developer tonight) for example to see if they would be interested and want to market it to others. [NOTE: It seems like we have Messmore and DCEDI getting Vieste to come in and market for them and Vieste will get Duke to market for Vieste. Why so many layers? Doesn’t this up the costs? If it’s a good deal or prospect, why isn’t Duke or other master developers coming to us?]

Ullrich wanted firmer plans- and no pipes or roads built to nowhere. If there are no willing sellers, there is nothing to do there.

Mitter- How did you pick the NW Quadrant? Answer: topography (flat), access to infrastructure like I-74, proximity to Honda and Cincinnati, and attractive to the private sector.
Mitter- During the Comp Plan Jackson Township was identified as an Ag area. Infrastructure is more toward St. Leon. Comp plan says to start where infrastructure exists and not further away where you have to spend money to run the infrastructure to it. I think you are too far west.
Comparato- Hedging a bit on the TIFs said that they actually just recommended a different approach from TIFs to NW Quad.
Mitter- Why didn’t you engage the people at the advisory meetings or at the public meeting for St. Leon?
Comparato said something about it not being their intention not to engage…
He also said that Honda was simply a catalyst for the process.
Mitter said he expected fresh ideas form an outside consultant but wanted this “married” to the master plan. He thought the timeline was pretty aggressive.
Comparato thinks that they can do it as early as May even. We are not recommending we run infrastructure to a TIF in anticipation, but wait till we see some use.
Higgins said we may see some growth there, but not like what you need to really get economic development.

Mitter- What about eminent domain?
Comparato – We work for you- we have not instructed or suggested using it.
Ullrich- I think we’re all on the same page there.
Toyota has two plants and peripheral development in Georgetown, KY. He talked about US 50 and 129 in Batesville….
Cheek – if infrastructure isn’t there, will companies come? Comparato- yes- if you have the money ready to put into it and the economic terms they are looking for.
Kraus- Will the master developer own the property?
Comparato- Yes- and doing this plan will go a long way to sending a signal to master developers that we are serious.

Fehrman- At what point do we approach landowners or developers? Comparato- Developers are reading the papers, news, and people are talking- word is getting out.
Ullrich- this all has to go through the plan commission? Answer – Yes- land is not rezoned till it goes to the Plan Commission.
[NOTE: The overlay zone however creates a “pressure” to rezone and if the landowners are not in favor in general, this can be a negative for them.]

Kraus- Can we exclude the NW Quadrant from our vote tonight if we want to?
Comparato- yes- ultimately this is the county’s plan.
Morris- If at some point we don’t like this can we opt out? Answer- they hedged a bit here- would have to pay for services up to that point.
Lansing- Can the building piece go forward but the economic development piece stop?
Answer- Yes.
Mitter- I cannot emphasize enough that the public needs to be involved. I’ve seen two failed mater plans and the one that went through, we did ourselves to be sure the public was involved. I can’t emphasize enough how important that is in this county. (APPLAUSE)

Higgins and Comparato stressed again that the end result most surely won’t look like this plan. (They said this at commissioner’s also)

Public Comment:

Sandy StengerWhitehead- presented the following prepared statement:

My name is Sandy Whitehead and my husband Jay and I reside at 29370 Blue Creek Road with our 4 children ages 2, 4, 6, and 8. I grew up on Blue Creek Road, and my husband and I have every intention of raising our children in this neighborhood. Part of the property that we own would be devastated by the proposed link of Feller Road to Steinhauser Road, plus depending on the range of the development we may not be able to live in our home anymore. A lot of the people here are my neighbors, people who also have lived in this community all or most of their lives.

I spent many days this past week informing our neighbors of the proposed economic development of the I-74 corridor in northwest Dearborn County. Many were shocked and angered by the fact that a project of this size and nature was being developed without anyone in the affected area knowing. Many were afraid that their land would be taken away. Besides all of those facts, my husband was considerably upset that someone besides officials who are elected by us and paid by our tax dollars, felt obligated to alert the public. Why weren’t the residents of Blue Creek, Steinhauser, Feller, St. Peter’s, County Line, and Highway 46 notified about this project?

I must admit that Jim West of the Dearborn County Economic Development Initiative and Bret Fehrman of Fehrman Realty visited my parents, Earl and Rita Stenger, a few weeks ago regarding acquiring property for commercial development. However, not once did either man mention the scope and breadth of this project.

Carl and Lois Bohman, neighbors that own land on Feller Road, were also recently contacted by Fehrman Realty about selling their land. A realtor contacting two major land owners in the same area. Did the realtors know something that the residents of the area did not?

Maybe the bylaws of Dearborn County do not require that citizens be kept abreast of proposed projects. They should. This has done nothing but cause many people to harbor ill will towards the government of our county.

I would really like to thank Ralph Thompson, our newest Commissioner. He seems to be the voice of the people. Ralph had the courage to say on the public record that he did not know enough about this project, or how the affected people felt about it, to vote on it until he got more information.

According to the Phase I Report, the location for this project was selected based on the proximity to Greensburg and the new Honda plant. Time and again I have heard from my neighbors and friends, “Why would potential suppliers to the Honda plant want to operate 30 minutes from Greensburg when there are 3 viable exits closer, not including the exits directly west of Greensburg?” As far as I know, no commercial or industrial entity is interested in the northwest corner of Dearborn County. The first full paragraph of Page 2-6 of the Comprehensive Capital Program Management Phase I Report discusses improving the infrastructure of the area to attempt to attract development. Page 2-7, 2nd paragraph of this report states clearly that no potential user for the area has been identified. If this information has changed I would certainly like to know.

As for proximity to the Cincinnati Metropolitan Statistical Area also mentioned in this report, the West Harrison Tax Increment Financing District or TIF is geographically closer. Granted the report states that the West Harrison TIF would only attract a mix of retail and commercial developments versus the Northwest Quadrant’s attraction of potential longer term, major development opportunity (as quoted from the Phase I report), but it still means jobs for the county. Couple that with the major factor that land in the West Harrison TIF district is for sale and in the proposed NW Quadrant Economic Development area, from my standpoint, is not.

On the subject of TIF districts, the report discusses the current status of other existing TIF districts including St. Leon and West Aurora. Again, why aren’t the county’s efforts more focused on developing these already existing parcels? Under the “Project Area Description” for each of the referenced TIF districts, the Phase I report states, “To date, the area has been designated by Dearborn County as an Economic Development Area but no detailed planning, no actual infrastructure design or construction has been performed, and no land acquisition strategy has been formulated.” Anticipated infrastructure improvements are given, but also in each of the three cases the same sentence is utilized: “Until a future land use plan is put into place for this area and potential users are identified, it is difficult to establish a set infrastructure needs cost to facilitate development.”

At some juncture, time, effort, and money was expended into the three existing Dearborn County TIF districts. The property was available, and more importantly someone or some group felt these would be viable areas to the economic advancement of our county. I would like to encourage the council to deny any further advancement of the NW Quadrant Economic Development area proposal. I would instead encourage the Council to focus it’s efforts, as well as the Economic Development Initiative group, on the existing sub-standard TIF districts.

I appreciate the time given this evening to discuss my feelings regarding this project, as well as my findings after reading the Phase I report. To conclude, I would like to distribute to the Council copies of landowner’s signatures not interested in selling, a plat map with their property highlighted in green, and my comments. I was unable to contact everyone involved due to the time constraints. I would like for these highlighted areas to remain “green space.” Thank you.

Carl Bohman- At Sunday I went to church and was informed that the county wanted our land for economic development. Our schools are full, the fire dept. is volunteer, and sewage doesn’t exist here. All has to be built out here. Greensburg had to build a fire dept. for Honda. I don’t think we need that much more employment. You say our taxes won’t increase, but I don’t trust politicians- taxes will increase. I’m a farmer and I will lose ¾ of my farm and it will destroy me. I’ve worked 40 years for it- we’re happy here. God doesn’t make any more farm ground- he is making more people- and we farmers have to feed them.
What will I do with the money for my farm? Invest it? Get paper from the bank? I can’t eat that. I can eat what I make on my farm. What about the old people here. I know two of these old farmers- if you moved them off their land I believe they would die. Who’s making the money? Not me. Let us alone- go away.

Ullrich- You can stay there.
Morris- Eminent domain is misinformation.
Mitter- as far as the schools go if the boat dollars go away for whatever reasons, we have to control development or find a way to offset our taxes.
Carl Bohman- Every area has something to contribute- Detroit cars- Pittsburgh- steel- why can’t Dearborn County export people?
Put this in YOUR backyard.
Ullrich- your part of the county should be able to contribute in your own way.

Susan ____ from N County Line Road- asked if environmental impact study was done. Answer. No
Asked if the interchange was necessary- Answer- maybe not.
She said- I moved here because of the type of are that this is at St. Peters- that’s what WE call it- not NW Quadrant. It’s a community in a rural setting. Industries and economic development belongs in cities and towns, but leave small rural communities alone. It’s more than just flat land. When you say “it’s inevitable that it will happen” that just means you will give in.

John Alexander- Does the law allow eminent domain? Answer- The Redevelopment Commission has the power to do that.
What if other politicians come into office? No answer.

Jeffery Earl Stenger
12606 Locust Lane
Sunman, IN 47041 presented the following:

My name is Jeff Stenger, resident and landowner in northwest Dearborn County. I would like to first speak briefly to the overall plan before us tonight. The County has many capital improvement needs as it exists today. It appears as though all of the people with knowledge in each respective area from Criminal Justice, Public Safety, Emergency Management, Parks and Recreation, and Transportation have assessed the County’s needs, present and future. Further planning for these facilities and improvements may be warranted at this time

I would like to preface my comments by stating that I am in favor of economic development. I also strongly believe in private property rights. One of those rights is the ability to sell our land, when we want to and to whomever we want to. I want it to be very clear that I believe that everyone has that right and has earned that right. I believe that it is also important as a point of reference to mention that if this plan were implemented, there is probably no single landowner in the area that has the potential to benefit more financially than my mother and father and my family. While the plan before us tonight may have some merit as a long term, 20 or 30 year plan, I am against the portion of the plan referred to as THE NORTHWEST QUADRANT as presented and written.

On page 2-2, the summary begins by establishing future land use designation and overlay zoning requirements on the area for use in marketing to master developers. Overlay zoning requirements present the opportunity to restrict and infringe on our private property rights by adding an additional set of zoning requirements that we may be subject to in the continued use of our land. The idea of a master developer for the area precludes other developers and businesses from locating and/or competing for opportunity within the area, which in effect defeats the main County goal of keeping our tax dollars at home.

The addition of a highway interchange at St. Peters Road to I-74 has the potential to further increase the development pressure of the housing market immediately adjacent on the north and south of this proposed commercial area, which would lead to a negative effect of the overall project. The Penntown interchange at S.R. 101 is located 3.2 miles west of this location and St. Leon/ S.R. 1 interchange is 4.7 miles east, and is connected by existing S.R. 46. Access to this area is currently very adequate, and an additional interchange in this area now or in the near future is unwarranted.

Discrepancies and inconsistencies in the project area description, cost estimates, timing, and development plans on pages 2-4 through 2-9, cause me to question the accuracy and integrity of the overall cost estimates and plan.

It is difficult to believe that 71 million is proposed being spent on this project and it won’t cost taxpayers a dime if it sells, but it is most important to remember that failure could result in extensive debt to the taxpayer’s of the entire county, and a black eye that will have to be dealt with by the people in this area for generations to come.

In my opinion, the County would benefit in a much larger scale by investing in the existing TIF districts that much time and effort have already been spent on. Sites within this area are nearly “shovel ready”, with only improvements to existing infrastructure needed in the cases of St. Leon and West Harrison (maybe Aurora also, I am not as familiar with). These areas have already begun to develop and several small businesses exist. Any improvements made to transportation/infrastructure in these areas would help these existing businesses to flourish as well as attract new businesses. Urban sprawl would continue in its natural progression instead of jumping leap years ahead and potentially causing an undesirable explosion in areas that have always been targeted for protection against this. In the event no new industries/businesses were attracted, these improvements would only lead to more orderly traffic circulation and potentially higher quality of life.

A colorful friend once told me “You will always have another opportunity to make more money, buy a new car, or build a new home, but they aren’t making any more land, so cherish what you have.”

Stenger later commented that the $778,000 for this preliminary phase could be better used to buy options for land in the TIFs. He also commented that the ADM Bldg needed upgrades too. Kraue agreed.

Mike Rozow- Chamber of Commerce – supports it because rather than being reactive it is proactive. We have a roadmap of future needs. He thought the land bank idea was good to put assets in and set it aside. He agreed that eminent domain should be struck from the county and never used. He asked how many people have kids who work here in the county. He noted that 20,000 in the workforce, with 13,000 working elsewhere and 4,000 coming into the county for work. [NOTE: That means that technically 4,000 jobs exist here that our workers are NOT taking advantage of.]
There is no 20-year plan- our quality of life goes down the tube and kids won’t get any jobs.

Kraus said- Some people live here because they do not want to live where they work! (Applause) Some debt could be retired if we don’t continue all this and taxes could decrease.

Mitter wants his kids to have a better life-wants to slow down the brain drain. We need to have jobs for the education we are giving our kids.

Terry Bogan- St Peters- The master developer for NW Quadrant could be also for other areas. Why not concentrate on the TIFs? When you drive to KY you see hospitals, fire depts., sewer plants etc. You don’t see that here. You are starting with Legos here and you need a crane!
I don’t want to see Vieste benefit hugely and the people here benefit very little.

Fehrman asked if Jim West of DCEDI wanted to speak- he shook his head, “No.”

Mark Hall business owner of Ag business in Northern Dearborn County- I lived here 54 years, we farm, and our kids want to live here. Our community is to be USED to build taxes for the rest of the county. It’s like a checkbook. You allowed too much development to come in and now you are asking us to pay for it when you can’t.
Asked how old Vieste was- Answer- 2 years.- from Indianapolis.
Asked who they work for- Answer- works with the county administrator and DCEDI is just part of the group we work with.
Asked- Is there a NW Quadrant citizen on this committee? Answer- after some discussion- NO.
Hall noted that DCEDI headed by Bill Ritzmann of UCB is a private group- public cannot attend their meetings. Hall was told by Ritzmann that to attend you have to join at $5,000. So it’s pay to play.
The county will go to L-g said Hall to borrow money to get this done or they will use gambling revenues. It will put us in debt!


Council discussion:
Kraus- definitely opposed to NW Quadrant. This should go to the TIFS and other St. Leon property that is for sale. Jail buildings etc are ok with him- would like to see adm bldg added.
Ullrich- our buildings all need space- OK with jail plan.
Mitter- Asked why the jail was crowded and cited an instance of incarceration of a man for a 7-year-old failure to appear for a hunting license violation.
Cheek- Labor oriented family background- good pay and good benefits needed. Can’t rule out ANY area in the county for economic development. There would be clean businesses- no one has made a deal or property sold here. Closer to get to work if it was here. Gas prices high. Jail is a necessary evil- have to do that.
Lansing- In favor of getting economic development. Noted how much Greendale changed since he was a kid.
Morris- Our soldiers have less space that our prisoners. Favors the jail though. Economic development- favors the TIFS but entire county should be considered for economic development.
Mitter- Jail OK but has reservations on things going on there. Suggests TABLING the NW Quadrant- it’s muddying the waters- there has not been nearly enough planning consideration of it. Middle ground can be found without taking from the farmer by eminent domain. We need to work with the community to find that plan and common ground. As to DCEDI- I’m displeased with them- they serve too many masters- they have taxpayer dollars- they have private entities and collaboration, but they are not responsive to the county. We should take DCEDI money and give it to Vieste or whomever- I see duplication of efforts.

Fehrman- It’s unanimous for the jail portion of the plan plus some ADM BLDG needs.

$612,000.47 was approved from Growth and Development Fund 147 for the jail and other buildings.

The NW Quadrant portion was TABLED to get a committee together in about 2 weeks on Feb 13 at 6PM to see what process should be set up for economic development. They are going to use 1 commissioner, 1 council , the cty adm, plan director, Vieste and London Witte. Mitter will serve as Council’s rep on this.

3. Bill Black- EMA- got fund set up for grants to administer funds.

4. Lusby- Sheriff- got salary ordinance signed and approval to move funds to cover $40,000 jail commander’s salary using some part time money.
Mitter commended Lusby on professional handling of the hunting license violator in jail.

5. Stephanie Disbro was approved to take Ass’t GIS position at her 1st Deputy salary. Her Adm ass’t position will be filled as a 3rd deputy spot. Cheek (nothing against Stephanie) noted that a bachelor degreed IT person applied for GIS spot and was not considered. It was his son in law. Thought county should be hiring on qualifications.
Cheek said he did NOT call to pave the way for son- in-law, as he wanted it on his own merits.

6. COIT distribution signed again- same as 2006 leaving Solid Waste out as they have their own levy.

7. Fehrman said – 2 years ago we decided along with Lawrenceburg to share Riverboat money regionally for economic development to help keep it in the county, when legislature tried to take it. Honda got $10million form Lawrenceburg, but our $300,000 was not used. We still have it and we could give that to the Redevelopment Commission as a vehicle to purchase options to get economic development started.

Jim West- representing Redevelopment Commission and DCEDI- wanted to address these funds. We need a real estate product. We’ve talked to property owners along the I-74 corridor and they are willing to sell as long as it’s NOT for residential. We need seed money. DCEDI has committed $50,000. We approached Charlie Fehrman about it also. We found out we have some people interested in giving money if the county gave some too. We can use the county’s $300,000 plus $50,000 to leverage more money for these land options.
We would like to have it truly available to the Redevelopment Commission in case someone is willing to sell after tonight.
Question- Can we set it up like the sewer money to only release it when ready?
Kraus- I just figured out why they want the NW Quadrant- you get land for $10,000 vs $50-60,000 in St. Leon area. We need to oversee this.
Morris- We don’t want to hamstring them to have to wait for a council meeting.
Pickens- You can call a meeting with 3 days notice.
Mitter- I don’t trust DCEDI- it pains me to say that. When I feel I just can’t get an honest or straight answer- I just don’t trust them.
What happens if Redevelopment buys land not in keeping with the Master Plan?
Fehrman- The land bank has to have an inventory to show.
Cheek – willing to move on it. Morris 2nd . They released $300,000 for Redevelopment Commission for land acquisition and purchase options. MITTER _ NAY- all others AYE.

Krause- Don’t want all our eggs in one basket in the NW Quadrant.

8. Board Appointments:
Julia Dickey- Lbg Library
Nancy Turner- Aurora Library
Kraus- advisory board
Ullrich- EMA and Animal Control
Fehrman- DCEDI and CVTB
Mitter- Plan Commission with agreement that Cheek would take over if Mitter requests.
Cheek- Solid Waste
Mark McCormack- OKI
Jake Hoog- BZA
Ralph Schafer- Alcohol Board
Morris- Juvenile detention
Ron Selmeyer- SIRPC
Division of Family and Children- stays as is till state changes rules.

9. Signed for provisional bills for taxes again
Treasurer filed a lien against PSEG so AEP can’t buy it. County share of the $5.6 million taxes is $300,000. Most of the rest is for schools.

10. Signed interlocal agreement for lobbyist.

11. Fehrman then asked Mitter to air his issues about DCEDI. [NOTE: A little after the fact considering they already voted on money they asked for.]
Fehrman – outlined the issues with Mariah Business Park, Lisa Lehner, their att’y and also DCEDI’s, and Kramer the Mariah owner who is in violation and in court over county issues with running a recreational ATV park essentially on Ag zoned land.
Fehrman left out all the names however.
Mitter’s issue was with DCEDI sending Jim West to support the rezone request of someone in violation of county ordinances. Ritzmann had told Mitter that DCEDI viewed Kramer as a seller of land and not as a developer. [NOTE: However, Kramer is Mariah DEVELOPMENT]
West said he was only wanting the rezone- not supporting the developer.
Mitter went on about the attorney accusing him (Mitter) of lying, doctoring photos, and saying that he had too much influence and shouldn’t be allowed to speak at the zoning hearing. Mitter had stepped down from the board for that application.
West said it was the closest thing they had to a SHOVEL READY SITE and it was recently shown to some Honda suppliers. Morris empathized with Mitter as she has zoning violators next door also. BUT she saw the zone change support as OK.
Kraus and Ullrich motioned and 2nd to release $25,000 to DCEDI. Mitter Nay all others aye.
Rozow and West told the board that the county does not pay DCEDI. It goes through the Chamber, Redevelopment, and CVTB. [NOTE: It still gets used for the economic development purposes.]

Meeting adjourned 12:50 AM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


TO: All Chamber Members
FROM: Michael Rozow, Jr.

Important County Council Meeting Tonight (Tues., Jan. 23, 2007)

Comprehensive Capital Program Initial Funding

Dearborn County Commissioners accepted the Phase I report and recommendations of a Comprehensive Capital Program working group and agreed to move forward with additional study on how to implement economic development, facilities and infrastructure priorities and projects.

The County Council will meet on tonight (Tuesday, January 23) at 7:30 PM to consider and vote on initial funding. We encourage members to attend and show their support for the Comprehensive Capital Program as passed by the County Commissioners. Meeting location: 215B West High Street, 3rd Floor, downtown Lawrenceburg.

We’re pleased the Commissioners took this action, and we’re hopeful County Council will follow through and approve the preliminary funding,” said Michael Rozow, Chamber President. “This step is simply a proactive first step to put the County in a position to benefit from investment both as a result of the new Honda plant in Greensburg and other projects that have gone elsewhere because we have not had shovel-ready land available.”

“Revenues from casino gaming have helped the community over the last 10 years, but they have also masked Dearborn County’s need to increase its very low commercial and industrial tax base. There is no guarantee that current gaming revenues will last forever. An opportunity like the Honda plant makes this very time sensitive, but the fact is we should be doing this anyway. That’s why the Dearborn County Economic Development Initiative was created three years ago.”

The capital management program addresses funding for several projects that affect the county’s economic development potential – transportation, regional sewer service, public safety, etc. A major part of the plan focuses on funding for infrastructure improvements in the I-74 corridor ‘land bank’ project, which the Redevelopment Commission will be obtaining option and purchase agreements in the I-74 corridor for the future location of economic development projects.

Monday, January 22, 2007

22 January 2007 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

22 January 2007 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

Present: De Maynadier, Hall, Thompson, Laws, and Kraus, Jr.
Absent: Nelson, Feiss, and Held.
Council has not appointed a member yet to replace Mitter.

Meeting began 20 minutes late waiting to see if Nelson would be coming.

In reorganization the board elected:
Mike Hall- Chairman.
Patrick De Maynadier- Vice Chairman
Mark McCormack- Secretary
Arnie McGill- Attorney
BZA Citizen Member is Mike Hall

Both Mariah Park applications were tabled again at the request of the applicant, when they were asked by Hall if they wanted to continue or not knowing it would require a vote of all ayes from all 5 members present to pass tonight. It will be heard at Feb 26th meeting.

Mark McCormack is getting copies of Vieste report to members from digital copy that Ralph Thompson provided to him. McCormack gave a brief overview of the NW Quadrant portion as it related to Planning and when asked informed the PC that this was not discussed with staff as to how they were going to accomplish the overlay or whatever they planned for the quadrant. McCormack noted the aggressive timeline, which he said is shorter than the land use mapping plans. He invited members if interested to attend the weekly Vieste Wed afternoon working sessions that start at 4 PM.

When asked about how this quadrant came to be outlined, McCormack said that it wasn’t through staff. He noted there were general areas like this talked about when Travis was here and also through the master plan- but not anything this defined. He and Mitter had tried to get Robertson and Vieste to present at a couple Advisory Board meetings or at the St. Leon Public Meeting on the Master Plan draft so far. Vieste said they weren’t ready.
Hall asked Mitter if the county council was going to fund an incomplete plan. Mitter said they had a lot of questions.

Next Advisory Board Meeting for the Master Plan is Jan 31st at 7 PM in Adm Building. As always the public is welcome to come, observe, and submit written comments. They may be combining some working tables groups to get better discussion of the 20-30 members who routinely show up out of the 60 selected. The PC wanted to be sure there was still a good cross section of county interests and areas represented.

Tues. will be the interviews for the 6 finalists for the Planner position. 34 applied.

Annual newsletter will be completed soon.

Nick Held left info for new members to attend a workshop through County Extension.

McCormack is pursuing the land categories to be set up for the zone code book. OKI - Bill Miller- is working with him on fiscal impact models, as is the county extension office.

Earl Dawson reported that St. Leon is looking at a 2-mile buffer around their town and wanting to be able to control zoning in that area. A map had been given to Kraus Jr. that showed about a mile outside St. Leon including the TIF area. IN Code 36-7-4-205 outlines procedure for this and it follows rules similar to zone changes with PC hearings and Commissioner approvals. Greendale and Dillsboro are running into similar situations around their towns and with planning issues with infrastructure.
Dillsboro invited the PC to a meeting the 2nd week of Feb on this. Hall will get info to the board.

Meeting adjourned 8:20 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Comprehensive Capital Program Moves Forward

Next Step: County Council Meeting - Tuesday, Jan. 23, 7:30 PM

Dearborn County Commissioners accepted the Phase I report and recommendations of a Comprehensive Capital Program working group and agreed to move forward with additional study on how to implement economic development, facilities and infrastructure priorities and projects.

"We’re pleased the Commissioners took this action, and we’re hopeful County Council will follow through and approve the preliminary funding at its meeting next Tuesday," said Michael Rozow, Chamber President. "This step is simply a proactive first step to put the County in a position to benefit from investment both as a result of the new Honda plant in Greensburg and other projects that have gone elsewhere because we have not had shovel-ready land available."

"Revenues from casino gaming have helped the community over the last 10 years, but they have also masked Dearborn County’s need to increase its very low commercial and industrial tax base. There is no guarantee that current gaming revenues will last forever. An opportunity like the Honda plant makes this very time sensitive, but the fact is we should be doing this anyway. That’s why the Dearborn County Economic Development Initiative was created three years ago."

The capital management program addresses funding for several projects that affect the county’s economic development potential - transportation, regional sewer service, public safety, etc. A major part of the plan focuses on funding for infrastructure improvements in the I-74 corridor ‘land bank’ project, which the Redevelopment Commission will be obtaining option and purchase agreements in the I-74 corridor for the future location of economic development projects.

The Chamber congratulates County Administrator Bryan Messmore and the working group on their extensive efforts over the last year and the County Commissioners (Jeff Hughes, Richard Fox) who supported this action. We encourage Chamber members to communicate with them as well.

The County Council will meet on Tuesday, January 23 at 7:30 PM. We encourage members to attend and show their support for the approval of the Comprehensive Capital Program’s initial funding.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

16 January 2007 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

16 January 2007 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

Present: Jeff Hughes, Chairman, Rick Fox, and Ralph Thompson
Also Present: Frank Kramer for Bob Ewbank, Attorney, Cary Pickens, Auditor, and Bryan Messmore, Administrator.

A uniformed officer was present at the meeting. [NOTE: You can always tell when the commissioners plan to take advantage of the public. They call the sheriff for some manpower at the meeting. And the officer stands and WATCHES the crowd. It’s just the opposite at the Plan Commission meetings- even the most heated ones. They have never required an officer in the 12 years I’ve attended them. Perhaps that’s because they listen to the public.]

There were approximately 70 people present including county officials, Chamber of Commerce and DCEDI members, realtors, developers, local citizens, and county activists. The Register sent a reporter also. The paper will provide additional coverage later.

The topic of interest was the Vieste report most of which was aimed at a target industrial/commercial/flex office space/retail spot of 4,480 acres outlined in northern Jackson Township and the resulting interchange with I-74 and roadway extension from there to Dillsboro (along the old Outer Loop pathway.)

[NOTE: Prior to this PUBLIC meeting, which was not announced or advertised in any way by the county commissioners, there were serial meetings with commissioners and council members and Vieste/Level 5 Engineering/London Witte to exchange ideas. The Public Access Counselor was called regarding these attempts to circumvent the public process. She said they might be legal- depending on what kind of information was exchanged in those meetings. She said also that they violate the spirit of the open door law and that THEY DO NOT ADVISE OFFICIALS TO HAVE THESE KINDS OF MEETINGS. Ralph Thompson refused to attend these private sessions. He wanted the public involved.

This report was kept from the public, and officials who had the report were told that it was confidential until the public meeting. I asked several people for copies or info. This would not be such a big issue, except for the fact that the commissioners were on a timeline printed in the report to accept it at the meeting tonight and there was NO PUBLIC INPUT or knowledge prior to this meeting. Fortunately, a brown unmarked envelope appeared one night in my doorway with a copy of this report.

Landowners in the targeted area reported Bret Fehrman (of Fehrman Realty and member of DCRSD- sewer board) has approached them and the Martini’s of Red Apple Realty (and neighbors of Commissioner Fox) sent letters to or approached them about selling their land. They also offered a free appraisal of their land. How exactly do the realtors know about this secret report before the citizens? In some circles this has been referred to as being tantamount to “insider trading.” Public scrutiny is clearly needed.

The Chamber of Commerce sent out a notice to their membership on prior to the meeting stating: Chamber members are encouraged to be present for two significant county meetings this month. The county commission will meet on Tuesday, January 16th, beginning at 6:00 PM in the commission meeting room. The county council will meet on Tuesday, January 23rd, beginning at 7:30 PM.
This capital management plan addresses funding for several projects that affect the county’s economic development potential – transportation, regional sewer service, public safety, etc. A major part of the plan focuses on funding for infrastructure improvements in the I-74 corridor ‘land bank’ project, which the Redevelopment Commission will be obtaining option and purchase agreements in the I-74 corridor for the future location of economic development projects.
Your presence at these meetings will indicate support from the business community for implementing the necessary infrastructure for economic development.

Channel 9 carried a story interviewing Mark Hall and also Bryan Messmore and Jim West on the 5PM news on Jan 16th. Go to WCPO TV on the www.enquirer.com site to view this- it is available in text and in video there. ]

1. Mark Hall- requested to be on the agenda to comment on Vieste after their report. Messmore said he didn’t remember if Hall had asked to go afterwards or not. Hughes said he had to speak at the beginning because it wouldn’t be fair to others on the agenda. Hall was confused as were others in the audience as to why that would make a difference. Hall said it wouldn’t make sense to comment on something that we hadn’t heard yet as no reports were given out. Hughes said he hadn’t seen it yet either. Hall asked if he’d seen the report. Hughes said yes. Hall sat down and said he would speak afterwards. Hughes said he would “consider it.” [NOTE: So let me get this straight- Fox said last meeting that no one was ever refused to be on the agenda. But somehow once on the agenda it seems that they can twist your timing so that it is essentially useless to be able to comment. Nice job- guys.]

2. Chris Mueller- The microphone didn’t work so I had to speak loudly for the audience. I told the commissioners that I also had asked to be in the agenda after the Vieste presentation. I commented on the Board appointments procedures from the previous meeting stating that I thought it was pointless to have boards recommend reappointing members when the commissioners were actually looking to replace them. That only makes the boards feel that their opinions don’t matter and the board members feel under appreciated as they are replaced with no indication or even a thank you.
I said that I doubt they intend to come across that way but from many comments I’ve received, that’s how it’s perceived.
[NOTE: In the middle of this interchange the tape system malfunctioned also. Pickens assured the crowd that he was getting it replaced next week]

Hughes informed me that he sent personal thank you letters to the non-appointed board members. Fox noted that they can’t warn a board member in advance because they don’t know how the vote will go at the meeting. Fox said something about wanting retractions printed after all the attacks, though it was unclear what, or who he was referring to. Fox talked about replacing a board member because of the way he had voted in the previous election. [NOTE: He must have been referring to a Plan Commission or BZA member and probably Rick Pope, who was previously listed as an Independent. Planning Boards have to be balanced by political party.]

As to the Vieste report- I told them I’d been getting bits and pieces and was concerned that they were set to implement it tonight with no public comment. I explained that I’d served on the current master plan and had observed at every meeting of the failed previous two master plan attempts. At all the public comment meetings for the master plan the people in the NW section of the county were clearly in favor of remaining rural. I stressed that our master plan portion on future land use maps was not completed yet and yet this plan of the county’s has a timeline for implementation starting in March 2007. I also mentioned issues with taxation and farmland assessment and what would happen to farmers in the area as a result.
Fox kept referring to this as a once in a lifetime opportunity for Honda spin-off business. [NOTE: I wonder why Fox and Hughes want to hang our future on a car building business in a non-adjoining county? It’s interesting to note that SB 244 on design- build legislation was implemented in Indiana just recently and Vieste was formed just recently. Indiana was one of about 7 states who didn’t have this legislation. Several design build firms- some who have been in business a long time helped push the legislation through. I wonder how Vieste got the inside track here or if any others were considered? It’s hard to tell as none of this selection process was public…]

3. CASA- Donna Thacker- received approval of their grants and budget for local council fund #106 with Thompson abstaining as he hadn’t previewed the material yet.

4. The Public Hearing for the Zoning and Sub’n Ordinance changes was tabled dues to Mark McCormack being out of town for a death in the family.

5. Dearborn County Comprehensive Capital Program Status and Presentation by Vieste and London-Witte.

Messmore introduced the topic as a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to TAKE ADVANTAGE of the Honda plant. He said the consensus opinion of their working group was to move forward on this. He said they have been working on this for almost TWO years now. [NOTE: That means from when Fox and Hughes came into office.]

He introduced Mike Comparato (Vieste) and Jim Higgins (London Witte) as “resources and extensions of our own staff.” They plan to organize and engage STAKEHOLDER groups. [NOTE: That seems to be after the fact- the STAKE has already been driven into the heart of the Jackson Township land- why engage the stakeholders after the land plan?]

Messmore and Comparato said we need economic development in order to afford growth costs. The NW Quadrant (Jackson Township) is an opportunity for a broader base and master plan (not to be confused with the master plan that the county PC is doing). They want commercial/industrial/and flex office space with a potential overlay zone for land use. He mentioned a new interchange and road improvements with wastewater treatment and collection needs. He also mentioned income taxes and sales taxes also.
In addition there are county facilities in this plan to expand the jail, the law enforcement adm. space, and juvenile detention center with courthouse renovation. There will be a county hwy maintenance garage built and improved emergency management facilities. The 2030 road plan was mentioned as well as sewers needing $10 million outside the I-74 corridor and noted the Woolpert study for sewers was not in this yet.

Jim Higgins of London Witte gave the financial explanation. He talked about interim funding using existing county funds, bond anticipation notes, and the Lawrenceburg Bond bank. He cited long term funding sources as being the public-private partnership agreements, the refinancing of county bonds, and the broadened tax base. They also needed short term- pre-financing to get then to June/July 2007.
He says they avoided increasing the taxes. The idea was to marry economic development to the capital plan to make it more relevant. Higgins noted that the debt on the jail and courthouse rolls out in the next few years and the county can just continue those bonds. (This means the county stays in debt).

They will capture the Riverboat revenue and continue to use that stream. (This assumes it stays the same or increases). The plan to only use funds as needed similar to the process used in a construction loan. There are many things to do in preliminary engineering, project management, etc. before the July funds are available. They look to use local banks and the bond bank for construction loans or bond anticipation notes. Ultimately he says the funding would come from the private developers we attract.

Higgins at this point turned around to address my previous question on farmland assessment issues. He said farmland is assessed based on the soil quality they state wide average being about $1050 per acre though the general assemble set it last year at $880 per acre. The homes and buildings are assessed at fair market value but the land value of farmland is set by the state. It does not depend on the zone. [NOTE: This means the houses and buildings though will be assessed based on what else is in the area. If it’s other farms, that is different from being around high-end subdivisions or commercial real estate.]

The county needs to spend $600,000 by July 1st and the NW Quadrant needs $778,000 by July 1st. So about $1.4 million is needed to be borrowed.

Fox said eminent domain is mentioned all the time- he wouldn’t vote for it and he couldn’t imagine it happening.

[NOTE: If this is eminent domained, it can come from the Redevelopment Commission. Commissioners appoint them. Fox is now on that board also. If the county gets part of what they want and not all, it would be hard to imagine them NOT trying eminent domain. If they think the asking price is too high, they may also use this threat as a means to reduce the price. The land acquisition price mentioned in the report is $10,000 per acre. Land in St. Leon Redevelopment area and on the DCEDI site is listed at $55-60,000 per acre. Land for Honda was reported as similarly priced. Language in the study talks about this new plan as being the “highest and best use” for the land. That language is the basis for Redevelopment Commissions being able to set the stage for eminent domain. Either Fox hasn’t read the report in detail or he thinks others won’t put 2+2 together.]

Fox wants pipes run for factories- not houses. He wants a quality operation. Thompson noted it was fortuitous to have bonds rolling off to be able to tap into. He asked Higgins to explain how master development agreements work with TIFs and abatements.
Higgins said when a company looks at you they’ve already done their homework, but they want to see what else you can offer. You need to know these things ahead of time, and not offer the max.
Comparato said we want maximum return on investment- be proactive- we don’t want to miss the wave. Each project comes back to you when they come in to be sure you want it…

Some developers come in and guarantee X dollars per year. Some just write a check in exchanges for tax abatements. Be proactive- not reactionary. Go shoulder to shoulder and mold the big picture. The private sector coming in will want to see a well-planned community. He wants to create stakeholder groups and wants to work with and for the county. [NOTE: Just who do they think are stakeholders?]

They plan to create web based communication tools that are encrypted to keep unauthorized people out.

More mentioning of now increased taxes. [NOTE: The report says no increase in TAX RATES. The taxes will go up anyway as the property value goes up. If the rate is 10% and property is worth $100,000 than you pay $10,000. If the property doubles in value- and the rate stays the same. You will pay 10% of $200,000 or $20,000. So the tax rate doesn’t increase, but your taxes do.]

Thompson asked how much infrastructure was available for Honda. Comparato said he didn’t know, but that water was still a struggle. [NOTE: Essentially none was available- Honda sought the area, not the other way around.]

Thompson asked about bulk facilities, noting they usually do their own internal roadways and infrastructure. Comparato said – we don’t know what we want yet – big box or commercial or industrial or warehousing, which is great but doesn’t pay much income tax. They will evaluate and study along with London-Witte and DCEDI. We may want to wait before we put in pipes etc. [NOTE: So what exactly were we spending 2 years working on?]

Thompson asked about the arterial road from SR46 to 48 to US50. Comparato said residential will happen as we are focusing on this project. Messmore said it came from eth 2030 plan. Thompson noted that it looked like the old Outer Loop Highway.

Comparato wanted the board to know that the final map may not look like this plan 10 years from now. They almost never do. [NOTE: So what’s the purpose of the plan?]

Messmore asked the commissioners for a FAVORABLE RECOMMENDATION to take to the Council for their meeting next week. He said we’ve never had a more comprehensive capital approach. [NOTE: Nor a bigger land grab.]

Mark Hall stood up at this point and refused to be put off. Multiple farmers are in this part of the county and it’s the most beautiful place to live in the world. We ‘d like to live in peace but people keep bringing projects like airports and outer loop highways and now this. No one from this part of the county was part of this project development plan. You have not let the public have access to it.

Fox said that he is tired of Hall scaring people with eminent domain. Fox said, “You are scared someone will sell something to help this county.” I am not going to harm these people. I don’t believe Jeff (Hughes) would either.

Hall replied, “I am not scared.” You need 2000 acres for industrial use. Does this plan not call for an overlay Industrial zone? Why has this not come to the public? Why do only the movers and shakers know about it?
Fox said, “I think a lot of them (looking at the audience) know about it. [NOTE: Not any citizens because of any communication from the commissioners!]
Hughes – people have the right to use their property.

Thom Hammond got up, said he’d called to be on the agenda, and left a message but it apparently didn’t get through. He discussed critical issues with eminent domain and the inability to control St. Leon with regard to sewer hook-ups and warned them that when they put in sewer lines every farm along the way and home will be forced to hook on at considerable expense.
Hughes said they would probably negotiate with St. Leon for this. He has talked to St. Leon and Lawrenceburg about these hook-up issues. Hammond warned them about liens on properties and thought that even a relative of Mr. Fox’s was being sued to hook-on. He asked the commissioners to loan them the county attorney.
He asked for constructive advice. Fox said I can’t give you any we have no control over this. Hammond asked if they could create a bond appropriation for the cost to help these county residents. Make it part of their larger plan.
Commissioners took his comments.

Thompson asked about how much flood plain was in the plan. They thought 10-15%. He asked about stormwater issues on this flat land area. Mark Branaman said they would address those “along the way.” They also address private utilities in their master agreement later- including gas, electric, telecommunications, Internet etc.
The public doesn’t fit until individual projects come in. Then they get a say. [NOTE: They must be talking about the Planning Commission hearings. By that time it’s far too late for this plan to have any input.]

FOX MOTIONED and HUGHES 2nd to proceed to Council with a favorable recommendation for Phase 1 Plans. Thompson voted NAY due to the report being incomplete and having issues with public engagement.]

6. Margaret Minzner presented the recommendation for the IT contract for the ADM Bldg. The evaluation sheets from the dept. heads indicated they wanted to stay with the current provider- HiTech as they were used to working with their system and changeover would cost more, even though Midwest Data was the lowest bid by almost $4,000 over a 3-year period. Midwest Data owner- Omar Nusibeh protested this as his company was lowest and in his opinion their staff was most qualified with bachelors degrees. Kroger Technology said there staff had bachelors also. Hi- Tech was upset that they were selected by the staff recommendation and now were not approved.
Thompson had motioned to accept Minzner’s recommendation based on their staff evaluations and Fox had seconded it. Fox voted Nay then and Fox motioned to Table this for Minzner to review further concerning potential costs of changing companies etc. Thompson 2nd that to Table. All ayes.

7. Pickens had them recertify the covered bridge in Guilford and sign a bond for Pickens “in case I start taking money.” They also signed Sunman and Sparta’s EMS contracts and the Indiana lobbyist forms for Fricke and Associates.
Claims and minutes signed.

8. Hughes asked how Ewbank was doing- Kramer reported he was better. (Ewbank is in the hospital)

9. Hughes asked about changing the meeting time at Ralph’s request as he has trouble getting out US 50 after feeding animals after work. Time changed to 6:30 PM

Hughes asked for Margaret Minzner to be appointed as his alternate when he can’t make SIRPC meetings. Approved.

Meeting adjourned at 8:35 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Reminder Notice of North Dearborn Road Reconstruction Meeting

submitted by:
Kathy Scott
Harrison Township


Dearborn County is planning to reconstruct North Dearborn Road from Indiana l in Dover to McCann Road. It is slated to begin in 2008. They want to take a portion of some properties on North Dearborn Road to straighten out this road, replace the old bridge and straighten out Hiltz Road. They have surveyed and taken soil samples of properties involved. The total project cost is estimated to be about five million. At present, they plan to use both county and federal funds.

There is a public meeting about this on January 25 at 6:00 p.m. at the North Dearborn Branch Library in Logan. There will be an open house starting at 5:00 p.m. and ending at 8:00 p.m. for viewing of project displays, plans, and related documents. The formal presentation is at 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Land of Opportunity or Land for Opportunists?

Land of Opportunity or Land for Opportunists?

Don’t be confuse by the following dry notice:

Dearborn County Comprehensive Capital Programs Phase I Report and Recommendations will be presented at the Dearborn County Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, January 16 at 6:00 PM.

This report is actually the Vieste/Level 5 Engineering Report that appears to have been going on under the table for about a year now. It focuses on projects like the jail expansion and infrastructure needs.

But it’s most controversial element and the one requiring all the “secrecy” is the part where the entire northern section of Jackson Township along I-74 and SR46 to Franklin and Ripley County and ending at the St. Leon town limits is being slated for industrial/commercial development.

This area is about 7 square miles or 4,480 acres of farms and homes owned by some of the oldest families in the county.

Also considered is a NEW interstate access at St. Peter’s Road area as well as the extension of Feller Road through Steinhauser Road to Ripley County.

The words “eminent domain” come to mind because of two things:

1. the plan for a highway interchange at the site previously selected for the Outer Loop Highway option.

2. the idea that the industry and commercial land is the “highest and best use” for this land. Those words are reminiscent of the wording used in the Norwood/ Rookwood Exchange famous eminent domain case, among others. Redevelopment Commissions use them along with the word "blighted" to describe any land use that doesn't produce as much tax as their new use might produce.

The county master plan committee has NOT been consulted regarding this process or plan, though some of us have been askng for information, which has been hard to obtain.

There are NO citizens on the project committee for this Phase 1 report- only county dept. heads and Jim West of the DCEDI. (Dearborn County Economic Development Commission)

A random sample of farmers in that area indicates that none were contacted by anyone official concerning this intended use of their land. One did indicate that a local realtor had inquired just recently about buying land.

$10,000 per acre is the quoted price for the land in the interchange area- however just next door in St. Leon available land has been listed for a couple years for $55-60,000 per acre on the DCEDI site.

Support for economic growth in the region should not be at the expense of the local landowners and farmers. Is anyone concerned about their property rights?

This needs to be thoroughly examined by the public before proceeding.

Come to the commissioners meeting Tues Jan 16th at 6 PM in the ADM building.

Call 537-1040 and hit 0 to talk to the commissioner’s adm. assistant to get on the agenda to speak. They like a week’s notice to be on the agenda, but if your property is in question, perhaps they will waive that requirement.

If not- bring a sign!

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Friday, January 05, 2007

4 January 2007 DCRSD Meeting Notes

4 January 2007 DCRSD Meeting Notes

Present: Hankins, Chairman, Dennerline, Pruss, Enzweiler, Fehrman, Maxwell, and new member, Jimmy Adams.
Also present: Kramer, Attorney, Baer, Health Dept, Quinn, Engineer, and Benning, secretary.

[NOTE: With apologies to John Maxwell regarding my previous statement in December, 2006 notes regarding absenteeism on the DCRSD board. By-laws revised in 1/2006 state that a member MAY be removed if they miss 4 consecutive meetings or 8 total in a year. I had previously written that it was 6 total. In light of the new monthly meeting concept, 8 might be too large a number and the board may want to look at their by-laws.]

Hankins welcomed new member, Jimmy Adams, who replaced Patrick Holland.

[NOTE: Pat Holland was the commissioner at large member to the board. The other two members are Pruss and Enzweiler appointed by commissioners. According to by-laws one of them must own real estate in Caesar Creek, Clay, Washington, Hogan, Sparta, or center Township. The other must own real estate in Jackson, Kelso, York, or Manchester Township.]

Officers were re-elected to be the same as last year- Hankins, Chairman, Fehrman, VC, and Pruss, Treasurer.

Treasurer’s report was presented.

Cole Lane and Stewart St project began this week with Lykins. Line is low pressure at about 10 psi on a 2-inch line. Completion date was corrected to April 4th.
Louis William Baker and his father (who lived there about 50 years or more from his conversation) presented some concerns on Stewart Street, primarily with the ability for any of the neighbors there to pay the high costs of hooking up to the system. Apparently the county is putting in the main line and Aurora is in charge of who can be hired to tap in the residents. Some were hoping to be able to do the work themselves as they are on fixed incomes or disability. Mr. Baker also let them know of all the violations from Aurora and the huge volumes of sewage that had been dumped into the creek there. He has pictures of it.
Hankins informed them that Aurora was tripling the size of pumps there and correcting issues. They said there was another neighbor who could not sell their home because of the sewage issue. They paid Aurora $2500 per Baker in order to cover the costs of the grinder perhaps. Then they could sell the house. Board did not know anything about that. There are still no final figures from Aurora on rates and fees. Hankins will let them know when they have final costs. They will have to contact Aurora regarding hook-up excavation.
[NOTE: If residents of Stewart St, can’t afford to hook-up, and they can’t sell unless they have hook-up, will this further reduce the price of sale of their homes? It isn’t logical to go into an economically depressed neighborhood and expect people to afford several thousand dollars in hook-up fees. Will these people be forced from their homes?]

Serenity Ridge- Kramer sent draft interlocal agreement to Mr. Waterfill on 12/22/06. No reply yet. Tri Township charges $0.30/meter to read. Excavation costs were $8-12 per foot. They have option to run partial line to lot 5 by Tranquility Court if others don’t sign on. This captures 7 out of 10 vacant properties. It will be at a higher cost per lot though.
One of the lot owners informed the board that she didn’t want to ruffle any feathers, but that Jay Tucker adamantly stated to her that CTA extensions were not piggy backed… This discussion was dropped.
She also requested the meeting minutes of all the DCRSD so she could track their progress. She was also reading the blog- which she said was the “only way she was getting any information.” She questioned why the blog kept mentioning – BUYER BEWARE- and why these lots were even sold. She saw nothing on her plat or info that indicated buyer beware. [NOTE: I turned around and informed her at this point that it came from the plan commission meeting notes when Serenity Ridge was originally approved.]
Board members informed her that no one disputes the fact that the subdivision was poorly done, which was probably why the developer left town. Hankins went on to say that the blogosphere was an interesting place but that you have to take what you see there as being worth a grain of salt because no one is accountable in any way shape or fashion for what they write there. She will contact Benning to get copies of minutes.

[NOTE: The Public Forum blogsite is a free public service. My meeting notes posted on the blogsite clearly identify the difference between what went on at the meeting and what is inserted as explanation, background information, or opinion by inserting a bracketed bold type NOTE section.
DCRSD could become more citizen friendly and efficient by posting their agendas and draft minutes and/or approved minutes on the county’s website. A digital copy of the Woolpert Study posted there would also be helpful to citizens and many other county offices.]

Hankins stated that it was brought to his attention that the DCRSD correspondence lacks a professional appearance. He directed Benning to get with Stephanie to order letterheads.
[NOTE: On the subject of letters from the DCRSD board recommending board members be re-appointed, there seems to be a disconnect between what is said at the DCRSD meeting and what actually gets sent in the letter or verbally transmitted behind the scenes. Rather than repeating this duplicitous practice, it would be kinder to say nothing at all to the member up for appointment. The decision really rests with the appointing authority anyway.]

The next DCRSD regular meeting will be Feb 1st.

The Woolpert Study will be presented at a special meeting on Jan 25th at 7 PM in the Adm. Building Meeting Room 3rd floor. Board will receive the study at their homes about a week in advance of the meeting.

Dennerline brought up Chuck Andres and septic inspections and said that the Health Dept should handle this. Baer said a regional sewer district can encompass the entire thing including a Septic District- but we have no funding. Costs seemed to be the issue. Some comments were made concerning inspecting tanks without complaints as being non- productive. Hankins has issues with this- thinks it might be a way to prove how many are failed. I spoke up at this point and noted that cities and VRUC has failures in the sewer plants too. I think that maintenance is the issue in both cases.

Maxwell asked about the sewer analysis from Greendale to Guilford. He is not in favor of pressure lines there. He asked if there was a route that could get there by gravity and no lift stations. Quinn told him along the creek there is a route that can do that. But it costs more than pressure. Quinn is concerned there are only 110 homes to feed onto this line. Gravity cost at $1 million would be about $10,000 per home, which is the same as the cost of a new septic system. There was talk of trying to get Greendale to treat for $1 –2 or so rather than $5.60.
[NOTE: Maxwell is right. Putting gravity here will look like a smart move years from now. Every road feeding to SR1 comes in at a hillside. Any development above on those roads can be fed via gravity to this line. SR1 itself should not be developed, as it is the main N-S artery on the east side of the county. But the feeding roads eventually might be. Greendale has 12 inch narrowed to 10 inch at the end already in place per Jacobsen. Maintenance is the issue that we are dealing with all over the county. Putting in a low maintenance gravity system is best. PNS could have provided a lot of winter flow and some summer event flow for this line had it been in place prior to them building a line up their slopes with lift stations.]

Maxwell wanted more info on the interlocal agreements. Aurora’s agreement will be worked on some more at Tues meeting with their attorney. There is a small amount of excess capacity in the lines on Stewart and Cole, but not a lot per Quinn.

LMH agreement is on hold till they hear back from Waterfill.

St. Leon’s contact is John Watson, their attorney. Kramer said that St. Leon will serve where their lines are and have had projects approved and designed outside the town that they have capacity for, but the usage is not taken up yet, as they are not completely built out. County gets the rest of the territory. If we want to tap, we apply to the town and present and pay their engineer to analyze. He can require us to pay for upgrades as needed. All this has to be pre-approved and we have some financial interest in their plant.
Maxwell said this is how they do business with St. Leon also. We pay for the analysis. Sometimes they just end up writing St. Leon a big check and then we can hook-up.
Kramer said that the board has a map of all St. Leon lines that was given to the former attorney. Quinn also noted that there should be a 3rd party arbitrator in these agreements in case they don’t agree.
DCRSD is eligible for a wholesale rate but there is no percentage set forth in the agreement yet- we need to know what this is per Kramer. St. Leon wants us to pay 45% of expansion of phase 1 for about 145,000 gallons. There are a lot of master meters in the St. Leon system. Quinn is not a fan of master meters. They need a lot of flow to work accurately.

They want to wait for Woolpert before finishing up agreement with St. Leon.
Hankins noted with two TIF districts in St. Leon area we need to have capacity for development there. We need to get capacity Hankins said or else there will not be any shovel ready sites for business. Currently St. Leon has COMMITTED to 80 % of their capacity, but their USAGE is not that high yet, as build out is not finished in some developments.

Meeting adjourned at 9:10 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Mark Your Calendars

Reminder notice submitted by
Kathy Scott
Harrison Township

Mark Your Calendars

This meeting is important for members of the master plan advisory board as well as for any citizens interested in Dearborn County Regional Sewer District Plans for growth and development.

DCRSD Special Meeting
Thursday, Jan. 25th
County Administration Building
3rd floor

Topic: Woolpert Sewer Study

Thursday, January 04, 2007

3 January 2007 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

3 January 2007 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

Present: Jeff Hughes, Chairman, Rick Fox, and Ralph Thompson
Also Present: Bob Ewbank, Attorney, Cary Pickens, Auditor, and Bryan Messmore, Administrator

[Note: Vieste President and Level 5 Engineering rep- Dick Robertson were meeting with county officials just prior to this meeting in Messmore’s office.]

Hughes opened the meeting and requested a moment of silence in honor of former president Gerald Ford.

Hughes was reappointed chairman- unanimously. Hughes thanked the 2 commissioners for reappointing him and complimented Thompson on his victory.

All current county dept heads were reappointed unanimously. They are:
Bryan Messmore- County Administrator
Bob Ewbank- via contract- County Attorney
Todd Listerman- Director of Transportation and Engineering Dept, County Engineer, and County Highway Supervisor.
Don Townsend- Building Inspector
Margaret Minzner- GIS Specialist
Jeff Smith- Weights and Measures
Cheryl Lohmiller- Animal Control
Bill Black- Emergency Mgmt.
Charlie Ashley- 911 Director
Bill Ewbank- Veteran’s services Officer
Eric Hartman- Maintenance

Reappointment of Committees and Boards:

[NOTE: Two changes of significance with no explanation given for the changes occurred in DCRSD Board and in Plan Commission/BZA. There was also discussion on the “in futuro” appointments on the health board.]

Thompson suggested at the beginning of this part of the process that the commissioners consider resumes for these positions as Hughes had asked about in past years. Thompson said that in his research with Stephanie’s help that there were gaps in requirements, records of qualifications for the boards, ordinances reflecting who has appointing authority, etc.
Hughes said he doesn’t disagree with that idea and that in fact OKI in their reorganization tried to do just that. Thompson said the people essentially hire us. Fox retorted – asking Thompson if he was saying that the people don’t think we are doing a good job.
Thompson said that it was not a personal attack, just a way of doing things in a professional and business like manner.

Appointments went as follows:

OKI- on both Board of Directors and Executive Board- Fox and Hughes to serve. Thompson Abstained on this vote.

SIRPC- Hughes to serve.

Convention and Visitor’s Bureau- Messmore to represent the Commissioners seat and three citizens are: Dave Lorey, Charlotte Hastings, and Debbie Morris.

Redevelopment Commission- Fox to take Benning’s seat. Thompson Abstained.

County Farm Board- Originally tabled, then they decided to have Fox remain on it and the 2 citizens reappointed were Mike Heffelmire and Rick Bauer.

Plan Commission- Thompson to serve, as Hughes no longer wants to be on it. Thompson Abstained.
Rick Fox turned in Ken Nelson’s resume at the meeting and Hughes and he commented that the resume indicated he’d be a good choice. Nelson was appointed with Thompson Abstaining. [Note: Nelson’s 3-page resume apparently does not list his previous stint as a member of the PC back in the 1990s nor the reason he no longer served on it.
No reasons were given for not reappointing Jane Ohlmansiek to this position.]

BZA- Ken Nelson appointed with Thompson Abstaining. No reasons were given for not reappointing Jane Ohlmansiek to this position.

Health Board- Fox complimented Thompson saying it was a good catch that he realized these appointments made in the fall were “in futuro” and then Fox motioned to legally appoint Rodney Dennerline and Mike Hankins to the Health Board. Thompson abstained.
[NOTE: It’s always amusing to see politicians feign no knowledge of their previous “errors”]

Historic Hoosier Hills- Dan Stroup reappointed.

Alcoholic Beverage Board- Jim Dole reappointed.

Solid Waste Board- all three commissioners serve per state law.

Common Construction Wage Board- Fox motioned for Thompson- who voted Nay. Motions were rescinded and then Hughes was appointed.

Regional Sewer District- Thompson read part of the letter and the draft minutes from the sewer board. The DCRSD by consensus had directed Benning- their secretary – to draw up a letter stating that DCRSD recommended reappointing Pat Holland to that board. Thompson noted the letter did NOT reflect what the DCRSD board had directed- only stating that Holland currently served- but NOT stating their recommendation. He also noted no letter head- no signature- and the generally lack of professional appearance to the letter.
Fox said the sewer board hadn’t had a vote on it and wanted to appoint Jimmy Adams to the board. Adams appointed- Thompson Abstained.
[NOTE: Benning had wanted to be in this spot originally, but previous commissioners decided a citizen rep would be a better choice. Benning apparently can’t be paid secretary to the Sewer Board and on the Board as well. Jimmy Adams and his wife Reann were major contributors ($400-500 each time) to Benning’s campaigns in 1998 and 2002.]

PTA-BOA (Tax appeals board) – Fox wants to keep current appointees as the PSEG negotiations are still going on. Phil Hartwell and Vera Benning reappointed. Thompson Abstained.

Chamber of Commerce- All 3 serve ex-officio. Non – voting. Messmore appointed to represent commissioners.

Animal Control Board- tabled.

Juvenile Advisory Board- Thompson appointed and Thompson Abstained.

EMA Board- Hughes appointed. Thompson Abstained.

Cemetery Board- Art Wenzel appointed to finish Tony Gilb’s term. Gilb desired to resign.

Ed Opp of Aurora EMS- asked commissioner’s blessing to go to council to seek and increase from $12,000 to $20,000 per ambulance for 2008 budget.
Approved to go to Council.

Sheriff Lusby opened commissary bids from Ellenbee Leggett and Gordons. Lusby asked to accept both bids, as they are equally qualified. Approved.

Margaret Minzner GIS- opened two sets of bids for commissioners.
IT services- Hi-Tech- for $54,144
Midwest Data- $50,400
Kroger Tech- $59,720
Commissioners asked Minzner and Ewbank to review bids for compliance and give recommendation later.

Second bid set for other GIS services ranged from $48,000 to $315,000 with JDJ Survey, Ball State, 39 degrees North, WTH, Sidwell, Bayer Becker, Hrezo, and Schneider. These will also be reviewed and a recommendation made at a later date.

Ewbank told commissioners that bids DO NOT have to be opened in their meeting- they only have to be opened in front of a witness. Todd Listerman informed them that highway always puts in their public notice when the bids are due and when the public opening will occur. Hughes said maybe the rest of the depts. can follow that pattern.
[NOTE: The awarding of the bid and the reason for the choice should still be public- it would protect the county from allegations of favoritism etc from competing bidders.]

New Business: EMS contract with Lawrenceburg for 2 ambulances for 2007 was presented by Pickens and signed- $24,000.

Claims and Minutes- Thompson abstained as these pre-date his term. Pickens said there would be no more big greenbar sheets just a small summary sheet for signature. [NOTE: How do commissioners inspect claims?]

Messmore- presented the recommendation for the property and liability insurance as Hylant Group (http://www.hylant.com/cincinnati.htm) using Argonaut Insurance. He said Hylant was one of the top 10 big firms in the country. He said we get more insurance coverage – cheaper. Their bid was $257,000. Seitz bid $332,000 and Booher and Taylor bid $263,000. Hughes asked about local business vs. out of the area and service issues. [NOTE: It’s unfortunate that this large a contract is going out of the county, particularly at a time when we are trying to attract new business and support existing ones.] Messmore stated these people have a whole dept. of people to serve us. Thompson- abstained as he had no background on this issue to make the decision. Hylant was approved and Fox asked Messmore to get Thompson a copy for his peace of mind.

Ewbank stated there were no new lawsuits filed this month. He did state there was a need to get an attorney to represent them in Tampa, FL for the Anchor Glass bankruptcy hearing, which seeks to eliminate all previous taxes owed by the company. Fed courts have jurisdiction over this.

Thompson brought up the idea of reinstating public comment in the commissioner meetings. He said he feels like the public is our employers and they should have a right to speak. He cited campaign comments from both Fox and Hughes from their newspaper write-ups and also Hughes idea of town hall meetings even. He said it would of course have to be in a respectful and concise fashion, similar to what Plan Commission requires, maybe even with sign in cards.

Fox said- we have never refused anyone wanting to get on the agenda. We like to handle the meetings professionally. If people just come in with road questions we can’t answer them, unless we know what they want so we can look into it. In the last 2 years people lose site of a lot of what we’ve done here. Todd has a road inventory, we have an equipment replacement schedule. People wanted a park and now county farm will be one. We’ve saved $77,000 a year in insurance. I like to either answer or fix the problem, even if they don’t always agree with it.
Fox went on to cite Cook Road and Barber Road. He said some people get their problem fixed and don’t even have to come to our meeting here. [NOTE: Why not solve the problem publicly? Do commissioners meet and decide road issues outside public meetings?]
Thompson said- apparently you disagree with having public comment. They nodded that they disagreed.
Fox continued to go on and on about all that they’ve done. He said he ahs gone to people’s houses and Jeff has too- in the middle of the night sometimes- [Note: Middle of the night? YIKES! ] This job entails a lot of time- I think you’ll be surprised.
Thompson- This is not a personal attack.
[NOTE: Fox seems to think this is all about roads. People desire to speak at meetings for other reasons. Sometimes they have information or historical background that might help. It seems foolish to close the meetings to new ideas or thoughts.]

Hughes asked about Messmore being able to sign payroll claims if Hughes was unavailable.
Ewbank thought that it was not a duty that could be delegated to anyone other than another commissioner. Pickens thought he could use Hughes name stamp maybe. Ewbank to research.

Meeting adjourned at 7:30 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township