Wednesday, April 18, 2007

17 April 2007 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

17 April 2007 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

Present: Hughes, Chairman, Fox, and Thompson.
Also Present: Pickens, Auditor, Ewbank, Attorney, and Messmore, Administrator.
TWO uniformed police officers were present.

This meeting was preceded by an executive session on a health claim appeal. Commissioners voted at this meeting to deny the claim as it was already covered under the current plan.

1.YES Home –Liz Morris- asked permission to go to Council for $1500 to replace the door on the YES Home (the county owns the building.) Commissioners advised her to coordinate repairs through the Maintenance Dept (Eric Hartman.)

2. Regional Sewer District- DCRSD- Mike Hankins requesting permission to go to Council for funding for two projects total $3.9 million:

St. Leon- $2.4 Million

W. Aurora (High Ridge plus about 50 homes to go to Dillsboro probably as Aurora is under IDEM orders) - about $1.5 million total with $220,000 soft costs included.

He said that the Woolpert Study was finished and they were proceeding with one of their recommendations for the TIF area by adding capacity in St. Leon. The DCRSD board felt strongly that they should connect High Ridge to Aurora or Dillsboro rather than Woolpert’s recommendation of a freestanding plant.

Thompson asked several questions which Hankins answered as below:

What were the three largest expenditures of DCRSD? Construction on Cole and Stewart St for $236,000; Woolpert Study at $176,000, and Attorney fees (Lehner) at almost $100,000.

With the interlocal agreement on Cole Lane with the homeowners paying towards the costs, what is Denridge Acres share of that cost? [NOTE: Denridge Acres is the trailer park currently hooked to Aurora sewers via an old lift station and lines that run through other property (Rack’s). They have reportedly 36 trailers owned by Rodney Dennerline- a DCRSD Board member.] Answer was that Dennerline donated the easement for the pipe to get to the lift station plus the 3-phase electric line.

How many houses are on Cole Lane? About 27 or 28. The additional volume of the trailer park is needed to help scour the 4-inch line to US 50. They needed a line big enough in case they extended it further on Cole Lane.
[NOTE: Construction drawings last revised 9/28/06 that went to bid for Cole Lane show a 4-inch line for 1300 ft to just past Sherman St. Then it drops to a 3-inch line for 1700 ft. and then to a 2.5 inch line for 1300 ft to Denridge. There is a 1.25-inch line for air valve release at the end. ]

How long to pay this off? About 30 years. Thompson said- more like 45 years. Hankins then agreed with that number.

Did Dennerline recuse himself on all issues relating to that line? No.

Thompson then asked Ewbank about pecuniary interests and conflict of interest. Ewbank demurred on the specific case, but said that in general they should avoid all appearances of conflict of interest. Thompson used the example of himself abstaining on voting when a company he’d worked with was being considered earlier this year.

Fox asked if Dennerline’s was the deciding vote. No. [NOTE: Fox doesn’t understand the law. That does NOT mean there was no conflict of interest. In fact, it is part of this blog’s notes in the past and also public record that the DCRSD Board switched gears from their original purpose for formation (High Ridge Estates) to do Cole Lane and Stewart Street first. Dennerline’s role in all those discussions was as an active participant.]

Hankins said this line was replacing existing service to Dennerline’s trailer park.

Thompson said the NEW lift box and the NEW line up the hill is pecuniary interest. And the new lines go up Cole Lane instead of across Rack’s property. We are not being good stewards of the public’s tax dollars if other citizens on Cole Lane are charged to help pay it off.

Fox said there are good people on that board and Dennerline wasn’t the deciding vote.

Hankins said this was a 4- inch line and that would do 300 homes. A 2- inch covers 25-30 homes. There is a $12.35 surcharge on top of the sewer bill for those homes to help pay off the debt service.
Thompson said it’d be hard to get a bond with a 45-year payback.

Fox- IDEM ordered them to fix this?
Hankins- NO- but the HEALTH DEPT (Dennerline and Hankins are on the Health Board also) was aware of this and it happened to be the place we started. [Note: Happened???? How did it Happen?]

Fox insisted that Dennerline is not getting a free ride.

Thompson- Can Dennerline increase the number of trailers there with this increased capacity? There is additional real estate there. Aware of issues with Rack having the line on his property and the age of the lift station. The maintenance of this lift station now shifts to Aurora from Dennerline.

High Ridge is close to $1 million and no rate studies were done on this. There are long-term paybacks on St Leon too.
Fox said there are too many homes with kids and sewers in ditches – need a long-term solution.
Hankins- IDEM likes a 30% increase in capacity in constructing lines. Thompson- How’d you sneak a 4-inch in there? (Laughter)

Thompson asked if they planned to force connections between High Ridge and Dillsboro. Hankins said yes first. Then Thompson asked about elderly and fixed incomes there. Hankins said that policy was derived separate from the incomes of the homeowners.
It became clear that the commissioners were not in favor of forcing hook-ups, and Hankins then agreed saying especially not on large lots- like 60 acres with cows in the front yard…

Fox motioned and Hughes 2nd to allow DCRSD to go to Council to ask for $2.4 million for St. Leon sewer capacity increase and $220,000 for the soft costs on High Ridge Estates. (Not the rest until they see what design study says). Two Ayes. Thompson Nay as he was concerned there was no policy on not forcing connections and thought they were loaded too heavily on soft costs. Passed.

3. Building Dept- Townsend was out of town- Tabled the order for as burned out structure to be removed on207 Winter Street owned by Beverly Gabbard. Complaint filed by neighbor who has been looking at it for 2.5 years. Ewbank needed proof of service and Gabbard was not present so this was tabled until May 1st for Townsend’s input.

4. Terry Miller- Local Public Health Coordinator wanted commissioner’s approval to place a defibrillator on the wall outside the Commissioner’s room. This was purchased as part of city readiness grant money. Wanted to be sure of liability issues. Ewbank thought that with Good Samaritan laws this would be fine. Hughes said his father lived two more years because of a defibrillator being available when he needed it. The Safety Committee will decide where to mount the defibrillator case.
Miller said there is more money coming in these grants until August- and they may be renewed then. There will be a homeland Security rep for Dearborn County. We’ll need office space for them- though not appointed yet. Miller also said there was good attendance at the pandemic presentation at Agner Hall- though it is harder to get volunteers when infectious diseases are the issue.

5. Dave Lykins- Woliung Road resident- asked the status of Woliung Road- he offered previously and offer still stands- to prepare the road – excavate etc- to county specs if county will provide the asphalt to pave it. It’s a connector- gravel- between Ester Ridge and Weisberg.
Commissioners called Todd Listerman to see where it was on the road priority list. The short answer (Listerman went on at length explaining road funding patterns) was that it wasn’t even evaluated because it’s road count was 54 vpd. They can’t get the main roads done with the small funding that is left. [NOTE: Council went from allowing over $ 5million per year for roads from riverboat revenue to about $1.5 million for 2007. That’s insufficient to keep up the ones we have even. Where did the money go?]

Lykins asked if they’d turn the road back to the owner. Fox said NO! Lykins asked several times for dust control- that program is no longer used.

6. Heart House- Craig Beckley – gave update on Migrant Housing Project- apparently fulfilling some grant criteria as he had citizens in the audience sign in to show that this was done at a public meeting. Beckley first went off on the difficulties getting Heart House approved and that he had to resort to getting Dillsboro to be lead agency to handle the grants. He cites the $750,000 60- bed facility as a big success and economically more feasible compared to what some people want to spend to build a shelter for stray dogs and cats!

He then said the migrant housing on Beiersdorfer’s Orchard land is for US citizens and was started 3 years ago with a CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) but they county backed down due to opposition. Two years ago Benning and two of these commissioners now voted to allow it. Greg Gavin built it- a $260,000 brick duplex and they ended up under budget and returned $16,000 to the housing development authority. This apparently was a first- and the Housing Development Group was amazed that they saw any money returned.
He talked about three publications citing their migrant housing as noteworthy or star project. No county funds were spent but they ended up getting federal tax dollars back into our county. [Note: This is usually labeled pork.]

Beckley then allowed Bill, Russell, and Jerry Beiersdorfer to speak to publicly commend the commissioners for doing this project. They thanked commissioners and Russell noted that they pay more taxes to the county on this housing than they did on the trailer and that was good for the county. Fox said many people were not on board with this and now they changed their minds. Hughes asked how the apples would be this year with the frost. Beiersdorfers said they are one of the few lifetime farmers in the county. “You have to enjoy it”- and that they “know the real meaning of red-neck” (referring to working out in the hot sun.)

Beckley got in the last word- saying we are on the leading edge of quality low income housing in the county. [NOTE: This grant works out so that the housing will become Beiersdorfer’s after 20-years of them paying taxes on it.]

7. Phil Weaver sent new polling precincts. Commissioners signed. L-bg 3 moved from the utility building to the Legion Hall.

8. Water and Sewer ordinance amendment was read by Ewbank- Commissioners signed to get it sent to the Plan Commission for their consideration for a hearing. Then it will come back to commissioners. The upshot is that if a pole barn is proposed on land- the septic tank does not have to be inspected if the owner signs an affidavit that it is not interfering with leach lines or the tank or secondary site. [NOTE: This makes more sense- there are too many unrelated inspections going on- at costs to the taxpayers.]

9.GIS- Margaret Minzner- gave an update along with a proposal for commissioners to consider for the long term. The $800,000 price tag for this parcel project is not in the funds. GIS has $100,000 and they plan to seek $120,000 from Lawrenceburg. Lines on maps don’t match- this is a way to correct that problem. Other counties of similar size did it in-house and it took 9-years. Parcels could be evaluated faster as in what is needed for the TIF’s if we had this done. Parcels are linked to tax revenue, reassessments, etc. Minzner wants to spend the money and do it right the first time.
Minzner is also doing a GIS of historic structures with a Historic Landmark Foundation Grant.
The orthophotography will be flown in 2008, which works better with the last data being 3-years old by then.
Commissioners will get parcel project demo as will dept. head soon- they will do commissioners at a regular meeting. She needs opinion on which way to go before June for the budget requests for 2008.

10. Todd Listerman- Transportation Dept-
Stateline and Stephens started yesterday.
He’s going to Council Tuesday for money for the Collier Ridge slip. After recent rains, it’s moving more. HC Nutting was consulted for geotech proposal for about ands caissons will be needed as they drill to bedrock along the hillside. Cost about $200,000 maybe. They will have a little over $400,000 from Major Moves again as the 2nd part of a 2-year program. It can be spent on anything MVHA can be spent on – though they want to try to use it for something that can trigger economic development.

Listerman said they need $6 million to run our hwy dept. at a standard level. $3.3 million needed for cum bridge. At the last meeting, INDOT said 2013 was the earliest they’d get any state projects and only $20 million to use for all 92 counties total. He sees need to work with Council also to see what we can do to offset the deficits and what we aren’t able to do in the 2030 plan. Funding doesn’t match our needs- all counties noticing this. He hopes to get answer by Friday on North Dearborn Road project- as they said at INDOT that they weren’t going to fund it, as the $1 wasn’t enough to hold that.

Lastly- he broke ground on his house and hopes to be a Dearborn County resident by the end of the summer.

11. Pickens presented Greendale EMS contract- approved and signed.

Thompson abstained from approving regular claims as he couldn’t review them- Hughes had them spread out on the desk and he didn’t want to mess with Hughes’s system.
Fox abstained from working session minutes, as he was not there.

12. Dick Robertson – Vieste, LLC presented the four claims from last meeting for payment.

Thompson said there was no back-up on the PSA Dewberry claim and it’s dated thru 3/16 when stop work order was for 3/6. London Witte’s by contrast were completely documented for Jan and Feb.

Robertson said- basically we are trying to get PSA Dewberry paid for the work they’ve done without a contract. Robertson will get them details by Friday he says.
Robertson said the Vieste bill for March 1-31 was per the schedule in the appendix of the phase 1 report. Even though they are on a stop work order from March 6th on they switched to working on the 2030 road plan as an extension of county staff.

[NOTE: Robertson did not show any work for that and after the meeting it was determined that it’s in his computer and has not been delivered to the county transportation dept. – And yet he is getting paid for this- to the tune of $39,877.50! Who ordered this change? Why don’t all the commissioners know about it? When did they do it? Why do I get the feeling they are making up jobs to keep these guys “busy” while they figure out how to get the jail done? HAS ANYONE LOOKEDF INTO CHANGING OR ELIMINATING THE CONTRACT TO REFLECT WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON NOW? This is no way to inspire confidence from the taxpayers.]

Thompson asked- “You get paid the same amount, even if your work is less?”
Hughes- Yes- that is the contract.

Thompson- motioned to accept both London Witte claims for payment- $5,173.63 and $4125.85 for Jan and Feb. Fox 2nd all ayes.

Thompson voted to reject PSA Dewberry based on inadequate information and back-up. Fox 2nd all ayes.

Fox motioned to put PSA Dewberry back onto the claims list for May 1st IF they receive proper back-up. Hughes 2nd. Thompson NAY- Passed.

Fox said that Thompson came on board later- maybe hasn’t seen the whole contract and payments scheduled.
Thompson said he read it all- he does NOT like the contract or the way it works. You should have to DO SOMETHING and then you get paid.
Fox- is going to have to go to L-bg to get some long term funding for roads.

Fox motioned to approve Vieste for $39,877.50. Hughes 2nd. Passed with Thompson NAY>
Hughes said if the individual does the work we have to pay them by contract. [NOTE: Nowhere did we see evidence of what work they were doing.]

13. Fox agrees with Ralph Thompson and Hughes to send a letter to DCRSD to NOT force people to hook-up to the sewers. Messmore can draw it up- but all three commissioners will sign it.

14. Lifetime Resources letters signed for the state- same as before.

Meeting adjourned at 9:50 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township


Anonymous said...

If Vieste applied for food stamps and WIC in this county, somehow I think they would get it. Why and how does this county put up with this? Why and how does this county put up with Hughes and Fox?

Anonymous said...

Fox said there are good people on that board and Dennerline wasn’t the deciding vote.

Fox is quite the fool!

Dennerline participated, partook and played a large part in all aspects of this “sewer” matter.

He had a pecuniary interest and should of recused himself entirely!

But, of course, the sewer board is just another good ole boy complex customary in Dearborn County…where pecuniary interests are the number one goal of many on that board!

Anonymous said...

We have Dennerline, Fehrman and Maxwell, among others with conflicting interests on the sewer board...

All we need on the board are the queens of enabling conflicts of interests :

Benning and Lehner!

Anonymous said...

How can all these people operate in violation of the law and nothing happen?

Where is Aaron Negangard on this? Why doesn't the prosecutor investigate and take action? At least force them to resign!!

Of course Vieste donated money to a political campaign. Was that to secure their job??

Anonymous said...

The sewer board 'gave' benefit to Dennerline at the expense of the other residents on Cole Lane and Stewart St., and the Commissioners then gave them more money???

How do the other residents feel about paying for what Dennerline gets for free?

Anonymous said...

How do the other residents feel about paying for what Dennerline gets for free?

You see, you are not a "true" Dearborn County Republican unless you have the ability to get fellow Dearborn countians to foot your bills and pad your pockets!

Anonymous said...

Dennerline is a dejure DINO and a defacto RINO...

His type of "politician" gives rise for the need of Febreeze!

But the stench still lingers!

Anonymous said...

Why is Brett Fehrman running for Aurora City Council? Brett what do you want FOR the city and the taxpayers? Or should the question be...what do YOU want FROM the city?

Anonymous said...

Brett Fehrman is the most transparent of the welfare activists working dilligently for the poor and down-trodden realtor/developer interests of Dearborn County.

Without Brett, realtor/developers would have to pay impact fees for sewer and other infastructure...with Brett...that cost is laid on the taxpayers!

But he is a real "Republican! Just ask Democrat Linkmeyer, who had Brett's support last election!"

Pissants...Brett and all his friends!