Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Conversation With a Commissioner Cancelled for Tonight

Conversation With a Commissioner at Aurora Library Cancelled for Tonight

Commissioner Ralph Thompson's Conversation with a Commissioner scheduled at Aurora Library for this evening is cancelled due to a schduling conflict. He apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused. Anyone wishing to contact him can reach him on his county cell phone at 584-3974.

25 June 2007 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

25 June 2007 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

Present: Hall, Chairman, Feiss, Nelson, Kraus, Jr., Thompson, and Held.
ABSENT: Mitter, DeMaynadier, and Laws.
Also present: McGill, Attorney, McCormack, Plan Director, and Rademacher, Enforcement Office

1. Major revisions to Villages of Sugar Ridge Planned Unit Development (Miller Township Sect 13 on Augusta Drive with 7.013 acres) on Lot 156 by Golf Hole #1 to situate attached single-family homes requiring variances for front yard setbacks and sidewalk locations and a variance for distance between 2 proposed entrances. The applicant was Hrezo Engineering for owner TBS Development, LLC. Hrezo Engineering was present- the owner(s) were not. The owners of TBS were named in the discussion, but it is unclear what TBS stands for, as it does not match the owner’s names. They recently purchased the piece in the springtime. They are lowering the density in this area.

This is zoned PUD already by MT Investments (Mike Macke)

Cul de sac on Sawgrass and Muirfield Ct is 700 ft approx. Storm water issues have been addressed, the putting green is being moved and they plan a 50-ft ROW now for these two roads.

6 members of the audience were present with direct interest in this case. Three spoke.

In summary- Augusta Drive appears to be the main street- to become public eventually-and Oakmont also. There are several other side PRIVATE streets that will be maintained by DIFFERENT Home Owners Associations (HOAs) how these HOAs are tied to the main one and whether they have enough membership to actually maintain their amenities and streets is questionable- unless they combine. Macke has apparently sold of larger pieces to patio home developers or single home builders, or condo developers, etc. Because of all the changes requested in the past, Macke is required to bring back each change to the PC as the cumulative effects of these “little” changes has ended up being significant in the PC’s eyes.

The banquet facility has moved several times on the plans, densities in areas change, green space moves or is diminished. What neighbors saw on original plans in 2003 is NOT what they are getting in their back yards now. It appears to be less a planned unit development and more multi-tiered living styles built around a golf course- and the golf course keeps moving too.
Originally, there was more buffered protection to surrounding properties. That is changing.
The bike and pedestrian paths are not done so far.

THERE IS A LAPSED ROAD BOND!!!!! [NOTE: How did this happen? These bonds were all brought up to date several years ago. There should be NO WORK done on this development until those are reviewed and renewed. Who is protecting the county?]

The light at HVL and Stephens Road that the developer was to pay for is still not installed. Bonding is also an issue for this. Apparently, the HWY DEPT took over the bonds and somehow this has not been enforced. Communication between Plan Dept and HWY needs to be better- as Plan Dept. is in charge of issuing permits and enforcement.

Public speaking included Vince Karsteter, Steve Hinkey (sp?), and Larry Stange.

Questions raised:

If he’s decreased density here, can he increase it elsewhere? Answer- he has to come back to PC, as that would be a major change.

Where are the sidewalks and bike paths? Answer- Nowhere on the project yet- the bike path is along Augusta Dr and goes from one side of the road to the other.

Concerned that Macke seems to NOT be playing by rules set in 2003- why isn’t he being forced to play by the rules? This is DIFFERENT. No answer yet.

We end up having to monitor this- and it should be the county.

No one is sure where the banquet center and putting green are going. How about the HOAs and the densities?

This started originally as 74 homes- now it’s over 300. People paid a lot of money (nearly a million in some cases) to live here and their property values are decreasing.

Question the safety of a bike path where people cross the BUSY road- and also the hilly terrain as even suitable for that. Behind him was a single-family home- then a driving range- now a street with a bunch of homes. Not safe for kids to play in their own woods now.

End Public.

Thompson- PUD should be a PLANNED unit development- where is the plan? We see a new owner with a piece of a PUD – who’s doing the overall planning to make this entirely into a PUD? Concerned with ROW and HOAs ability to maintain roads. The tenor of the development fits a PUD, but the vagaries – bike paths etc seem to be a concern.

Held- current plan for this piece is OK- but we need to make sure changes occur in eth proper process.

Kraus, Jr.- the zoning ordinance covers dimensional variances and tech review should have put those criteria into the report. Paul from Hrezo Eng answered that the 13-ft dimensional setback variance was to try to NOT disturb natural vegetation etc.

Nelson- need help in managing PUD- HOA has to be overall to manage the separate HOAs. There needs to be an established agenda of responsibility for HOAs and sub- HOAs. The subdivision regs require bonding of public improvements. Is the bike trail bonded or is it in pieces of each HOA? How is adjustment in density handled- they can’t just increase it somewhere, If you give it up here- that’s it- they can’t come back later and say they want more units elsewhere, when people are counting on something else happening.[NOTE: Nelson is right on target here.]

McCormack- Villages of Sugar Ridge Cottages and Sugar Glen each have their own HOAs and were developed by different entities too. Don’t think this is really a PUD- it’s just housing built around a golf course- this is not a self-sustaining town center kind of project.

Feiss- I was here when this was presented- unfortunately- I thought it was a good product- but the few times I went through there I was appalled. We’ve given him control to do a project we approved and he’s NOT doing what we approved.

Hall- Everything is shifted- there are a lot more private roads showing up than originally planned.

McCormack- Listerman had problems with the overall bonds for the light etc. THE BONDS EXPIRED!!! [NOTE: We’re back to the 1990’s with expiring bonds again?]

Thompson- We can cease issuing permits if there is no bond. Specified time period needs to be set for bike paths. We need to regain control of this PUD. This development is a nice one with lower density, but it will be a nightmare with too many HOAs- it’s fragmented all to hell and back. Is it reasonable to table this to get this together?

Bob Hrezo- Asked them not to hold up approval- to try to find another mechanism to get this accomplished for TBS (the developer). Mike Hrezo- attach something to the deed to let future buyers know what the PUD commitments are?

Thompson- because someone didn’t do his homework- not our issue- we are charged with protecting the county.

Karsteter- questioned whether TBS wasn’t really Macke- as he knows he can’t come back with changes for a year. Hrezo Eng gave the names of the three owners- none was Macke.

Thompson motioned to table to get a comp plan for the PUD to see if it can be brought back into control. There is no problem with the variances as requested. Held 2nd . All ayes except for Kraus, Jr. NAY. Passed to Table for up to 90 days. They are looking for letter on enforcement of bonds, light, storm water, and HOAs.
PC is scheduling an executive session on this in July.

2. Amendments to the Subdivision Control Ordinance were a mixed result. The amendments to Section 315 and 520 were passed- with the changes from worst-case scenario to maximum allowable use fixed in the text.
The other parts were tabled for 30 days and to get more road designs from Listerman, bonds, etc.

3. Announcements:
Land Use plan to be in Aug- Sept.

Going to St. Leon Meeting July 11th to be approved to help them in their Planning.

VRUC is NOT allowing new permits due to a $3300 impact fee from Greendale that they are fighting.

PC staff had performance reviews.

2008 budget was prepared.

Meeting adjourned 10:40 PM
Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Friday, June 22, 2007

21 June 2007 DCRSD Meeting Notes

The following notes are provided in an effort to record the transactions of the meeting without editorial comment, except clarification of events.

21 June 2007 Dearborn County Regional Sewer District- DCRSD Meeting Notes

Present: Chairman, Hankins, Fehrman, Enzweiler, Pruss, Holland, Dennerline, and Maxwell
Also Present: Quinn, Engineer, and Benning, Secretary, Doug Baer, Health Dept., 5 residents of Serenity Ridge (first part of meeting only), Jerry Jacobsen and Ralph Thompson.

Meeting started at 7:00 PM in the Basement Break Room/Sewer District Office. Crowded and without recording device.

Meeting Notes
Meeting Notes for June 7, 2007 approved (Several people were talking and it was difficult to determine who moved and seconded).

Serenity Ridge
Mr. Quinn proposed to have the project the second week in July. An estimate of the construction cost is $55,000. He proposed they do the project and DCRSD pickup the balance. The project is permitted to the end. He suggested bidding on July 16 and advertising for two weeks. TQ will do the pre-bid meeting early in July. The question was asked if the funding has been secured. DCRSD will need to either collect funds or get written agreement with residents for participation by July5, 2007. 11 residents have committed out of 19. Cost to residents will be 1/19 of the construction and design costs, plus the cost to the owners for the grinder pump, connection, electric and abandonment of the septic system. London Witte has not finished the rate study. Need to send a letter to all residents to participate and connect or face the consequences. DCRSD hopes to start with the eleven and fund the short fall. Projected cost $65,000 with engineering and legal costs. Residents will face about $4,000 in costs for grinder pump, etc. For existing septic systems less than five years old the rebate is based on a maximum of $4,800 per State statute. The formula uses the number of months the system has been in use divided by 96 (noted by the members that this is not five years) multiplied by $4,800. This applies only if the system is deemed functional by the health department. (Most of the systems are approx. 2 years old.) Mr. Baer indicated time will be counted from start of use not permit date. If the residents opt out now, it will cost significantly more in 3 years. If opt out they will divid the cost by the number of residents and as others join rebate to cost to the early joiners.
Residents present wanted firmer costs.

Prebid meeting to be July 16, 2007 and bids due August 16, 2007. Construction to start in September and the expected to last two months. The IDEM permit is in hand.
The monthly fee is to be based on TTW(?) water bill. Exact hasn't been determined and will be by agreement with LMH, expected to be about twice the water bill. The residents will be DCRSD customers since they are outside the LMH CTA.

Hook up will require an upfront fee paid by the residents. Several residents commented on this being a large sum. They cannot afford it. Having trouble with developer.

DCRSD will send a letter with the connection cost estimate to all residents (Serenity Ridge and Tranquility). Residents may have to get a bank loan or second mortgage. No mode for DCRSD to finance. The residents again expressed concern. Baer indicated he had proposed an Indigent Owner Fund to Council; but, got no backing. The Indigent Fund would require residents to have two turn downs by financial institutions to then apply to the Fund. Then an assessment and Lien would be placed on the Owners' taxes over a period of years. Cost would be paid back at 10% interest. Hankins suggested Owners contact Council members as to why nothing was done with this plan.

DCRSD used the list of residents supplied by Beth Oleary (?), which has not been checked with the Assessor's Office. Benning to compile a current resident list from the property records.

Copy of permit was sent to L. Lehner. Not sure why, perhaps because she was prior Board Attorney.

LMH Contract

The LMH Contract was presented for review (copy not obtained), they are waiting for the London Witte rate study. Kramer needs to review agreement.

Tom Quinn provided proposals for Bid services and Construction Observation. $3,000 and $2,000 respectively. Asked for hours, he indicated 60 and 40 respectively. Hrezo also will provide proposals.

Stewart Road and Cole Lane
The project is finished and the check is being held by the Auditor pending the Punch List completion. Application #5 for payment is for $6,935. The prior check also has not been released ($20,022). Enzweiler moved to release prior check and pay final check. Fehrman seconded. All in favor.

West Aurora Project
Met with Noel and Rollinger(?) about the trailer park treatment plant sale. Each party will have the plant appraised. DCRSD to use Don Petit(?) and trailer park to use Tom (???). Approx. 8 acres available. TQ indicates approx. 1/2 acre needed for Phase I for holding tanks and sand filter. Also need access and easement. The advantage is the acquisition of the discharge permit. Cost to acquire and improve?
Dennerline moved to use Petit for the appraisal, Fehrman seconded, all in favor.
Fehrman: Woolpert recommended a treatment plant; but, that advice wasn't good. But, need to proceed with a treatment plant.

TQ provided two proposals, one for plant design and joint with Hrezo for distribution. The proposal to cover High Ridge Rd., Oak Circle Dr., Timberview Dr., Huesman Rd., US 50 between High Ridge and Huesman. Baer wants to add Sharon Dr. and Hoffman Rd. Randy (Aurora ) has given DCRSD Huesman Rd. to reserve capacity for the Industrial Park. Approx. number of houses 340, including 100 for Ameritech (new development at Gabbard Estates). Plan to put lift station in "Dead Man's Hollow"to serve 44 houses in Highridge. TQ recommended replacing house laterals.

Plant capacity 100,000GPD. includes 100 EDUs for industrial park. At 85,000 GPD usage, will need to look to expansion. Cost for plant and property approx. $720,000 with Ameritech building pump station. Distribution $1,600,000(?). Goal is $10,000 cost per house. These numbers do not include Grinder Pump, abandonment, etc.
Estimate for design and Bid $116,000 and Construction Observation $30,000 to $40,000.
Is was suggested that DCRSD buy or bid Grinder Pumps and sell or assign to Owners to save cost to Owners.

The project needs to be funded before taking action. Need Council approval. Or go to Lawrenceburg or Bond Bank. Will need permit in place to even approach for a loan or bond. Will need to show a project, estimates & permit and a loan payback period. Currently don't have the money for the project; but, have enough for design and permit.

To issue a bond would take a 3% fee. Dennerline said "better to hire a kid out of law school to work on it."

Enzweiler suggested RFP for these projects.
Need to proceed for permit. Have enough for Quinn's proposal.. Asked that Quinn Engineering proposal be held confidential (once a proposal is presented in a public meeting, it becomes public information; but, I have not included the proposal amount).

Maxwell Discussion

Mayor Hedrick (Greendale) talked with Maxwell earlier in the day, regarding negotiations with VRUC. Maxwell: "If I'm wrong take a gun and shoot me." Doesn't understand why VRUC thinks DCRSD can provide a cheaper rate than Greendale. Greendale is charging 2.18(?).

Lehner was working for HVL. It would take $2.5M for DCRSD to get HVL effluent to Lawrenceburg. DCRSD cannot be cheaper than Greendale. Bittner pressed to deal with DCRSD. A shoving match between Greendale and HVL over peripheral properties. DCRSD may have to pay some attorney in the future with SDRSD. He would prefer to get in a room with SDRSD and the cities and perhaps Dillsoro, St. Leon VRUC and LMH to see i f they can move in a unified manner, before they have to bring in attorneys. He has had discussions with Mr. Butler. Need to try to get together. "If I'm wrong take a gun and shoot me." The cities do not understand the County's needs. They see things looking out versus he seeing things looking into SDRSD.

He wants to get six items.
1. Provide service at least cost possible.
2. Clean up High Ridge.
3. Absorb LMH - they need a government perspective.
4. Supplement St. Leon - Buy capacity for future development beyond St. Leon.
5. Resolution at Hidden Valley Lake.
6. DCRSD needs to control it to take care of the County.

He wants 2 of the 5 seats on SDRSD. If money works, then get the money and buy in. He wants some control. The city rate payers need some protection.

Maxwell: "If I'm wrong take a gun and shoot me." SDRSD for years didn't do anything about Stewart Rd. or High Ridge. Because of DCRSD, SDRSD has changed their approach about areas outside their CTA. Every time DCRSD has approached SDRSD and obtained an agreement the (SDRSD) members go back and renege. Back to political and turmoil. Mel Davis (Lawrenceburg) made sense. He would not stand in the way of the County. (Someone said) DCRSD hasn't annoyed Mel Davis yet.

Hankins: " DCRSD won't go away. That won't flush."

Maxwell continued, "If I'm wrong take a gun and shoot me." Meetings with Council led to Woolpert. Greendale has offered 2 seats for $4,500,000 to buy in. If DCRSD bought in and restructured, he wouldn't care as long as problems are solved. How do we solve the problems. Greendale won't help Aurora, because they squandered their money, how do we get Greendale to help the County.
Randy (Aurora) has told DCRSD to build the plant and use it for a lift station in the future. Now - NO sewage through Aurora. Cost will be a lot higher to send to Aurora. SDRSD can do everything DCRSD can do. DCRSD shouldn't be involved with HVL.

Maxwell: "If I'm wrong take a gun and shoot me." DCRSD can TAX and nobody can stop it.
There was a discussion of the history of the Board, including the reason for going County wide was to avoid costs for Metes and Bounds description for each new area to be added, so take it all and save cost. When DCRSD went county wide they set up fear with the other groups. They felt bounded in by DCRSD.

If LMH became part of DCRSD, their rates would go up. Tucker has to be absorbed; however, they can probably leave it till it fails and then take it. For the long haul, take Tucker and then take it Metropolitan, like Hamilton County.
Need to start discussions again. Need to get lines in the ground as cheap as possible.

Dennerline: Was told to start small and expand. Got advice from Nugent. Start with High Ridge and the development (Gabbard Estates??). and expand. It has become the Health Board's problem, because DCRSD projects have been stopped. The situation is the same as when DCRSD started.

(General discussion:) (Several speaking at once.)
????: HVL intended to build a plant. Parvin Price helped with that. To give them (HVL?) room (to grow?).

Maxwell: Want to get them in a room.

Hankins: 30 or 40 in a room like herding cats.

Fehrman: DCRSD's 100,000GPD proposal being considered.

Doug Baer: DCRSD cannot tax.

Dennerline: When he was Commissioner tried to get special tax for sewers and got shut down.

Maxwell: Then take TAX to Council -- and Commissioners.

Dennerline: Talked to Draper - he (Draper) wants large price for land.

Fehrman: DCRSD hasn't turned away any subdivision yet.
????: Then issue of lagoon cleanup. Apply to Superfund for cleanup.

Hankins: West Aurora RFP to be handled by Enzweiler.

TQ will turn over plans for Stewart and Cole to Aurora. Not as-builts. As-builts by????. Want a set of plans in the DCRSD office. 60 days for the turnover to Aurora. 60 days has started????
Get the people from Stewart St. to also go to Council about Indigent Fund. Call it "Connection Fund", not Indigent Fund. Feels Serenity Ridge residents can go to the bank to refinance. Stewart Rd. residents cannot. Refer it to Council.

Hankins: "Dump it on the politicians."

Maxwell to work on "Sewer Summit". Fehrman to assist.

Budget Request

Need to submit budget request by July 2, 2007. Dennerline: Use last year's budget plus 10 %. Dennerline moved to use last years plus 10%. No second.
Baer provided budget list for review. ????: Add $50,000 for engineering and $50,000 for legal. and acquisition cost?

Moved to approve budget at discretion of Mike Hankins. Second ?????. Approved.

Hankins formed a budget committee to meet Monday afternoon, June 25, 2007 with Dennerline and Pruss. Baer and Benning to attend also. For budget submission to Council. Seconded by Fehrman. Approved.

??? moved for Enzweiler to do RFPs for West Aurora Project. Seconded by Dennerline. Approved.

Adjourned at approximately 9:05 PM.

submitted by:
Ralph Thompson and Jerry Jacobsen
Washington and Lawrenceburg Townships

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

19 June 2007 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

19 June 2007 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

Present: Hughes, Chairman, Fox, and Thompson
Also present: Pickens, Auditor, Ewbank, Attorney, and Messmore, Administrator

No uniformed police officer was present – until several items were covered.
Several county activists were present in the audience.

[NOTE: At the opening pledge of allegiance, I overheard a citizen say- this is the only time the citizens are ALLOWED TO SPEAK.]

1. Jim West- DCEDI- requested approval to seek funding from Council for Development Study. West asked Messmore if he had distributed this. - Messmore said no. West then distributed folders of his proposal to the commissioners. He said there has been discussion from the community wanting a comprehensive strategic economic development plan. He said we haven’t had a true plan and we need to “put a face on economic development.” We have put together a program and talked to Purdue and private consultants for “a two- pronged attack.”
Purdue will do the work to get the public information and they want to incorporate the surrounding counties. We think that’s OK as long as Dearborn gets what it wants. Purdue’s cost is not to exceed $20,000.
The private consultant will be selected by RFP- for someone outside the county to look at the strengths and weaknesses of the county- someone who knows the market side of all this and who will give an unbiased opinion . Estimated cost is $60,000 max. If further costs are incurred the DCEDI Board will pay for that. [NOTE: How generous of them- they pay $5,000 each year to join and now they want the county to pay for studies so that they can bring in development. Maybe their investment money should be paying for these studies- after all, they stand to profit from them.]
West ended, saying: “Dearborn County is ripe for development - a real jewel needing to be developed.” Any questions?

Thompson asked how this ties into the Master Plan. West: The RFPs include directions towards land use.
Thompson: Timing? West: If we start Aug 1, we will be finished by Dec 31 of this year.
Thompson: You plan to develop this ahead of the comprehensive plan and dictate to them what will happen? West: The comp plan can use our findings.
Thompson: What about UC’s study that you had done? West: UC did demographic collection that is on our DCEDI website.
(http://www.dearborncountyedi.com/index.html Check it out- lots of land sites etc.)
[NOTE: That’s not all UC did- but the results weren’t widely accepted.]

West went on that this is different- that it’s an economic development analysis to see what it could look like.
Hughes: I’ve been involved in RISE 2020 and they are looking at this- we just went through Vieste and everybody wanted to keep it rural and said we need the family farms. But for farms to work the farmers need another occupation also. I don’t know many rich carpenters or farmers. Hughes wondered if there was a disconnect or people were not informed. He likes Purdue- as RISE 2020 uses them. Hughes went on- Is rural character just farming? Maybe. He acknowledged that West had sent him something showing a missed opportunity in the county for a 35- person business at $18-20 per hour jobs. (See Register Publications editorials about a week ago for a copy of West’s letter)
Hughes thought that maybe we should try this proposal.

Thompson: This is short notice. I’d like to see more info- your RFPs, and your goals. West: I can give you the RFPs- he then passed them out. [NOTE: Why weren’t those in the packet?]
Thompson: The bulk of business is small business in the US- Honda is an elephant- no one is going after the mice- the small businesses. Maybe we should focus on the mice-there is less competition for each of them.
Thompson- DCEDI has been around for 2 ½ years- what are your successes? West: Some small retail, Urban Wild Design, Pernod Ricard… [NOTE: West is claiming these as HIS successes?]

Fox: Asked Thompson to clarify- you want all small – no big business? He’d rather see both.
Thompson: There is not as much competition for the mice- we should FOCUS on the smaller business.
Hughes: You use elephants and mice- I talked to West about a year ago using the analogy of blue gills and carp….

Fox: Bryan (Messmore) what is your opinion?

Messmore: You are really saying the same thing in both analogies. The question is WHERE CAN WE PUT THEM? Find the place. [NOTE:Look at DCEDI’s website- there are lots of properties available.]
Hughes: Round table discussions of Ag business recently- and then he went on about farmers needing jobs too. Some sell land to put kids through college or for retirement. To him it just makes good economic sense- I see shovel ready sites in other counties. I agree with Thompson- I would like more time to look this over.

Fox: Some people disconnect land as a monetary asset- they don’t see it like we do, Jeff- growing up and working on it with our parents and their extra jobs.
[NOTE: Now we are getting to the heart of understanding how and why Fox and Hughes – former farm boys- think about land use. Not everyone who grows up on a farm loves it. Some remember mostly the hard work: the hot, sweaty, itchy work of putting up hay, bush hogging, chopping the ice from the water troughs in winter, chasing down missing animals and offspring, electric fence and line fence repair, post hole digging, continual repair of old machinery, etc. They also see the vagaries of nature, when drought wipes out crops or rain or wind damage. When they long for a different life, it may be hard for them to understand why some others want to continue to farm- or why it is worth it to them to have two jobs or why they combine resources with neighbors or family so they can continue to farm.
Yes- land is an asset in three ways- economical, environmental, and social. Commissioners are supposed to be looking at all three aspects of this asset. The dollar signs are only one third of the equation.
This issue will not be resolved until and unless the county utilizes its citizens as part of the decision-making process. We need an economic development advisory board- and NOT one that is selected the way the current board selects plan commission members.]

Thompson motioned and Fox 2nd to TABLE this until the July 3rd meeting. All ayes. The Council meets the 4rd Tues in July- July 24, so West will have his answer in time.

Thompson added that he agrees that land is an asset, but that people have a right to keep it also. He also said agendas needed to be better- to have time to review.
Mark Hall stood up at this point and asked to be recognized. Hughes said he would allow him to speak at the end of the meeting. Hall asked if West was on the agenda a week ahead. Hughes repeated that Hall could speak at the end of the meeting. Hall sat down to wait.
[NOTE: Questions regarding an agenda item would be more understandable if answered at that time. Waiting until the end is just a means of putting off the public.]

2. Pennie Cohen Pre-paid legal services- gave a presentation of five kinds of identity theft- license, criminal, character, Social Security, and Financial. The cost to each employee is $25.90 per month from paychecks. It is completely voluntary. Argosy, Lawrenceburg, Hamilton Co., and the state of KY all use their services. They offer life events legal plans, wills, monitoring services, restoration services etc. The company is a 35-year old NYSE company. They pay $250,000/month to IN attorneys to have coverage in this state for those who sign up. Messmore is to take charge of this and see if there is enough interest among employees. [NOTE: This sounds like a legal version of an HMO- i.e. an LMO]

3. Lawrenceburg Bridge Information- the flyover and simulation of the new bridge over Tanners Creek was presented to commissioners by a copy obtained by Thompson and Listerman. Cost over $20 million- close to 26 million per Cunningham at that meeting last week. Construction per Thompson was to start in early 2008 to be completed by late 2009 with only 30 days of down time for the connections to the current US 50.

4. Chris McHenry presented along with Chuck Whiting the new Historical Society President. Whiting was affiliated with Cinti Museum Center previously. They requested their annual $10,000 to be part of the commissioners budget as it was in previous years. Commissioners agreed. Historical Society provides services free of charge and is volunteer run. Thompson motioned Fox 2nd to add to Commissioners budget. All ayes.

5. A police officer appeared sometime during the middle of the meeting.

6. Messmore- presented FYI to commissioners regarding brick exchanges from back to front of jail to get matching fa├žade to repair the wreck damage to the building earlier this year.
The insurance company will go after the driver for the $5,000 deductible also.

7. Todd Listerman – Transportation Director took nearly 30 minutes to get contracts signed for the bids approved for trucks, striping, bed liners, salt boxes, etc.
2 vehicles plus extra 3 years on warranties to 5 years for $136,048 awarded to Freightliner.
Kaffenberger Trucking awarded for bedliners, stainless salt boxes and spreaders for $67.540
Three bridges to prepare designs and contract bids to Structurepoint (formerly ACE) for $50,000- this includes Sagamaw, Salt Fork, and Johnson Fork Bridges.
Listerman will seek Council approval to use the cum bridge fund as back-up money for the Tripple Whipple construction until INDOT and state reimburse our 80%. They have $700,000 and $1.2 million in funds- and it won’t go nearly far enough for the county’s needs per Listerman.
Listerman noted that cost of construction went up 10-15,000 in the last 2 years.

8. Pickens – tax sales contracts signed with SRI- same as last year. Minutes and claims approved with one question from Thompson regarding per diems.
He asked about DCRSD Chairman Hankins getting per diems to attend meetings for Commissioners, Council, Conservancy District, and Lawrenceburg to request sewer funding.
Pickens said he doesn’t think others have ever used the per diems for that but that their boards allow it. Even commissioners can get per diems and mileage for trips to Indy etc. Hughes said it’s nice to know it’s available though he hasn’t used it. [NOTE: Fehrman attended some of those meetings with Hankins- did he charge a per diem also?]

9. Ewbank- No new lawsuits.

10. Fox- Animal Control Board asked for Det. Dave Schneider- worked with canine unit, loves animals, hunts, etc- to fill the unexpired term of Teresa Voltz. Commissioners approved. Thompson said he’d like to see more information on appointees as they are “hiring” them essentially for a time. Fox agreed- and said this board isn’t used to providing that yet.

11. Hughes said that a member of the Advisory Board to the Master Plan wanted to speak earlier and as chair, he would like to hear him now. He asked Mark Hall to speak. Mark said to Pickens: Cary, now that you have a cop here, is it safe for me to go to the podium?
[NOTE: Hall had gone to the hallway after the first item on the agenda and Pickens was in Messmore’s office calling the sheriff’s dept to get a cop over to the meeting. Hall told him it wasn’t really necessary to call the police and Pickens had replied that they are supposed to be there anyway. The question is why are cops supposed to be there?
The commissioners (I’m assuming Pickens was acting on their behalf again) must feel threatened by activists who have only demonstrated their resolve to settle issues and no behavior has ever occurred to justify the need for physical force. OR perhaps commissioners wish to intimidate the citizens. The cops have to comply with commissioner’s requests- this is not their doing. I sometimes feel like I have to check my calendar when I come home to remind myself that this is Lawrenceburg 2007 and not Berlin 1938.]

Mark Hall asked when West had signed up to be on the agenda. Hughes said he thought Friday- but asked Messmore- and Messmore said it was yesterday. (Monday) Hall asked that if citizens have to get on a week in advance, how can they get on agenda when this is allowed. Fox said it was a forgone conclusion that we were going to table it. [NOTE: Now how would ANYONE know that? He’s only one commissioner- and when items get added a day ahead or even on the meeting itself citizens have no way of finding these last minute changes out. The county website never seems to be working right- when this happens. You’d think the county would have better control over their technology in this day and age.]

Ewbank chimed in at this point and said the chair has the prerogative to recognize citizens.
Hall said- but we can’t be assured we’ll be recognized. He asked again if it can be finalized a week before- the system as it’s working now is not cut and dried. Some people are getting on the agenda late. Was this urgent with DCEDI?
Hughes- not really.
Hall- we need to be fair to the citizens- when the cows are all out it’s too late to ask to fix the fence. He ended by asking the commissioners to re-evaluate this process.

Meeting adjourned at 8:30 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Monday, June 18, 2007

DCEDI Gets On Commissioner’s Agenda ONE DAY in Advance

DCEDI Gets On Commissioner’s Agenda ONE DAY in Advance

I requested the Commissioner’s agenda for Tues 6/19/07 meeting this morning as it was NOT on the county web site. (Apparently due to a computer glitch last week that would not allow attachments to be sent.)

I received two copies. The first “draft” at 10:31 am has 4 items on it and then a second “draft” showed up at 11:08 am with a NEW item:


I have 5 questions regarding this item:

1. Why is Mr. west allowed to get on the agenda with such an important request only a day in advance and the rest of the citizenry is requested to get on a WEEK in advance?

2. How can commissioners PREPARE for this request if they only get a day’s notice?

3. What happened to the $330,000 that DCEDI was given by Council to obtain options for land for economic development?

4. Vieste just left us with their study and an approximately $300,000 bill that the taxpayers paid. Are we expected to pay for another study already?

5. Does anyone else wonder why our county road money funds seem to be diminishing and our county development study funds seem to be bottomless?

I wonder if the commissioners will have good answers for these questions.

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Thursday, June 14, 2007

What every HVL resident should know about the upcoming VRUC Election.

What every HVL resident should know about the upcoming VRUC Election.

A letter from Stan Beeler, VRUC board member at large

Summed up – every proposal made for the betterment of the community was DENIED by the Incumbent Members seeking reelection:

The following resolutions/ motions made this last year were DENIED by the incumbent board members (a 5-2 majority):
• Oath of Office; a requirement for an affirmation of dedication by newly elected members to the good of the organization, recognized as a solemn appeal to God to witness the truth of the oath – DENIED
• Code of Ethics; providing for a basis for the moral and ethical conduct of the affairs of the organization and enumerating the restraints on the conduct of the board members – DENIED
• Relocation of Board Meetings: resolution to relocate board meetings from the VRUC garage to the POA community center so as to promote greater membership participation - DENIED
• Special Meeting of VRUC Membership; a motion to call a special meeting of the membership to debate and resolve by consensus the most controversial issues (sewage treatment plant, water well field and treatment plant, contract for sewage and water services, and the election of a new board ) – DENIED
• VRUC Membership Affirmation of the New By-laws Changes; a resolution to allow membership participation in the affairs of the organization by a consensus process – DENIED
• Ad Hoc Committee to Propose By-laws Revisions; a proposal to create a committee of members not on the board to recommend changes – DENIED
• Membership Review of Board Actions; a resolution to allow the membership to confirm or deny board actions in the interim between membership business meetings – DENIED
• Vote of the VRUC Membership in re the Water Well Field Purchase; a motion to allow membership discussion, debate, and vote on the purchase of land in Ohio for a well field and treatment plant prior to final agreement to purchase – DENIED
• Requirement for a Vote of the Board of Directors at a meeting of the Board; per IC23-17-15-1, this resolution was intended to stop individual board members and employees from initiating legal action and other substantive actions without a vote of the board – DENIED
• Record, for the record, all meetings of the Board of Directors; a practice used by most organizations and required of governmental agencies – DENIED
• Adoption of the Indiana Open Door Law ; a resolution designed to surmount the very strong penchant for secrecy on the part of the old guard board members (since the law allows secrecy only in very limited circumstances).
• The Use of Robert’s Rules of Order for the Conduct of all Meetings; being a hopeful attempt to prohibit the chairman fro doing whatever he pleases.
• Annual Meeting Agenda; a formal request, in writing, in the form specified by the new by-laws that most of the issues indicated above and some others be placed on the agenda for the 26 JUN 07 annual meeting was DENIED by the incumbent majority.

The legal fees are killing us

Summed up – The actions and behavior of the past boards have been wasteful of VRUC resources

The failures of fiduciary responsibility are many:

• If the very old maxim is true that every time one talks to a lawyer, he admits of incompetence, then the amount of money spent on lawyers must be a fair measure of that incompetence. The VRUC has, by far, spent more money on legal fees ($413,000. in 2005, more than $700,000. in the last three years, and probably some multiple of millions since the incorporation) than on infrastructure repairs and maintenance in the last 12 years.
• The VRUC has spent large sums of corporate monies in its efforts to obtain the rights to provide sewer and water services to new developments outside HVL, despite that the City of Greendale would need to transport the sewage and provide the water supply, and despite that no HVL resident was to benefit from that scheme by a reduction in utility rates.
• The board spent approximately $70,000. in legal fees alone in their successful effort to defeat the ad hoc membership drive to elect a new board of directors and overturn the sewage treatment plant decision at a special membership meeting in 2006.
• The VRUC charges HVL customers the old robber baron sewer and water rates of the developer, who scammed them into buying a white elephant utility, but pats themselves on the back for not raising utility rates, those rates (both then and now) being among the highest in the state, if not in the country (VRUC pays the City of Greendale 57% of what they charge HVL users for water and 47% of what VRUC charges HVL residents for sanitary sewer services, yet the City of Greendale pays most of the expenses to provide those services ( e.g., VRUC uses 30% of the Greendale water production while paying 15% of Greendale’s total costs of production.))
• The VRUC paid an amount of money unknown to me, but no doubt an ungodly amount, for the feasibility studies and design for the sewage treatment plant on Alpine Drive ( in addition to the legal expenses) without first checking with the appropriate regulatory agencies. A single phone call to OKI would have revealed that the proposed project was in conflict with OKI’s 208 Water Quality Management Plan for Dearborn County.( OKI, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana Regional Council of Governments was designated by the governors of those states to develop the regional water quality program as required by Section 208 of the US Clean Water Act.). Money wasted on an impossible idea.
• And, the very same problems are arising with regard to the old guard efforts to construct a sewage treatment plant and water well field with treatment plant in Whitewater TWP. The VRUC wants to pay Whitewater TWP in Ohio to build the sewage treatment plant at an unknown cost (and has already committed $17,000. to a feasibility study) and be its primary customer, and then construct the water well field without first knowing what the regulatory agencies may do, or what other impediments there may be.
• The above issues are only the tip of the iceberg. Without the free flow of information to the membership, no one can say what interest might be generated in some of the other issues such as the original purchase of the utility.
• The VRUC and the City of Greendale may be very close to a long term contract for water and sewer services (at not unfavorable rates that are much lower than VRUC charges its members) thanks to the tireless efforts of Jack Arduin. Although Jack is hopeful, even trusting, that the old guard faction will not impede the negotiations, I am not so sanguine. One might ask why, in the middle of negotiations with the City of Greendale, the board would undertake costly negotiations with other entities for those services, which schemes are likely in conflict with the requirements of regulatory agencies from the start.

It seems to be all about power

Summed up – the reactionary board members have done, and continue to do all that they are able to remain in power.

The new VRUC by-laws adopted by the incumbent majority on the board require that they will remain in office, REGARDLESS OF THE VOTE, unless a quorum of 30% of the membership casts ballots. That number is presumably 830 ballots, while the highest number of ballots cast in any past VRUC election is probably fewer than 400. The by-laws revision was devised by the incumbent majority of the board to keep them selves in power, and so they shall remain in power unless the reform group is able to get out the vote.

The old guard members of the board (three of whom are the incumbents up for reelection) have publicly stated at board meetings that their belief is firm that they were elected to act and think for the VRUC membership and that ipso facto the membership has no rights to information possessed by the board, has no rights of review of board actions, may not have any effective voice in the affairs of the corporation, and may not vote on any issue other than the election of board members.

The newsletter published by the ad hoc committee established to oppose the sewage treatment plant on Alpine Drive and to call for a special meeting of the membership to oust the board of directors last year does a good job of presenting the issues regarding the upcoming election to HVL residents. I would like with this letter, only to add to those comments my own thoughts regarding the issues raised.

My view, from the perspective of a reform candidate on the board for a year, is that the policies and actions of this and past boards reveal a consistent pattern of 1) arrogance, 2) a strong sense of mission with regard to their own agenda without even caring what might be the will of the membership, 3) an overwhelming desire for secrecy with regard to the management and operations of the utility, 4) a disregard of the constitutionally protected individual and property rights of the members of the corporation, 5) acceptance of the concept that the end justifies the means, and 6) a complete failure of fiduciary responsibility to the membership.

I cannot be entirely certain of the past and present motives for the actions of old guard members of the board. There seems good reason to believe some of the personal gain theories with regard to the provision of VRUC services to new developments outside HVL, although that is not now shown to be the case. Nevertheless, the old guard board members have persistently argued that there is nothing improper, nor immoral, nor illegal about the provision of services for profit by a nonprofit, mutual benefit corporation to persons and entities who are not members. There are other possible explanations for their behavior, but I believe that at least major factors are that people in power want to stay in power and that some otherwise socially disciplined people desire to control the lives of others.

My proposed by-laws revisions recognized those problems, inherent in any organization without checks on the behavior of those in power, by attempting to address the issue by the direct election of officers annually, with each officer permitted to succeed himself only once in a given position, thus requiring one to move up through the chairs to president (for a maximum two years) and then
Be out or recycle to a member at large position.

When I was elected to the board last year, I believed that those who voted for me did so because I indicated that I would do everything in my power to revise the by-laws to allow for greater participation, oversight, and control by the membership of the affairs of the organization. So far, I have failed.

By-laws Revisions

Summed up – The VRUC by- laws have always been a disaster for the membership, but now they are much more devastating.

I offered very soon after the election last year a set of by-laws revisions with:
a) A new section providing the purposes of the organization ( including, to seek efficiencies and improvements so as to provide services at the lowest possible rates).
b) A new section providing the methods of achieving those purposes ( including, the promotion of the maximum possible participation of the membership in the affairs of the organization).
c) Sections to allow the membership to vote to amend the articles of incorporation and by-laws (now being the sole prerogative of the board).
d) Provisions to require at least four membership business meetings each year ( versus the single meeting now held with no membership participation in the business ( and now, without even an election)), the use of Robert’s Rules of Order in the conduct of all meetings, to limit the use of so called “special board meetings” and executive sessions which prohibit member attendance ( you may be surprised to know that the board conducted more special meetings and executive sessions than regularly scheduled meetings this last year).
e) Provisions for the direct election of officers for one year terms ( Jerry Hacker has been the president of the VRUC since its inception).
f) Provisions allowing membership oversight and ratification of board actions.

The board did nothing with my proposal until the secretary of the board, Dana Hensley offered a counter proposal including by-laws changes which would:
a) Increase from 10% to 20% the number of members required to sign a petition asking for a special meeting of the membership.
b) Rule out proxy voting.
c) Allow the secretary of the board of directors to cast election ballots on behalf of all members who did not cast their own (making all elections meaningless, and making the 30% quorum irrelevant, since an opposition candidate would need to garner more than 50% of the total possible vote to win an election.
d) Allow for the cancellation of the election of an unopposed member of the board.
e) Allow the majority of the board to remove any member of the board without cause.

Finally, on 26 October, at a “special meeting” without member scrutiny, the majority voted against my proposal and for Mr. Hensley’s. Those provisions were modified somewhat by the VRUC attorney, but the new by-laws are no less efficacious in the achievement of the aims of the incumbent board members, those being the absolute and total control of the VRUC by the current majority faction of the board, the denial of any rights whatever to the membership, the near impossibility of the membership to discharge incumbent board members, the total suppression of information, discussion, debate, and oversight by the membership, the ability of the majority board faction to remove board members not in agreement with the majority, and the transmogrification of
the annual meeting into something unrecognizable in a democratic society, a meaningless exercise in nihilism and futility, where no votes are allowed, no agenda items permitted to be raised by the membership, and where no actions by the membership may occur.


I do not know how many HVL residents, who are the voting members of the VRUC, approve of the management, the voting record, the attitude with regard to lawsuits, the plans for a sewage treatment plant on Alpine Drive or for a water well field on chemically farmed land in a flood plain in another state, or of the Draconian circumscription of member rights by the incumbent members of the VRUC board of directors; but, those who favor what the VRUC board has been doing for the past several years should vote for the incumbents on this year’s ballot.

If the number of HVL residents who support the incumbents up for reelection ( which is to say the activities of the past boards, since they are the past boards ) is significant, then it would be better for the organization and for HVL that we all know of that sentiment by the number of votes cast in their favor than for them to remain in office by default.

Those who wish to vote but have misplaced their ballots will not be able to vote at the annual meeting due to the by-laws changes. You will probably need to go to the VRUC office for a new ballot because the ballots this year are printed on a paper not reproducible.

There seems no doubt that various ways to throw out ballots will be found during the counting process. It may be advisable to be very careful about filling out the ballot and envelope. In this regard, I notice that they ask for a single lot number on the envelope which has an account number for each lot without identifying the lot number by account number. Some with multiple lots may write in all of their lot numbers or indicate a lot number not corresponding to the account number on the envelope. That may be problematic depending on how honest the election is.

Again, I ask that everyone vote the election ballots so that we all may know what are the wishes of the membership with regard to the direction the board.

I urge you to vote for Robert Ziegler, Robert Hamilton, and Robert Yaggi, but, in any event, please vote so that a true consensus of the HVL residents may be obtained.

Stan Beeler
Board Member at Large

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Two Wall Street Journal Articles of Interest to Dearborn County

Two Wall Street Journal Articles of Interest to Dearborn County

The WSJ Economic Roundup section in the Monday, June 11, 2007 paper is something fellow citizens might want to read--very interesting information..

Articles abound--such as, "Take the Money and Don't Run-- re states continue to lure businesses with promises of tax breaks and grants. But now the deals come with a catch: You don't get the cash until we get the jobs." They talk about a NJ "clawback" provision, where a company moved, and they are forced to pay back the money they received.

Also, there is an article regarding casinos, "Bad Odds-As more states look to win the economic jackpot with casinos, evidence suggests they are playing a losing hand."
Of the top 20 U.S. casino mkts. by annual revenue, in millions of dollars, No. 12 is Lawrenceburg/Rising Sun/Elizabeth/Vevay, IN- 795 million. Source: American Gaming Association.

If you do not receive the Wall Street Journal, it is worthwhile to go to the library and read The Journal Report (Economic Roundup, pp. R1-R12, dated 6/11/2007). Or, a copy of the WSJ issue including the Economic Roundup Journal Rept is available for $5 per copy. Phone 1-800-JOURNAL, fax 1-413-598-2259. Online:www.djreprints.com; phone 1-800-843-0008; email:customreprints@dowjones.com

submitted by Helen Kremer
Logan Township

Tuesday, June 12, 2007



Sometimes I get pleasantly surprised and positively encouraged at a meeting. Such was the case at the 5 PM meeting Tuesday at Lawrenceburg’s Council Chambers , where their consultant unveiled what is close to a final draft on the plans for the second bridge across Tanner’s Creek parallel to the original one.

I was definitely not a fan of the original proposal for this bridge, but after their presentation, which included a really cool simulated drive through all aspects of this region from Front Street to Doughty Road (past Kroger’s), I told Mayor Bill Cunningham that I liked this plan.

It was unfortunate that so few people came to see the presentation. If another opportunity presents itself, I would encourage anyone who drives this stretch of road to check it out.

Some of the highlights that might be of interest:

There are one- way roads.

There are limited access points to US 50 with Main Street being eliminated and Front Street accessing through a one stop access to the access ramp around the block.

Lights for the access ramp and the intersection at Front Street will be synchronized.
Shipping Street returns as a useful access East Bound.

CVS moves to a new location in the NAPA area and it moves to a new spot.

Arby’s eventually moves and PLAZA Road connects Doughty to US 50 at a light. The old Doughty intersection becomes a cul-de-sac.

The Shell station will be bought out.

US 50 East bound is across the old bridge- West bound is the new bridge.

The bridge is 2-3 lanes depending on where located on the ramps. The mid –section of the ramp is 3- lanes to accommodate switchover traffic between west bound traffic and those getting off at Old 48.

All but about 30 days of tie in work will be done without disrupting normal traffic flow!!!

Construction is planned to hopefully begin in Spring 2008.

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

5 June 2007 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

5 June 2007 Dearborn County Commissioner Meeting Notes

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

Dick Robertson of Vieste,LLC/Level 5 Engineering was present also.

1. Cliff Eibeck- questioned the commissioners about their letter to DCRSD regarding not enforcing sewer hook-ups. He wanted to know why it was taking 8 weeks so far and still wasn’t done.
Hughes said: “Me, Bryan, and the Health Dept ( Doug Baer) have been working on that.” Messmore gave more details saying that when he had put pen to paper he found it difficult to put word into the commissioner’s mouths and had sought Ewbank’s advice. He’d completed a draft that Commissioners had by April 24th but they had not advised him as to how to proceed. He said, “I did not get feedback from this board as to what to do with the letter.”
Fox said the letter was OK with him, but he wanted to do it right. Eibeck asked if he needed help getting it done. Fox said he didn’t think they needed Eibeck’s help. Thompson thought the letter needed to be a little more stringent and that we needed to get all commissioners in agreement. He said- “We’re closer, but we’re not there yet.”

[NOTE: No action was taken on this item and it’s not clear who will be moving this forward. Commissioners had all voted to send a letter to DCRSD saying they were not in favor of forced hook-ups. Now it appears either they are trying to say more than that or they are getting feedback from the DCRSD board on it, via Baer. Sewers can be a good thing- if they are done correctly and in appropriate areas. Forced mains and grinders have become the norm rather than the exception. Initially cheap grinder pump systems will be scattered all over the county and eventually the public may actually end up with a worse problem on their hands than septic tank repairs. The hypocrisy of IDEM allowing sewer company overflows and raw sewage dumping into our waterways under their orders is laughable when contrasted with most rural septic issues.]

2. Margaret Minzner- GIS- went to some dept. heads and got feedback and letters of recommendations on their GIS preferences. Planning, Treasurer, Assessor, Auditor etc are in favor. She included return on investment examples from other areas in her report to them. Thompson suggested she give several options when she goes to Council- one year through four-year phase in options, as the cost will likely produce sticker shock. He said he’d talked to some of the city officials about possible combining resources and having the county set this all up for everyone. That seemed to be a favorable option so far.
Pickens reported that Schneider is presenting at 10:30 Wed and the cost is about 5/8 of the original group. He asked- “Do we need a Cadillac?” [ NOTE: This may be one place where a Cadillac is better. Schneider’s original presentation to commissioners did not include the detail of the first company. And when questioned about rectifying parcels- they were vague as to how they would accomplish that- or even if they could. In computers and most advanced technology it’s: “garbage in- garbage out.” It’s better to get the foundation data accurate- because everything else is built upon that. This is no place to wimp out, in my opinion.]

3. Don Townsend- Building Dept. – presented an order to remove a burned out building at 5345 Dutch Hollow Road. Ewbank swore Townsend in. The building burned Dec 3, 2005- he’s had 5 calls on this. He took photos May 2, 2007- bricks there, no roof, interior gutted- unsafe and a blight to the dense neighborhood. There is trash and high grass also. Owner is Arden Keeten (sp?) and the order was served May 17th – all registered mail has been returned and the order was posted on the site. The structure is under foreclosure with Countrywide Home Loan and JP Morgan Chase Bank per Ewbank. Ewbank told Thompson 60 days is the time required by statute.
Ewbank called Keeten’s name 3 times as required by law. He was not present. Neighbor- Betty Canfield said that the ex girlfriend was in touch with Keeten’s father in Louisiana and he said Keeten was in California, but would give no address.
Three neighbors spoke- Betty Canfield, Larry Starker, and Dan Schmaltz stating there were cats and other critters in the house, the back windows were not boarded up and the area was unsafe. They said trash and debris blew to their yards and grass is uncut. One asked if they could take the bricks from retaining wall since they would be demolished. Board said they could not- they had to check with owner or loan agency. Schmaltz said he’d tried to get to loan agency- they said they’d sold the loan- he was interested in buying the lot.
Fox motioned and Thompson 2nd to proceed with the 60 days to demolition and also have Townsend inspect, clean up, board windows, and mow as he sees fit. The costs are to be added to the tax bill of that property.

4. Park Board- Lou Broghammer- presented the replats of the County Farm showing three lots for County Highway, Animal Shelter, and YES Home. These are all leased properties- the County still owns the land. The pauper cemeteries are noted as are the easements to access them. Seibert’s farm lease to 1/31/2011 is also noted. The resolution was read by Ewbank and that along with the retracements and the deed were signed by all 3 commissioners and will be recorded.
The Commissioners commended Broghammer for his work on the Board, which is ending this year. Fox also said that maybe Lawrenceburg could help develop some of these parks. Broghammer deadpanned- “Yes, I understand Lawrenceburg might have some extra money.” Broghammer outlined the Park Board’s acquisitions and plans to consolidate efforts on the larger parks pieces. They gave the Dillsboro Park to the town there to add to their 15 acres and they are giving the 3 acre park to be maintained by the Bright Fire Dept that is used for their festival etc.
There was some joking going on at the end about Commissioner Fox mowing the Gladys Russell Park- as a number close to his was posted out there in a mowing ad.

5. Terry Dillard from Community Corrections presented a $336,161 grant from the state to be signed. Approved. She noted that their in-home detention has 125 on ankle bracelets now, 100 on community service, and 15 juveniles. They’ve saved over $4 million in incarceration costs by not having to house these prisoners over the last few years. She also noted they can help in parks etc- with clean up by community service.

6. Theresa Voltz resigned from Animal Control- Fox will have a name for replacement within a month.

7. Bill Ritzmann was reappointed to the Hospital Board, bringing financial expertise per Hughes.

8. June 8th was proclaimed OKI Day and the commissioners were all invited to their luncheon annual meeting.

9. Darlene Williams of Carr Road asked Commissioners for help dealing with firearms being discharged on an adjoining property top her 8 acres. This is a Residential area and they have 10 automatic guns down there going on all the time. They rigged lights so they can shoot to 10:30 at night. She said they sound like assault rifles. She said they called sheriff’s office twice and the second time they said she was anti- gun. She and her family own guns and they are not anti- gun, she said. She said more than once that these people aren’t kosher.

Ewbank told of another citizen who filed a private civil suit for nuisance in a similar situation. If there is criminal recklessness the sheriff can take that. If it’s an organized function it could fall under zoning enforcement. Ewbank also said with Conservation officers- it could be illegal if they are shooting across a creek. McCormack from Planning will look into it with Kate Rademacher, the enforcement officer. They will contact Conservation Officers.

[NOTE: Automatic weapons and repeated days and nights of shooting might occur legally if you are next to a shooting range, police training facility, or military base. There are some other options that are not legal like drugs, illegal sales of firearms, and other homeland security issues. I’d like to know what Ms Williams meant when she said these people aren’t kosher. Maybe the sheriff’s dept. should check into that too.]

10. Mark McCormack- Plan Director presented 3 sections of the zone ordinance for approval. Section 2576 on wastewater treatment issues with property improvements was passed using Option 2 as recommended by the PC. Section 520 and 315 went back to the Plan Commission for removal of the language on “worst case scenario” as being prejudicial to the developers. They intend to use language as suggested by Hughes and revised by Ewbank for MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE USE with review of CONDITIONAL USES. ( I spoke at the hearing asking them to consider more than just residential uses and density- there were other zone changes and other options available to applicants once they get a zone change – particularly if it is not tied to a concept development plan. )

11. Transportation Dept.- Messmore presented for Listerman who was absent.
Line striping contract awarded to Kneisel Contracting for $80,223.60, which was $40K less than the other bid.

Resurfacing went to Dave O’Mara for $458,336.90, which was $35 K less than the other bid.

The annual report for 2006 was signed and sent on to the state- the auditor and transportation dept will have copies on file.

12. Bryan Messmore- had only one bid to repair the adult jail roof that is leaking- from York and Kuhns (sp?) for $78,500, which is just under the appraised amount. Approved.

The noise ordinance update-included a letter from Sheriff’s Dept- Sgt.Jack Prarat-he will review the decibel reading at the property lines, he said the 90 decibels suggested by Grote exceeded reasonable noise levels, and he’s reviewing other codes in other areas.

13. Messmore presented a report on Ag Econ Round Table that gave the county 3 areas to pursue- diversification, food processing, and bioenergy. They are gathering data from Extension and Farm Bureau on the economic value of Ag in the county. They plan to take a comprehensive look at all the stats. Messmore is “just facilitating to keep the energy going.” Hughes asked about RISE 2020 Meeting and if some team members were going to that as it’s from the Lt Gov. initiative. Messmore will put it on the agenda for their next meeting.

Messmore is also running the US 50 Collaborative to keep the discussion alive on this- they meet June 26th. He didn’t say where or what time.

14. Cary Pickens- Auditor presented the FINAL claim for PSA Dewberry- approved.

The claims were approved except for Vieste- which was handled separately.

Pickens said he’d drawn up a check for Vieste- but that was not the amount they were going to approve tonight, so he’d have to draw up another one. Pickens wanted them to give him an amount tonight so he could have it ready.

Fox said he had real problems with the hourly rates and had negotiated that down with Bryan (and Vieste ?) to$96,289.28

Thompson said there was NO HOURLY RATES IN THE CONTRACT and the close out was around $94K (actually it was around $92K- they corrected that later) He asked if the wastewater rate analysis was completed? He saw part of the Transportation study. Thompson asked- If wastewater wasn’t done is that a breach of the contract and the 10 day rather than 90 day close out applies? If it was 10 days you pay even less.(like 10% of $92,000)

Messmore said that London Witte was to do that and they decided not to pursue. [NOTE: They attempted to put this off on London- Witte- which was a separate contract. HOWEVER- the wastewater rate analysis is specifically stated in the addendum to VIESTE’s contract at something they would accomplish. ]


Thompson was willing to waive the breach of contract- in order to settle this and be done with it.
Fox went on again about not liking the hourly rates. He asked Thompson if he’d make the motion. Thompson motioned and Fox 2nd to allow the $92,033.19 (payment for May June and July) per the contract and settle the 90-day termination agreement.Passed

Pickens said he would cut the check tomorrow and the claim would be signed at the next meeting- same as with the Friday payroll. He has an ordinance that allows him to cover this. [NOTE: Hurry –hurry- hurry]

Dick Robertson of Vieste/Level 5 Engineering asked to pick up the check tomorrow morning. Pickens said later in the morning. We’d also like the signed settlement agreement. Fox motioned and Thompson 2nd to sign the mutual termination agreement with the $92,033.19 number in it. Passed. Robertson was not authorized to sign it for Vieste- he will take it to Indy and see what they do. [NOTE: Let me get this straight- we give them the check and our signed agreement- but their signatures are not on the agreement yet and they get the check at the same time? Do we just TRUST these guys? Who is protecting the county taxpayers?]

Robertson thanked the commissioners, a pleasure to work with you, maybe someday our paths will cross again.
Fox reminded Robertson of North Dearborn Road- as Level 5 Engineering- if we get the funding.

Hughes said- We were looking as economic prosperity and there was misinformation and now it isn’t possible. [NOTE: Prosperity is possible- economic development is possible- it just needs to be FAR MORE OPEN TO PUBLIC SCRUTINY THAN THIS PLAN, in order to be successful.]

15. Ewbank updated commissioners on no suits, the deeds for eth YES home and Animal Shelter, and the Anchor Glass Bankruptcy filing in Tampa, FL with about ½ million at stake in taxes.

16. Thompson told commissioners that the property owner on Wilson Creek signed off to allow the work to fix the washout. (Jacobsens)

Meeting adjourned at 9:20 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township
ATTENTION!!! – From the HVL members against the Sewage Treatment Plant

VRUC Members (Lot Owners) – VOTE your BALLOT(S)

* Ballots must be submitted to the VRUC office by deadline - FRIDAY, JUNE 22, 2007.

* For the first time in VRUC history:

1. You WILL NOT be able to vote at the annual meeting - Tuesday, June 26, 2007

2. A QUORUM (30% of eligible lot votes – approximately 1100 votes) is needed for any NEW candidate to be elected to the VRUC Board of Directors.

3. IF the quorum (1100 votes) is not obtained, the incumbent candidates can remain on the board even if they get the lowest number of votes cast.

VOTE for HAMILTON******** YAGGI***********ZIEGLER

If elected, we will accomplish the following:

• Sign fair 30-year sewage and water contract with Greendale.
• Repair our utility infrastructure.
• Have monthly checks on the lake for contamination.
• Oversee rotating monthly checks on the over 300 manholes.
• Stop Exorbitant Attorney Fees.
• Stop entering projects “outside the box” of Hidden Valley Lake.
• Big issues will be presented for members vote before projects are initiated.
• Change the By-Laws to lower the quorum voting percentage.
• Post the VRUC monthly meeting minutes on time in the Echoes.
• Have monthly meetings at the new POA community building.
• Receive a profit from the gas utility like we do from the sewer and water.
• Be more informed about water and sewage issues in our surrounding area.

Will the VRUC Board let the candidates with the most votes win their seats on the board and will they tell us the number of votes per candidate as they did last year? If the quorum is not met, will the present VRUC Board respect the vote of the members as in previous elections?

Stan Beeler, elected last year, is fighting for our rights. He tried to have an item added to the ballot to get our opinion on our right to vote on significant projects and issues. It was denied by the majority vote of the VRUC Board. The By-Laws were again changed to their favor. If the VRUC is going to require a quorum, why not make it a more realistic number?

In the HVL May Echoes a flyer written for the VRUC incumbent members, who are trying desperately to remain in position and power, said Jerry Hacker, Danny Armbrecht, and Bob Sypniewski think “outside the box”. The members of HVL/VRUC, are the “box”! They have been spending our money to support “outside the box”projects .

In 1994, the VRUC members and Board took on a neglected system from James Rupel and our money was to be used to fix the infrastructure problems, not to take on outside entities whose volume of sewage would increase our problems. Our community has grown over the years and so have our problems. The #1 priority, to fix the infrastructure was ignored! Sewer infrastructure has been failing due to neglect. In the 12 years of the current leadership, our problems should have been brought under control. This has not happened. It is appalling to compare the small amount of money spent on infrastructure repair versus that for attorney fees.

This spring, after 10 years under an ‘agreed order’ (an alternative to a monetary fine) from IDEM to repair various situations, the Indiana Attorney General fined VRUC $40,000 for repairs not accomplished. This ‘agreed order’ had to be finalized because VRUC will soon be under another ‘agreed order’ for violations.

Fair contracts with Greendale for sewer and water to benefit all the members have been negligently allowed to expire. VRUC refused to renew that contract jeopardizing our welfare. Obviously, members were not considered the #1 priority. There has been no sewer contract with Greendale from 2002, until the state forced VRUC to sign a 4-year contract.

Our sewer and water fees are among the highest in the state of Indiana. VRUC Board bills us more than double the amount charged by Greendale. Greendale, at least, uses their fees for processing our sewage, maintaining and updating pipes and equipment for both sewage and water.

A sewage treatment plant is planned by the VRUC Board to service areas “outside the box” (outside the boundaries of Hidden Valley Lake). We were not informed nor consulted of their multi-million dollar plans, even though they are already spending hundreds of thousands of our dollars on costly feasibility studies, engineering designs and attorney fees. One VRUC Board member remarked to an HVL resident: “There will be a sewage treatment plant and nobody can stop it.”

The members 1500 votes on simple ballots did make a difference! Our proxy votes, scorned by the VRUC Board, were taken seriously and respected by many others.

OKI (Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments) disallowed the NPDES permit submitted by IDEM, that VRUC needed for discharge from a sewage treatment plant into waterways such as Double Lick Creek, Great Miami River, Ohio River, etc. Although the denial of the NPDES permit was decided under Section 208(b), Clean Water Act developed in 1977, OKI was impressed by the members’ concerns and very receptive to a copy of our proxy votes.

IDEM, IRUC, IOUCC and others at the state level are very aware of our desires as expressed by our proxy votes.

Greendale respects our group effort and has been working closely with Jack Arduin, and Stan Beeler to attempt to finally get a fair 30-year contract for sewage and water service. The men who think “outside the box” are still spending money trying to arrange alternative service (such as an initial $18,000 study for a joint-venture in Ohio which, according to an OKI staffer has big obstacles). Obstacles mean money in the attorney’s already gold-lined pockets, thanks to VRUC thinking “outside the box.”

Dearborn County Plan Commission refused the Red Pine development presented by Andy Timmel and Realtor, Sammy Gutzweiler, due to inadequate sewage service promised by VRUC in documents signed by Floyd Ogden, for which Chairman Mark Mitter at the January 23, 2006 meeting, threatened to notify the Indiana Attorney General concerning the perjury.

Dearborn County Regional Sewer District (DCRSD), made aware of our 1500 proxy votes, were skeptical of VRUC. They became truly concerned when L. Parvin Price included the phrase, “most favored nation status” in the Agreement of Understanding (November 4, 2005 DCRSD regular meeting) between VRUC and the DCRSD. Since then, DCRSD has dismissed their original attorney and VRUC dropped it's quest to join DCRSD.

The Group Against the Sewage Treatment Plant spent a total of about $5000 to accomplish their mission, while VRUC has spent approximately $80,000 just for the meeting, held in January of 2006 at Agner Hall at the Dearborn County Fairgrounds, concerning the true election of officers, where they would not honor the VRUC members’ 1500 proxy votes. At that meeting, a VRUC member asked L. Parvin Price (VRUC’s Indianapolis attorney) how much money he was still owed by the VRUC and he refused to answer.

Money is truly an issue for the HVL/VRUC members. We have been paying our fees and monthly bills for years. In just the past few years, approximately $500,000 was paid to the Indianapolis law firm represented by L. Parvin Price. Currently, approximately $200,000 of is still owed the firm and is being paid at $20,000 per month. How many more months $20,000 will be paid depends on how much more VRUC thinks “outside the box”. Ask the HVL POA how much money of your money has been paid to attorneys for our new POA building, to develop our wonderful sports fields, or to improve our beach, pave our roads, etc. The POA has much to show for the use of our money without attorney fees. Mr. Price has been the VRUC attorney since it's beginning in 1994. Does the so-called experienced and knowledgeable VRUC Board really run the company with an attorney receiving this much of the members’ money? Mr. Price is definitely “outside the box” and VRUC needs to explain to the members.

Comments by members who regularly attend the meetings (POA and VRUC) that the people who don’t vote, don’t care, are not true. 1500 proxy votes were gathered a 6-month period of time! In our fast paced world, people generally don’t have time for politics. We chose a beautiful, private place like HVL presuming that the large amount of money we pay to live here, will have everything in good repair and done responsibly. We are hoping to make this an honest election. The winners should be determined just like they were in the past, since a 30% quorum was never achieved at any annual meeting. The By-Law should have been changed by lowering the quorum provide the members a legal election.

Place your ballot “inside the box” and hopefully each and every vote submitted will be counted. Be sure to enter a ballot for each of your eligible lots. Remember that for your vote to count, a quorum of approximately 1100 votes is needed! VOTE before the Friday, June 22, 2007 Deadline Date at the end of business hours.

Remember you cannot vote at the annual meeting on June 26, 2007!

submitted by Maria Larosa with HVL Members Against the Sewage Treatment Plant
Hidden Valley Lake, Miller Township