Thursday, July 31, 2008

AIC Letter on Government Modernization

Government Modernization

By David Bottorff
Executive Director
Association of Indiana Counties

Indiana County Government: there when you need it.

Taxpayers should be wary of efforts to eliminate county elected government officials and replace elected positions with appointed people. If it comes down to democracy vs. appointed bureaucracy, the choice seems abundantly clear: democracy. A commission appointed by the Governor to find efficiencies in government recommends doing away with many county elected officials. The report has some positive recommendations but eliminating the opportunity for taxpayers to serve their communities is not one of them. One size or form of government does not fit all communities.

Framers of Indiana’s Constitution designed county government to carry out state laws and policies. To create a balance of power between state government and the citizens throughout the state, the designers of the State Constitution believed voters should directly elect people from their county to administer state laws. Why should that be changed? No evidence has been produced that appointed people will do a better job than elected people. In 1851 it would have been easy to allow the state to appoint people in each county to administer state laws. However, framers of the State Constitution must have been concerned about too much power being concentrated in state government or in the hands of too few people.

Evolving Local Government

Supporters of the elimination of county elected officials often claim that the local government structure of 1851 has not evolved, but clearly it has evolved. The functions of the county officeholders change every time the General Assembly completes a session. At one time, townships were in charge of schools and roads; now school boards and counties handle those services. County councils were created because the General Assembly believed county commissions had too much power. What should change is the proliferation of sub-county units and non-elected boards with tax and spending authority. Some progress was made on this effort during the 2008 session of the General Assembly. However, non-elected boards have flourished in recent decades, creating a wide range of property tax rates within a county and varying levels of service. Many services performed by sub-county units could be done more uniformly and efficiently on a county-wide basis, implemented by elected and accountable officeholders.

Elected officials directly responsible to the voters are much more likely to look out for the best interest of taxpayers than non-elect ed persons or boards. County government officials include nearly every aspect of society: current and former business owners, farmers, teachers and employees with a variety of backgrounds. In general, county elected officials are concerned citizens who want to contribute or give something back to their communities. Advocates of a centralized more bureaucratic government with minimal elected officials ignore the fact that county government requires teamwork and consensus building, a primary goal of democracy. Moving to appointed positions limits the ability of voters to select their local leaders and limits the ability of citizens to serve their community.

Cost Savings by replacing elected officials with appointed people?

The Shepard-Kernan report on local government has some proposals that will create efficiencies, save money or reduce property taxes by shifting funding to the state. Some of the proposals were enacted during the 2008 session of the General Assembly with the support of county elected officials. However, eliminating ele cted officials and replacing them with appointed people will make county government less accountable and more expensive. Appointed people usually demand a higher salary than people who are elected. Indiana county government provides the basic services for citizens: criminal justice, elections, land records, tax administration, economic development and much more. Citizens should be wary of attempts to take power away from them and give it to a centralized government with limited access points. County elected officials are there when you need them and county government is there when you need it. They work directly for you. Why change that?

The Association of Indiana Counties, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that was established in 1957 for the betterment of county government. The various functions of the AIC include lobbying the Indiana General Assembly on behalf of counties, serving as liaison among counties, state and federal agencies as well as providing technical assistance and training to county officials and employees.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

28 July 2008 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Agenda

28 July 2008 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Agenda

Present: Hall, Chairman, Kraus, Jr., Beiersdorfer, Lansing, Lehman, Nelson, Thompson, and NEW MEMBER- Mike Hornbach, County Extension Agent.
Absent: Laws.

Also present: McCormack, Plan Director, McGill, Attorney, and Listerman, Transportation Director.

Minutes are backed up and will be sent in the next packet per Cathy.

1. Appeal of the Tech Review Decision to grant primary approval for an 8-lot subdivision. Owner is Norma Fox and Applicant is Maxwell Development. Property is located on Sawdon Ridge in Sect 6 or Miller Township and contains about 131.387 acres. It is zoned Ag. The current land use is low density residential in a rural area. Hall asked if anyone wanted him to step down as he had done survey work for Ms. Fox. No one did. [NOTE: The two families appealing this decision were NOT PRESENT.]

5 of the 8 lots share a common driveway. Randy Maxwell was present if there were any questions. The only public question was that there were only 121 acres there – not 131. Surveyor Jeff Stenger stated the official survey hadn’t been done yet and they had added up plats to get the 131-acre number.

Appeal was based on increased traffic, less privacy, peace, and quiet, schools, environmental issues, housing decline, and the location of the shared driveway (it could have light issues on one of the appellant’s homes, which sits more than 200 ft. off the road.)

Kraus and Nelson motioned to deny the appeal based on the finding that the minor subdivision approval meets the ordinance requirements. All ayes.

2. Greg Trabel with help from surveyor Jeff Stenger presented a request to vacate 3rd St and 2 alleys within the town of Lawrenceville. Location is Jackson Township at Lawrenceville, Walters , and SR 46. Zoning is Ag and lot size was .54 acres. There are 6-7 owners in the town of Lawrenceville. Kraus Jr. stepped down as surveyor and Thompson offered to as he had worked with the county on some of the issues there. No one asked Thompson to step down.

Several citizens spoke: Trabel,(who was not happy about all the costs he has incurred and wanted others to chip in or the county to fix the “mess”), Metcalf, Stanfield, Barnes, Shaffer, Gutapfel. All were in favor of vacating most of these old streets and alleys. They also detailed several incidents of permits supposedly allowing then to build in ROW areas. Stenger suggested maybe vacating all of Lawrenceville and starting over.

Beiersdorfer noted that Trabel has spent $4,000 so far on the building and $2,000 on survey. He’s maintaining the land anyway – it’s really his own property. Plus he’s paid $400 to the county so far. McGill said descriptions could be written without surveys as he had done in Aurora. Listerman wants to fix the whole situation if possible.

Thompson and Nelson motioned for a FAVORABLE recommendation to commissioners to vacate 3rd Street west of Temple (Johnnycake) including the alleyway west of the property and 3rd St to Lawrenceville Road. Also vacate alley S from 46 to the SW corner of Trabel’s property and the alley there to Lawrenceville Rd. All ayes.

They also voted to have the Plan Dept to investigate the revision of all of the Lawrenceville area. This cost would be borne by the county.

Proposed changes to the County Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance:

The Variance vs. Waivers text was TABLED AGAIN.

Construction Access points were given a Favorable Recommendation to go to the Commissioners.

Thompson updated the Commission on the Building Dept Inspection issues.

McCormack updated on:

1. Mike Hornbach- new county extension agent replaced Nick Held on the PC.
2. Bonds update including Park Place acceptance and Elvin Miller wanting a waiver next meeting and Tucker’s Laurel Valley slated for next meeting.
3. The Dec 22 meeting has been officially moved to Dec 15.
4. Hall and Kraus, Jr will meet with Hughes and McCormack Friday on the Comprehensive Plan Map amendment.
5. New Planner- Ashley Webb- replaces Mike Ionna who resigned recently.
6. Budget meetings in mid August- budget estimates only a 1.6% increase over last year.
7. US 50 Collaborative meetings continue
8. OKI fiscal impact continues.

Meeting adjourned 9:25 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township


We are extending an invitation for you to attend an upcoming Commissioners meeting on August 5th at 6:30pm. There will be a short presentation from Denise Knueven from the Purdue Technical Assistance Program. This presentation will be approximately 15 minutes long and we feel it could be of great interest to you and local businesses in our communities.

The Technical Assistance Program (TAP) is the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Center for the State of Indiana. It is sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology through the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. The mission of the Purdue Technical Assistance Program (TAP) is to advance Indiana's economic prosperity and quality of life. TAP supports performance improvement in Indiana companies and organizations through various programs and services that utilize faculty, students, and staff in nine statewide offices.

Employers served include companies, hospitals, health departments, and governmental units throughout the state. Impacts are considerable, and since 1986 TAP programs and services have assisted over 8,300 organizations, trained over 4,600 employees, boosted sales by $351 million, increased capital investments by $66 million, contributed cost savings of $39 million, and saved or added over 4,600 jobs in the state, according to the organizations that were assisted.

We hope you can attend and or send a representative from your offices.

Jeff Hughes
County Commissioner

Friday, July 25, 2008



With regards to the Northwest Quadrant, the people have developed a land use map, the people have agreed to the map, and the people want to know again why it is we should keep the 2 people on the board that think that they are the people.

I believe that they took an oath to honor the rights and wishes of the people, since they want to honor their own wishes, why are they still in office?

If our boss tells us to do a job we do not go off on a tangent and to the opposite, we do the best job we can in the way they asked us to do it. If we do go off the road, do we still have a job? I would think not!!!

I guess the question now is HOW DO WE FIRE THEM?

Andy Sams
Dearborn County Resident for 50 yrs.

17 July 2008 DCRSD Meeting Notes

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

17 July 2008
DCRSD Meeting Notes

Present: Chairman, Enzweiler, Maxwell, Pruss, Dennerline and Renihan.Also Present: Benning, Executive Secretary and Secretary (replacing Doug Baer, who resigned earlier this year); Robert Hrezo, Hrezo Engineering; Tom Quinn, Quinn Engineering; Frank Kramer, Board Attorney; and Ralph Thompson. Bryan Messmore arrived after the start of the meeting.

Meeting started at approximately 7:00 PM in the Commissioner's Meeting Room. The meeting was NOT recorded.

Meeting Notes
Meeting Notes for June 5, 2008 approved.

Treasurer's Report
Regional Sewer District Savings Account $ 75,709.31
High Ridge Account $108,720.82
RSD Project Fund $255,849.63
Aurora Debt Service Account $ 3,535.50 (VB said Aurora overpaid $17.)
Sewer District Savings $ 2,422.82
Serenity Ridge Account $ 74,766.27

Serenity Ridge
Hrezo reported pipe is in ground and pressure test was conducted June 18. Passed at 78 PSI for 3 hours. Punch list items are resolved. OK to pay, except $1200 for tap and trench settlement. Pay $47,800. As-built print was provided, Hrezo is reviewing. All taps are marked with a wood stake and pin underground. Restoration work is complete. Residents were pleased with the restoration work.

West Aurora Project
Quinn provided financial analysis for 23 houses - 32 lots for Timberview for a budget cost of $99,000. Amounts to about $4,304 per home. For all 32 lots on Timberview, the cost is $104,000 or $3,508 per house. With the proposed lots on Edgewood Lane the cost is $109,000 for 54 houses at $2,018 per house. Flow is based on 310 GPD (gallons per day) per house.
There was a discussion about the higher cost of the larger plant with the current number of houses. Quinn suggested catching up with tap in fees, as new lots are developed. MSD is charging $3,200 per tap. The collection system exists on Timberview and work on Edgewood would have to include the collection system when any houses are built. Quinn estimated O & M costs at $19,000.

Pruss suggested the larger system be installed and if sewers extended out to the site in the future, the plant could be moved to other problem sites. Quinn indicated the tanks would be precast concrete with a 20' by 40' excavation. The system would tap the existing line to the lagoon and extend to the plant and then connect back to the line down to the lagoon. They may have to pipe around the lagoon.

A discussion ensued about the liability of using the lagoon. The cleanup costs were unknown and IDEM's requirements were unknown. Dennerline thought there was a "Superfund" or some Indiana Fund to help with the cleanup costs, if required. He further commented the site has been a thorn in their side (the Health Board's) for a long time. Quinn has not talked to IDEM yet.

Pruss indicated they would have to work a deal with Dillsboro to collect the monthly costs or shut off the water to the residences that didn't pay, or install valves in the sewer lines at about $1,500 each. There was a discussion as to whether they could shut off the sewer lines. Dennerline indicated they could if there were no other way. Kramer will contact Dillsboro to check on the feasibility.

Quinn asked if everyone would hook on, Enzeiler indicated most of the residents were anxious to connect. Quinn indicated it would take about 3 months to complete the design for IDEM review. He didn't know how much time IDEM would need. Dennerline asked if IDEM could be approached now. It was decided to complete the design for submission. Dennerline moved to proceed with the design for the total of 54 lots (Alternative 3).

Maxwell didn't want to solicit connections; but, thought John Ziedan would want to connect. He wondered if it would be sensible to up size the plant capacity. What could they get for another $10,000? Denerline indicated Ziedan could connect; but, it would cost him a lot to cross US 50. He thought it might take $25,000 to $50,000.

Quinn indicated the unit could be expanded further; but, it would cost more. Another tank could be added to double the capacity at a cost of around $80,000. The current plant could also be operated at a reduced capacity since there were not currently 54 houses.

Enzweiler said IDEM said that when Highridge was fixed they wanted other places fixed too. They expected to pick up other streets along the way.

Quinn indicated they should stress economics when they presented this fix.

Ralph Thompson asked from the audience, if the Board was going to contact Mr. Ziedan to see if he might be interested in connecting. Dennerline indicated he wouldn't connect. He didn't think he would pay that since he wouldn't pay the $2,500 to buy the right tank to meet the state requirement. Starlight's permit expired and he was officially out of business as of the 1st of March of this year. The consensus was not to contact Ziedan.

Discussion indicated they could wait till sewer was available from Aurora. Maxwell indicated they couldn't wait. The motion was seconded and approved.

Enzweiler directed Quinn to start on the design of Alternate 3 and Kramer should contact Dillsboro.He asked how soon they could have drawings and an estimate. Quinn said about 60 days. Enzweiler directed Quinn to get with John Draper to finalize the property "set up". Quinn indicted he would proceed and joked about the day he went to the property last time, was the day he broke his foot.

Enzweiler said they were moving forward now and he was waiting for the "road blocks". He said the costs for the house holders would higher at first and go down as more houses were added. Quinn indicated the O & M costs were based on a similar plant in operation. He also indicated the cost of chemicals was going up.

New Business
Benning requested to change the office hours from Monday, Wednesday and Friday to Tuesday through Thursday. The Board approved the change and Enzweiler directed her to get with the Web Master to change the office hours listed on the web.

Benning indicated Dennerline and Pruss had attended a Regional Sewer meeting to obtain information and she wanted to ask the Board for a per diem for them. Pruss indicted he did not want to be paid for the meeting. The issue was dropped.

Claims submitted:
Hrezo $1,930.00
Hrezo $642.50
Del $13.99
Quinn $2,000.00 Flow measurement for Highridge
Quinn $1,883.93 Miles and report.
UCC Contractors $47,800.00 Serenity Ridge construction
Maxwell moved and Dennerline seconded, Approved with Renihan abstaining.

Benning provided information in the next week, that the Quinn invoice would be resubmitted to the Board due to a clerical error in the submitted invoice.

Enzweiler questioned Quinn and Hrezo as to how much work was remaining on their part on Serenity Ridge. Quinn was caught up and Hrezo still had the construction observation to finish.

Adjourned at approximately 7:40 PM.

Financial analysis submitted by Quinn Engineering:

Quinn Engineering L.L.C.
18 E 4th Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202

The High Ridge subdivision, a subdivision of 23 existing homes, is the larges(t) water quality problem in the Dearborn County Regional Sewer service area. Its treatment has deteriorated, through neglect and IDEM in 2001 denied the discharge permit.
The Dearborn County Regional Sewer District has developed a plan the (to ?) abate this water quality insult.
The project calls for a small wastewater treatment plant to he (be?) built at the end of Timberview Drive. Sizing of the plant deserves a high degree of consideration.
All the Alternates will be extended aeration with equalization tank, clarifier, sludge storage tank, chlorination and dechloriation system.

Alternate I 23 homes = 7130 gallons per day includes all built lots
Alternate II 34 homes = 10540 gallons per day includes all lots on Timberview
Alternate III 54 homes = 16740 gallons per day includes all lots along Timberview and proposed street Edgewood Lane

Construction Cost
Alternate I 23 homes $ 99,000 Cost per lot $4304
Alternate II 34 homes $ 104,000 Cost per lot $3058
Alternate III 54 homes $ 109,000 Cost per lot $2018

Amortized Cost
25 years at 1.00%
Alternate I 23 homes $16.29 per month
Alternate II 34 homes $11.57 per month
Alternate III 54 homes $ 7.64 per month

Operation and Maintenance Cost
Alternate I 23 homes $68.84 per month
Alternate II 34 homes $46.56 per month
Alternate III 54 homes $29.32 per month

Total Cost
Alternate I 23 homes $85.12 per month
Alternate II 34 homes $58.13 per month
Alternate III 54 homes $37.20 per month

Thursday, July 24, 2008


On June 24, 2008 I was elected President of the Board of Directors of the Valley Rural Utility Corporation (VRUC). Currently none of the VRUC members are authorized to represent VRUC in any discussions. Therefore, all communicatrions are to go through me. Please inform all SDRSD Board members of this change. If you or the Board has any questions, please feel free to contract me at (812) 537-3301.


Jeff Bittner
VRUC President


It appeared that the land use map was to be accepted for the county by the county commissioners.

Well wrong. It seems that Mr. Jeff Hughes, the County Commissioner- the honorable Mr. Jeff Hughes - wished to learn if Dearborn countians had any knowledge of the land use map. Thus he instituted a poll. The result was that the land map was tabled in November of 2007.

Now we know that Mr. Hughes is a well educated well intentioned and charming young man. We do not know what his background is in statistics and studies of demographics.

We have not been informed as to the company that determined the sampling of the citizens of the county, we have not been informed as to who was the statistician or what company did a statistical analysis of Mr. Hughes' poll.

Given that this is so important one wonders why a polling company was not hired to do this pole, expensive yes, but so was Viete.

One wonders why this has been such a cockamamie and rather secretive poll which resulted in the tabling of the work of many honest Dearborn Countians, that is the land use map. It must be born in mind that the land use map was not the final word, it was not The Word from on high carved in stone.

In any professional school this poll would have been unacceptable. The author of it would have been disciplined or discharged.

This complaint has been offered to the local newspaper, but the crusading editor has refused to entertain such question. Why?

Alan S Freemond, Sr.
Jackson Township

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


It should be obvious to the citizens when their community is working on a master plan. The newspaper and radio should be announcing public meetings and publicizing a call for citizens to work on focus and advisory groups.

Consultants should not make up master plans and then put them out to the public. The public should be involved from the very beginning. That said, the public has the option to go to the meetings and be informed- or not. When a plan commission utilizes every reasonable means to notify the public and be accessible, we have to accept the fact that not everyone cares or is interested in becoming part of the public process.

The second way to safeguard the public interest is to choose people for focus and advisory groups that reflect a diverse range of backgrounds, interests, and geographic representation. Hopefully, that will be a sample of the broader scope of the county’s citizens and their interests. Ideally, a master plan should be made by the people in the community, and revised and updated by them on a regular five-year basis.

Our county master plan is already in force. However, the future land use map amendment to that plan has been tabled since November 2007. Included in that amendment are updated current land use maps that will be useful and necessary to the Plan Commission and development interests when economic conditions improve.

At the heart of the map approval issue for two of the commissioners is the development of land in the NW Quadrant of the county. The proposed future land use map does not put a large industrial site there. There are several reasons for this. The most crucial for most of the advisory board and the plan commission is that over 500 people in that Agricultural area did not want it there.

Jim and Lisa Segedy (in their upcoming article in the Plan Commissioners Journal) “This Plan’s for You” state that when working in towns around Atlanta they kept hearing, “We don’t want to be like Atlanta.” Many people in Dearborn County have similar feelings about their neighboring urban areas, when they say, “We don’t want to be like Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky.” Yet, we keep hiring people from those areas to make us more like them.

The commissioners have even put non- residents on boards recently- boards that directly influence development in our county. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that new residents can bring new blood and new ideas that are good for our community. But they should have a stake in the outcome- and not just a paycheck that they deposit to their account back home in Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky.

Land use decisions become developer driven, when we fail to develop our own plans and priorities. The master plan determined how and where we as a county want to grow. Two of the commissioners don’t want to accept that plan’s amendment leading some people to think that these commissioners are development or developer driven.

The question commissioners need to be asking the public is, “Why do you choose to live here?” It might surprise them to hear the answers. I doubt that anyone will say he or she moved here to be near an industrial park or rampant development. Citizens won’t say they want bigger or more crowded schools either.

Our master plan committees used the term “pace and place” as a theme for balancing growth. We need to PLACE development in appropriate locations and do it at an reasonable PACE so that the community can absorb the infrastructure improvement costs.

Jim and Lisa Segedy summed it up best in “This Plan’s for You” when they stated that we “must realize that 1) growth is not always possible, 2) growth is not always avoidable, 3) growth is not always good, and 4) balanced growth is the only way that your community can sustain itself.”

It is time for our commissioners to accept the future land use map amendment. We need to make progress to the next revisions in five years, reflecting upon our unique needs and resources.

Christine Brauer Mueller served on the advisory board to the county master plan and is a citizen editor for Planning Commissioner’s Journal. Quoted with permission from PCJ and the Segedys. Dr.Jim Segedy, formerly of Ball State, is Director of Community Planning for the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and Lisa Hollingsworth-Segedy is the Managing Partner and Senior Planner for The Community Partnership.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


For subscribers click onto to access the editorial cartoon.

15 July 2008 Dearborn County Commissiners Meeting Notes

Notes of Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting July 15, 2008, 6:30 p.m.

Special thanks to Helen Kremer for taking the notes for this meeting.

Present: Commissioners Jeff Hughes, Rick Fox, and Ralph Thompson
Also present: Cary Pickens, Auditor, Brian Messmore, Administrator, and
Bob Ewbank, Attorney

Democrat Candidates for Commissioner and Council present: Tom Orschel and
Phil Darling

Pledge of Allegiance


Mt. Tabor Road (Theresa McAdams) tabled from 7/1/08 - Ralph Thompson suggested they ratify and confirm the No Burn Area from US 50 S. to the bend approximately 2,900 feet South of US 50, approximately, 3/8 of a mile area.

Todd Listerman stated signs (regarding the No Burn Area) should be in place southbound and northbound of the area.

Rick Fox said there is a concern that there will be future calls requesting the same consideration from others.

Hughes said the Sheriff has a State law to handle this situation.

A discussion followed that IN code 13-17-9 deals with fire creating a nuisance. The Commissioners discussed that this is a life and death situation.

Ewbank stated this matter is under Home Rule and left to local municipalities.

Ralph Thompson restated the motion that they ratify and confirm the No Burn Area for life and health as long as Theresa McAdams is in her current residence, with authorization for signs to be placed.

Rick Fox seconded the motion. Jeff Hughes voted Nay. Motion passed.

Appointment of Kelso Township Trustee – tabled from 7/1/08 - The issue of Chuck Andres being appointed Trustee until the next election in 2008, was discussed.

Pickens stated he will be Trustee until someone succeeds him, until there is a successor, you cannot leave a trusteeship until you have someone to replace you.

Rick Fox motioned Chuck Andres be appointed Kelso Township Trustee until a successor replaces him.

Ralph Thompson seconded. All ayes, motion passed.

NEW BUSINESS: Nothing scheduled.

Claims/Minutes: - Cary Pickens motioned that the Commissioners accept the claims presented—all were accepted.

Ralph Thompson motioned to accept the June 17, 2008 minutes as amended.
Rick Fox seconded the motion. All ayes.

After receiving a copy of the July 1, 2008 meeting, Thompson motioned to accept July 1, meeting. All ayes.

Regarding the July 2, 2008 meeting Thompson stated he talked with Mayor Cunningham and there is a correction, Dave O’Mara and the County will do the paving. Meeting minutes approved as amended.

Highway Department - Transportation Updates

Todd Listerman asked for acceptance of Memory Lane, and Process Drive in the Data Park Subdivision that were originally platted in 1974 and 1975. John Maxwell purchased them two years ago, and now the roads have been brought up to standards, 20 ft. wide pavement, 50 ft. ROW, all signs installed. Memory Lane is 0.14, and Process Drive is 0.13 miles in length.

Rick Fox motioned to accept as stated, Memory Lane is 0.14 and Process Drive is 0.13 miles. Ralph Thompson seconded. All ayes, motion passed.

Listerman said the next item was area Mr. Maxwell developed in the Bright area, Park Place Drive, Atlantic Avenue, and Pacific Avenue, 20 ft. wide pavements. 60 ft. ROW, and 50 ft. ROW for Pacific and Atlantic Aves. Park Place Drive is 0.42, Atlantic Ave. is 0.10, and Pacific Ave. is 0.12 miles.

Ralph Thompson motioned to accept as stated, Park Place Dr. 0.42, Atlantic Ave. 0.10, and Pacific Ave. 0.12 miles. Rick Fox seconded the motion. All ayes, motion passed.

Bridge #15 – Listerman stated we are working with INDOT for Bridge #15 - Laughery Creek. The original bid had no bidders that came in below. We will have a rebid in October, and we plan on completing the project next summer. Regarding Federal dollars, DLZ LLC out of Indianapolis are the engineers who they will assign to the job in October. Paperwork needs to be signed that we understand DLZ is in place. Costs will be 80/20, with 20 for the county.

Ralph Thompson motioned they proceed with DLZ to act as representatives for Bridge 15. Fox seconded. All ayes, motion passed.

Bridge #20 - New bridge #20, near Chesterville Road. Two change orders, requested new notification, up and down hill signs to be posted. The papers and radio will be notified telling when roads will be closed. Change #1 involves need to pay additional $1,100 for sign, and Change order #2 saved $192.86, did not need epoxy coated steel.
Rick Fox motioned to accept Change orders #1 and 2 as read by Mr. Listerman. All approved, motion carried.

Equipment Update – Listerman stated Council gave funds for a loader and two snowplows. CAT OH will be where the loader is purchased for $107,890, because of the warranty, as well as more horsepower, along with the fact that for one year if we have any problems they will come and pick it up, forks for loader as well. Trucks are out for bid.

Cary Pickens – Motioned the Commissioners sign the EMS 2007 Bright contract.
Ralph Thompson motioned, and Fox seconded. All ayes, motion passed.

Brian Messmore - 1) The Dearborn County Minutes and Schedules will be online by date. 2) They are working with the Animal Shelter to provide work release to assist the shelter. 3) Workman’s Compensation Evaluation obtained.

Bob Ewbank - An incident involving a pit bull and a child has been resolved. People in the county need to be aware that a pit bull is considered a vicious animal, and there are specific guidelines regarding a pit bull in this county. A pit bull must be muzzled and tethered, a sign posted. People owning pit bulls need to know all of the guidelines regarding the care and treatment of these animals.

Rick Fox – The 24 Hour Emergency Call Number needs to be reinforced. The incident with the dog being taken to the shelter brought up a problem, so there needs to be people who can be reached at all times.

Ralph Thompson - State Inspection stated we are getting back on track. Inspections are being approved, and city managers are pleased with the progress taking place. All our inspectors do not have code books. Thompson asked Brian Messmore to get our inspectors the tools to do their job. When people are cited they need to know what violations are being noted, and be able to see the code they are violating. Mr. Messmore will follow up.

Ralph Thompson stated Judge Witte wrote a letter requesting keeping his laptop. It is over 4 years old, and the State declares it as scrap. Thompson motioned they offer it to Judge Witte for $1. Thompson motioned they declare the 2003 laptop as obsolete and offer it to Judge Witte for $1. Rick Fox seconded the motion. Motion passed.

Commissioners adjourned the meeting at approximately 7:10 p.m.

Helen Kremer
Logan Township

You're Invited to the Beyond the Boundaries Listening Sessions

Dear Hoosier,
On behalf of Lt. Governor Becky Skillman and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA), I would like to cordially invite you to participate in one of the "Beyond the Boundaries" listening sessions that will take place across the state. These town-hall style meetings will provide an opportunity for citizens to express their views on the needs of rural Indiana, as we work to update our priorities. The listening sessions are another example of how we are renewing the state's commitment to rural Indiana. A similar effort in 2005 brought together a broad-based group of rural-serving organizations to address issues identified by rural residents and helped determine the priorities of the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA).

Led by OCRA, the initiative again will include a number of partners: the Association of Indiana Counties (AIC), Hoosier Energy, Indiana Association of Cities and Towns (IACT), Indiana Association for Community Economic Development (IACED), Indiana Association of Regional Councils (IARC), Indiana Economic Development Association, Inc. (IEDA), Indiana Farm Bureau, Indiana Grantmakers Alliance, Indiana Rural Health Association (IRHA), and Wabash Valley Power Association (WVPA).

Registration for all events will begin at 5:00 p.m. and the listening sessions will begin at 5:30 p.m. All times are local. Closest to Dearborn County is:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Batesville Public Library
131 N. Walnut St.
Batesville, IN 47006

I hope that you will join us at one or more of the sessions. If you are able to attend, please RSVP to Bethany Jamison at or 317.233.3762. Thank you for assisting us in making rural Indiana a better place to work and live.

David TerrellExecutive Director

Friday, July 04, 2008

Assessment Issues

Indiana Code
Auditor's Responsibility on tax assessments

IC 6-1.1-17-1County auditor certified statement; amendment of statement Sec. 1. (a) On or before August 1 of each year, the county auditor shall send a certified statement, under the seal of the board of county commissioners, to the fiscal officer of each political subdivision of the county and the department of local government finance.
The statement shall contain:
(1) information concerning the assessed valuation in the political subdivision for the next calendar year;
(2) an estimate of the taxes to be distributed to the political subdivision during the last six (6) months of the current calendar year;
(3) the current assessed valuation as shown on the abstract of charges;
(4) the average growth in assessed valuation in the political subdivision over the preceding three (3) budget years, excluding years in which a general reassessment occurs, determined according to procedures established by the department of local government finance;
(5) the amount of the political subdivision's assessed valuation reduction determined under section 0.5(d) of this chapter; and
(6) any other information at the disposal of the county auditor that might affect the assessed value used in the budget adoption process. (b) The estimate of taxes to be distributed shall be based on:
(1) the abstract of taxes levied and collectible for the current calendar year, less any taxes previously distributed for the calendar year; and
(2) any other information at the disposal of the county auditor which might affect the estimate. (c) The fiscal officer of each political subdivision shall present the county auditor's statement to the proper officers of the political subdivision. (d) Subject to subsection (e) and except as provided in subsection (f), after the county auditor sends a certified statement under subsection (a) or an amended certified statement under this subsection with respect to a political subdivision and before the department of local government finance certifies its action with respect to the political subdivision under section 16(f) of this chapter, the county auditor may amend the information concerning assessed valuation included in the earlier certified statement. The county auditor shall send a certified statement amended under this subsection, under the seal of the board of county commissioners, to: (1) the fiscal officer of each political subdivision affected by
the amendment; and (2) the department of local government finance. (e) Except as provided in subsection (g), before the county auditor makes an amendment under subsection (d), the county auditor must provide an opportunity for public comment on the proposed amendment at a public hearing. The county auditor must give notice of the hearing under IC 5-3-1.
If the county auditor makes the amendment as a result of information provided to the county auditor by an assessor, the county auditor shall give notice of the public hearing to the assessor. (f) Subsection (d) does not apply to an adjustment of assessed valuation under IC 36-7-15.1-26.9(d). (g) The county auditor is not required to hold a public hearing under subsection (e) if:
(1) the amendment under subsection (d) is proposed to correct a mathematical error made in the determination of the amount of assessed valuation included in the earlier certified statement;
(2) the amendment under subsection (d) is proposed to add to the amount of assessed valuation included in the earlier certified statement assessed valuation of omitted property discovered after the county auditor sent the earlier certified statement; or
(3) the county auditor determines that the amendment under subsection (d) will not result in an increase in the tax rate or tax rates of the political subdivision.(Formerly: Acts 1975, P.L.47, SEC.1.) As amended by P.L.37-1992, SEC.4; P.L.49-1996, SEC.1; P.L.50-1996, SEC.1; P.L.90-2002, SEC.147; P.L.154-2006, SEC.42.

IC 6-1.1-37-1State or local government officers; failure to perform
Sec. 1. An officer of state or local government who recklessly violates or fails to perform a duty imposed on him under:

(1) IC 6-1.1-10-1(b); (2) IC 6-1.1-12-6; (3) IC 6-1.1-12-7; (4) IC 6-1.1-12-8; (5) IC 6-1.1-17-1; (6) IC 6-1.1-17-3(a); (7) IC 6-1.1-17-5(d)(1); (8) IC 6-1.1-18-1; (9) IC 6-1.1-18-5; (10) IC 6-1.1-18-6; (11) IC 6-1.1-20-5; (12) IC 6-1.1-20-6; (13) IC 6-1.1-20-7; (14) IC 6-1.1-30-14; or (15) IC 6-1.1-36-13;

commits a Class A misdemeanor.

In addition, the officer is liable for the damages sustained by a person as a result of the officer's violation of the provision or the officer's failure to perform the duty.(Formerly: Acts 1975, P.L.47, SEC.1.) As amended by Acts 1978, P.L.2, SEC.605; P.L.49-1996, SEC.8; P.L.198-2001, SEC.91.

Information provided by Bob Bissett

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

1 July 2008 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

Present: Hughes, Fox, and Thompson

Also present: Pickens, Auditor, Messmore, Administrator, and Ewbank, Attorney

Democrat Candidates for Commissioner and Council present: Tom Orschel, Doug Taylor, and Phil Darling

Old Business:
1. Exempt vs. non-exempt personnel was tabled again for Pickens to get information.

2. Mt. Tabor Road No Burning Zone signs was tabled until Listerman cold identify the actual parameters of the area to be in that no burn order.

New Business:
1. Kelso Township trustee resigned May 16. The Democrats didn’t appoint anyone within 30 days so the commissioners have until July 15 to appoint someone. Pickens wasn’t sure who appoints after that. The township board is handling the paperwork for that position until it is filled.

2. SEIRPC Public Hearing for the Region 15 CAC (Child Advocacy Center) received approval to proceed with the grant application with the county as sponsor. It will cover 6 counties ( Dearborn, Decatur, Jefferson, Ohio, Ripley, and Switzerland)Julie Berry presented for SEIRPC (SE Ind Reg Planning Commission) They are requesting $500,000 from OCRA ( Office of Community and Rural Affairs) and will raise $100,000 from local community foundations to match it. The facility is planned to be in a renovated lawyer’s office in Dillsboro. Sarah Brichto, the project director, said that by pulling the 6 counties together – they could afford to do this. Aaron Negangard- Cty Prosecutor- explained the non- threatening facilities that were necessary to get to the truth with children who allege abuse, etc. The pamphlet they distributed claims a savings of about $1000 per case and shows significantly higher charges filed, guilty pleas, and convictions when child advocacy is used. Berry thanked Messmore for going to Indy with them to help plead their case to get the grant. They hope to complete the process in Aug- Sept.

3. OKI contract signed for 2009 for $16,419- the annual fee based on population. This fee is nearly- if not identical to 2008’s.

4. Commissioners signed the grant revisions required by Homeland security for Bill Black- EMA (presented by Messmore in Black’s absence) It reallocates money from 2006 terms. Ewbank noted it was not a negotiable contract.

5. Listerman- Highway Dept-brought in Maxwell’s proposal and preliminary plan for a minor subdivision at the end of Chappelow Ridge. Maxwell will build a full ROW cul de sac and dedicate it to the county – IF he gets approval for his minor subdivision on a private street attached to this.

Fox- stated he had made the original motion that the subdivision would not e built unless the connector to Barber Road occurred. He wanted to be sure there is no way he can do anything more than 8 lots. He reiterated that again later and added that he didn’t want it sold off for lots later. Fox motioned and Thompson 2nd to approve the cul de sac under the provision that it is for 8 lots or less that are subject to tech review. Approved.[NOTE: Can commissioners put conditions on a Plan Commission decision? Is Chappelow Ridge a dead end? How long is it already? If there is a variance required, does this have to go to PC and/or BZA? Or if it’s a waiver just to PC for the additional homes on a dead end?]

Listerman wants to upgrade sections of unimproved roads with money left over from paving . He planned on James Lake and Ester Ridge to Graf Road sections. Pickens said he had to get Council approval on additional projects. Fox motioned to approve and Thompson 2nd if Council can OK it with a special meeting.

Listerman also submitted the request with INDOT to get funding for the Dover to McCann section of N Dearborn Road. They will hear later if they are selected.

6. Claims and Minutes signed.

7. Messmore presented a joint resolution of all the municipalities (Except Greendale- they have their own inspector) and the county for building inspections. This is a technical way to get back to their proper relationships since the ban on commercial permits. The paperwork lists Carl Fryman as the point of contact for the state inspectors. The state wants the codes interpreted the way the state expects them to be done.

Messmore also asked for permission to put an UNOFFICIAL summary of the commissioner meetings on the county website, so that people can get information on what is going on. He thinks Fehrman will also want to do it for Council. Fox also wanted to have the radio station informed of this. [NOTE: Getting official minutes on that site would be helpful also.]

8. Ewbank- presented the conclusion of the mediation over the stoplight at Stateline and Stephens. Bottom line is that the light can stay at the COUNTY’S expense of $65,000 and that this will be recorded as a debt against the Villages of Sugar Ridge ( Mike Macke). Commissioners signed to settle for the $65,000.

The Public Access claim was dropped by Mary Malesky (sp?) as they did respond in a timely fashion, per Ewbank. No details of this were given.

Meeting adjourned at 7:30 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

30 June 2008 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

30 June 2008 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

Present: Mike Hall, Chairman, Kraus, Jr., Beiersdorfer, Lansing, Thompson, Lehman, Laws, and Nelson.

Absent: County Extension Agent- position to be filled soon.

Also present: McCormack, Plan Director, Rademacher, Enforcement Officer, McGill, Attorney, and Listerman, Transportation Director.

From Executive Session:
Plan Commission voted to proceed with settling the bond situation on 5 subdivisions. Three sections of Seldom Seen are included.

Phasing of Major Subdivisions text revision was forwarded with a unanimous Favorable recommendation to the commissioners.

Dead End Streets, and Cul de sacs text revisions were forwarded to the commissioners with a Favorable recommendation with one Nay from Laws who still has issues with 1200 ft for the length of a dead end street.

The language on waivers vs. variances was not advertised and will be discussed at the next meeting instead. They are clarifying language to show that waivers are granted by the PC for subdivisions. Variances are granted by the BZA. McCormack noted that state law is being considered for revisions to clarify this point better also.


1. The fee schedule was approved with revisions and also language to make certified letter fees be dependent upon postal rates.

2. The Ag extension position will be filled by Aug- Sept. to replace Nick Held on the Commission.

3. Fifty four applied for the assistant planner position and three are returning for second interviews. McCormack hopes to fill the position in July.

4. Manchester Ball field and West Harrison and St. Leon are receiving aid from the Planning Dept in obtaining grants.

5. The OKI Fiscal impact analysis is proceeding with requests for county budget and sewer budgets. They will test the beta model in August.

6. County depts. are working on a concept design for frontage roads along US 50 to see if the collaborative is interested.

7. Maxwell sent a letter acknowledging that Whitewater Pointe won’t be developed as planned.
They are seeking a small extension of Chappelow Ridge to create a turnaround and then put in a private street for a total of 8-9 homes. There is NO FORMAL PLAN yet. They will be at the Commissioners meeting on Tuesday.


Plan Commission members engaged in a discussion of the Ag definition in article 27 and the table in article 25. They will be getting examples of minimum lot sizes from other counties for further review. This issue is tied to creating more zone levels in Ag and R and to the master plan map amendment. Discussion of that also involved the tabling of that amendment and the law that allows it to be there indefinitely. McCormack was instructed to check with the state to see why the 90-day rule doesn’t apply to this also- as it does to zone changes. When asked if Hughes was still surveying the public on the master plan, Thompson said no.

I asked the commission if all this conversation behind the scenes with commissioners might be appropriate to be out in public. Perhaps this needs to be on a commissioner agenda to see what their issues really are now and get this aired for review. For that to happen it needs to be a public discussion.

There was also some discussion of green systems for septic treatment that might come in the future.

Meeting adjourned at 8:50 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township