Tuesday, June 15, 2010

15 June 2010 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

15 June 2010 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

Present: Ralph Thompson, President, Tom Orschell, and Jeff Hughes
Also present:, Gayle Pennington, Auditor, and Jack Gay, Attorney.


Tucker Development- Jeff Tucker- no one present- deadline to call the bond is the end of Sept and they must be notified ahead of time to extend the bond.

DCRSD Board Appointment – tabled- no applicants yet.

GIS- Margaret Minzner
- continued from last meeting- Lake Dilldear Grant Application- looks like there will be issues with a potential archeological site that will stall application. They can also pursue the Community block grant.

GIS updates- response from Sidwell came in late Mon afternoon and they are reviewing it. They are reviewing bugs with software also.


Life time Resources- Julie Schafer- 2011 Funding request- requested $10,000 for catch a Ride- approved to go to Council for this- their annual $10,000 amount.

CCI Construction Manager- Eric Wolf- here to discuss jail project, He had attended the Apr 20 charette on it. He reviewed the space issues with jail and said that they can help with construction. They have redone designs in other jails to meet budgets. Need to find a way to get what is needed for as little cost as possible. They managed Lawrenceburg school projects (3 of them). To get started they need authorization to work with the team, architects, etc. He gave them a packet with fee schedule, standard AIA agreement, etc. They will get to the correct price and then go thru the referendum process. If the referendum doesn’t pass- the contract stops. They work with a set fee- not a part of contractor mark-ups. www.constructioncontrolinc.com is their website. $28,000 is the referendum cost- flat fee to get from now to then. Other numbers are preconstruction and design phase- post construction fees. $12,000 per month preconstruction and $24,900 for construction phase. They will also work with financial people to help get financing. Ball park number was $20 million from charette which is more than we can spend per Orschell. Wolf said- now it’s a time for reality check to weed out the items that are not needed to meet an affordable amount. For example the bed count nearly doubled. Each bed costs about $65,000. Don’t make it smaller than you need- but decide how much you need to grow. They have worked with RQAW on 2 other projects. Hughes is in favor of having someone oversee this. They don’t work for percentage- they work for flat fee. Orschell thinks it’s imperative that commissioners get with Council to be sure we are all on the same page. Hughes said we started at $40million, now $20 million and even Orschell agrees that that’s too high. Cannot go over the tax cap limits unless there is a vote specifically to go over that cap. Commissioners to review.

Gary Collins and Cathy Albert- Collier Ridge Bridge- Gary was concerned about time constraints and how the people particularly at the bottom will be adversely affected by the bridge loss for that long. He spoke with Jim Barker, PE from other county projects, James Cooper, eng from Michigan, and Kent Abraham (Historial consultant). Over 100 photographs sent to get engineer opinion. Jim Barker would cost $2,500 to give estimate on that bridge. Would like the county to consider doing this to get a fast track project. This would utilize the existing configuration and go back to a grated surface- no asphalt. This would be same process as what Barker did on Bear’s (or Bell’s) Branch. The bridge has been around 100 years- no accidents there. They don’t want to change the whole aesthetics of the area.

Cathy Albert was concerned about $2,950,000 from INDOT. She is concerned about eminent domain and the realignment needed for that version. She thinks that will be an additional sum of money. The cost was figured on size and length of bridge and the road she said per Listerman, and they can be too high or too low. She reiterated her concerns from a few meetings ago on whether we can meet the costs by 2013 when construction can begin. She does not want to see her landscape and view marred by trees removed and a concrete structure rather than the woods and a beautiful red bridge that absolutely needs repair. The residents of collier ridge and all the lanes off that road want the setting to stay the way it is and also to not have a dead end road as it is now. It takes her over 100 miles a week just to get her mail now.

Gary summed up to get commissioners to accept the $2500 fee for Barker to look at this. The bridge would be only a 15 ton load limit when redone this way. It is not a registered historic bridge. He was enthusiastic in his support of Barker’s study. Commissioners will send it to Bill Ewbank and Listerman to evaluate and see if we have the money to do this and ask for their direction.

Animal Control- Marlene Underwood- passed out email thanking them for dog adopted. Plumbing problems being fixed. Increased to 56 dogs and 88 cats due to kitten and puppy season. Adopted 33 dogs and 42 cats in May. Increase in runs and dog bites due to the season. Had some calls for things that they don’t handle- such as rabbits. Petsmart is helping them with adoptions out on Colerain Ave. They did get a deer to a deer rescue- ended up being euthanized as he was blind. Uniforms will be addressed soon.

HIGHWAY DEPT- Todd Listerman was not in attendance- vacation- no report

Auditor- Gayle Pennington- claims and minutes- tabled May 17 meeting minutes due to Hughes not having reviewed them.
June 1 meeting minutes were tabled until the comments between Thompson and Negangard can be transcribed verbatim from the tape. [NOTE: this was the interchange where Negangard was grilling Thompson about the Hatch Act violations.]

Hughes wanted to be sure Witte’s work thru 5/31 didn’t include Hatch Act complaint and was not charged to county as the board had not directed him to do this. Ewbank to check on this.
Final claim from Sears on the Animal Shelter will be settled with this claim and Ewbank recommended paying it to get it done. They approved.

Bond paperwork for signatures for county auditor (Pennington) was signed.

Resolution signature for service fee collected through the tax sales process. SRI does the annual tax sale and their fees went up $5. Approved.

Attorney- Jack Gay-prepared a resolution on the proposed vacation of streets in Langley Heights. Pass a resolution and set the matter for public meeting. He would like to get it in process to get it for public hearing for next meeting with public notice. They would like to move this forward due to pending litigation. There is some question about the triangular piece that will end up being abandoned to the town there. There may be a lawsuit on this. This would be the town’s issue out there. Cut it off close to Johnny Wright’s property. It gets cleaned up nicely with this vacation. Would like to have a visual so that people can see it clearly at the public hearing. Gay will get this. Ewbank will set the public notice in the paper.
Ordinance to deal with grants as prepared by Witte and reviewed by Gay will be on the next meeting.

Gay said state law presumes documents held by the public are open to public. Wants all office holders to be operating under the same policy. Undercover officers for example are not. He wants to set a policy on this

Road block fund raising issue – Gay said they cannot give duties or assign them to another public entity like the township trustees. He thinks it may be more of a safety issue for County Highway dept. perhaps. Hughes was glad for the research. Will discuss at next meeting.

County Coordinator- Bill Ewbank presented an interlocal agreement grant request- Disaster Recovery 2 grant for water transmission main for Aberdeen Pate Water company. This is also with Ohio County. Ohio County is lead applicant for this and will handle the funds. Has to be in by July 2 for their application. There is no encumberance on our county. Approved.

There is a big issue with Centurylink on internet service- wants to talk to Comcast. Centurylink supposedly cannot offer increased bandwidth needed. Ewbank authorized to negotiated for better Internet service. Particular problems were in treasurer and auditor’s office.

LATE ARRIVAL- asked for letter of support for Region 9 Workforce Act- for River Valley Resources for funding program. Experienced provider of education and training programs in the region. Jack reviewed and advised they not sign as they do not know what the project is. Commissioners did NOT sign this.

PUBLIC COMMENT- Richard Wahler has a farm on Bonnell Road- with RR crossing there. RR took it out and now they cannot get tractors etc there. They are using 12 acres of his land now as ROW. Gay said the RR gets power than ours. Feds. 100 acres is hard to access here. Hamilton got it put back once. He has called Baron Hill and so far nothing. He could contact state reps for help. His property starts out on Collier Ridge by the RR area. They have flooding issues on some. 20763 Villa Lane- Richard Wahler. GIS can provide him with a good overhead map to pin down locations per Ewbank. Commissioners to send letter to Baron Hill to assist him.

Chris Mueller- I questioned them regarding the open door issue that Jack Gay brought up. I told them I was the person requesting the information in question and that I understood that they would have to block out names of undercover officers.
I told them that the PAC (Public Access Counselor) advised me that if my request was denied they had to do so in writing and stating the reasons for the denial.
Gay said they were not denying, that he was going over with Gayle Pennington after the meeting to review the materials to be certain they were not compromising anyone ( like the undercover cops)
I asked when I can get my requests. He said they have 7 days by law and that he’d gotten my revised request on Saturday. He assured me they were not trying to stall and that they expected to have the material well ahead of the 7 day deadline. There were issues with the clarity of the 2nd item of my original request on June 7. Now they understand what I want.
I asked Gayle Pennington if she’d gotten my emails regarding the 2008 SBOA audit on Council that said they had to get the SCU account back from the Prosecutor’s office- that by law it had to be handled by the Auditor. ( It was in prosecutor’s special checking account from October 2008 thru June 2009.)
She and Gay said I should get the information from the Prosecutor.
I told them that I wanted LEGAL financial records and those aren’t legal. By state law the disbursements and approvals in the county are handled by the treasurer, auditor, and Board of Commissioners, per the SBOA. ( State Board of Accounts) The SBOA told them to get the records back to the Auditor, so that is where they should be. I also advised them that that section may be where they are having trouble finding the federal funds. They will call me when they have the records ready.

Commissioner Jeff Hughes called me back to the podium and asked me if I had a fence around my swimming pool! I told him that that question has come up before and the (woven wire) fence surrounding the farm qualified at the time the pool was built. I told him that I had a certificate of occupancy for it from the building dept. I also told him that our insurance company was not concerned at all as we are very far from adjoining neighbors. Our biggest problem is wildlife. He asked again about the permit and I told him I had the certificate of occupancy when it was completed.

You can listen for yourself...

[NOTE: Interesting…. From the timing of this, what do YOU think he was doing? It’s happened to me (and others) before- but never at public meeting and on tape. That pool is over 20 years old. I have been attending meetings for 15 years. Today, after requesting Special Crimes Unit records, Hughes says someone asked him about my pool fence and he wanted to know.
This is why citizens are afraid to ask public questions or try to correct issues. Many people have been afraid that repercussions would fall on their family or children as a result of speaking out. This should not happen in the United States of America.]

Meeting adjourned at 10:40AM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township


Dan Brewington said...

You need to get an official copy of the meeting minutes and file an official complaint with the state and/or possibly take civil action. I do not know you, have never met you, nor do I know the condition of the fence around your pool or the appropriate zoning laws; but your fencing situation is irrelevant at the Dearborn County commissioner's meeting. This was nothing more an act of intimidation. If someone has a problem with your fence they should file a complaint. The subject should not be something that Jeff Hughes carries around in his back pocket in case he wants to scare you away from requesting public records. Jeff Hughes' actions are childish and not becoming of an elected official. How well would it go over if you got pulled over for speeding and you told the police officer that you would tell on them for not having a proper fence around a swimming pool if they gave you a ticket?

This has been my dilemma and this is why I continue to speak out about the Dearborn County government. Judge James Humphrey terminated my ability to see my children because I publicly challenged the ethics of his expert on the internet. Go to YouTube and type in "Dearborn County Police Harassment" and see what happened when I requested public records. Aaron Negangard and Mike Kreinhop used a "secret" investigation by the Special Crimes Unit to harass me. Nine months after the investigation began, Judge Humphrey recused himself claiming that there was an ongoing investigation of me. No one will tell me what the investigation is about or who filed it. The problem is, they don't have anything that they can intimidate me with. I've called Judge Humphrey a child abuser on a number of occasions. I encouraged people to contact the advisor on the Indiana Supreme Court Ethics and Professionalism Committee, which just happened to be Heidi Humphrey. I have encouraged Dearborn County officials to sue me or arrest me but they haven't. Why? Because I follow the law and they don't.

I would hope that you would take some kind of action against Jeff Hughes or at least seek a public apology. Is Jeff Hughes going to go to farms to make sure farmers are abiding by every rule if a farmer raises an issue? Is he going to go to businesses to see if everything is up to snuff? Is he going to place deputies outside of bars to harass the clientele because the owner had a problem with the county government? Probably; because he exhibited that kind of vindictive behavior in the middle of a commissioner's meeting. I find it troubling that Jeff Hughes thought your pool was of the utmost importance at the meeting. Correct me if I am wrong, wasn't Jeff Hughes a county commissioner during the period of time when everyone in the county knew there were prostitution parlors... I mean massage parlors operating in Dearborn County? How long did the county officials turn their back on that one? Probably until someone from the brothel requested public records from Jeff Hughes. BTW Jeff Hughes, my name is Dan Brewington and I am against bullies. Just ask your cowardly Judge James D. Humphrey.

Anonymous said...
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Dan Brewington said...

I think the post deals with one of the most important issues in Dearborn County. This isn't about Christine Mueller or a fence around a pool; it's about intimidation and retaliation. Jeff Hughes actions suggest that he is mad that someone requested public records dealing with a potential violation of the Hatch Act which could cost the county federal funding. Why is Jeff Hughes bothered by the records request? Is he angry that there are laws protecting the public's right to inspect public records? If Jeff Hughes resorts to playground tactics on smaller issues in the county, how can the people expect him to be an adult when more difficult decisions come around? I don't hate Jeff Hughes; maybe he was having a bad day, but his actions today are what causes people to be afraid to speak up in Dearborn County.

lucy said...

if the records support Witte's complaint, then Hughes may not have two year's with an ally as commissioner.

wondering said...

retort to Hughes:
do you ever drink and drive?

Hardtodrinkwhenhandcuffed said...

"retort to Hughes:
do you ever drink and drive?"

Hughes is still pissed-off that Thompson refused to be his "designated driver" to Commissioner meetings.

shp said...

new poker games at the randall ave building so they cant pay for it and the up date.

durrr.... said...

How many beers did Hughes have tonight? That guy is a fish.