Wednesday, July 07, 2010

6 July 2010 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

6 July 2010 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

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

[NOTE: This meeting took 3.33 hours. The room was full. Both Commissioner candidates were present for the entire meeting- Shane McHenry, Republican, and Jim Schuler, Democrat.]


Langley Heights Proposed Vacation of public street right of way. Thompson advised the audience that there were errors in the naming of the roads on the maps that were posted. Platted at times when road grades and widths were not the same as our current standards. No sewers and the lot sizes are too small for septic tanks. Semantle open to get to water tower. Gibson and Chambers kept open. Aurora owns portions of the area. No access to any property is being taken away by this vacation per Jack Gay. He also did not think this would affect development in that area.


Larry Eaton from Versailles- attorney for Mr. Kern ( sp?)- asked the commissioners to not vacate the sections near his land. He is in the process of a development plan and wants this deferred until that is complete. They may need some of this by ROW that is in existence now. Aurora may be involved in the development. They see no immediate need to vacate this. Kern needs 3 years for the economy to improve. He had Archie Crouch of Land Consultants. This could interfere with economic development. That is a legal reason for remonstrance.

Archie Crouch- Kern purchased these lots with development in mind. ROWs can be added to in order to meet county standards. Thompson asked why they couldn’t just build ROW from scratch.

Johnny Wright- has been told he could use ROW and then later couldn’t. Aurora says they were never platted from city of Aurora. Aurora says they have no trouble getting to their water tower. Documentation shows that when Langley Heights was developed they were not used- they left after 10 months and gave up- they were roads even prior to that. He still has the right to use those ROWs. York, Semantle, and Stedman were the 3 he was concerned with. He has been to court on this and he has ditched the roads there and maintained them on his land and those affecting his land. Orschell asked him for clarification on the accesses he was talking about.

Mr. Moore- would as soon leave it like it was. He would like to keep Sutton and York down to his property. He said the developer is using influence with the county for personal gain. He wants to develop before he gets a road. I think he’d want to have a road before he thought about developing. He’s in favor of keeping it as is. The ROW when vacated it is split between the adjoining property owners. Survey issues are in litigation.


Listerman – Highway director
-told commissioners exactly what the county was maintaining up there in Langley Heights.

Jack Gay- attorney- In 1951- commissioners attempted to vacate part of this and it was never completed. Wright still has access to the other end of his property. He disputed Wright being able to access thru the road that would be vacated. Moore may have some issues. Currently he does not see any PLAN for development up there. He thinks it is in the best interest of the county to clean this up and it will help further development that way.

Thompson said he had talked to Mayor Hastings. They have requested the county table this to allow them time to coordinate with this process.

Commissioners decided to table this for one month.

Tucker Development- Jeff Tucker-
Addressed issue in Old Orchard Section 2. Attended Tech review on June 21st. Engineer conferred with Mike Hall on drainage issues . As soon as Tech review approves, they will fix- hopefully by Sept 21st. He will advise commissioners if any delay. Tucker is in process of renewing his bond. Have to have this by first meeting in August. Tabled till then.

Seldom Seen – a proposal was submitted in writing to county officials in 2008 per Tucker. Tucker controls significant amount of ROW for the Stateline project and will donate to the county on that. Orschell doesn’t see how we can switch these two projects as we don’t know what any of this is worth. Orschell has the meeting notes with Bryan Messmore and Listerman and Tucker. He read them for the commissioners- nothing was decided at that 2008 meeting really.

Orschell wants 8’ + 3” gravel and base plus 1” topcoat in 1997. Releasing the roads to a maintenance bond does not obligate the county to accept the road. Listerman said the maintenance bonds were done before they even paved the road! Seldom Seen 1,2,3 and Laurel Valley are all still out. All roads in question were cored by Listerman to see what depth they really were. When base was inadequate Listerman recommended increased asphalt layers- like 1.5 “. A small stretch of Campground Road has a grade separation area. All other developers have done the improvements as requested, except these sections of Tucker’s subdivisions. Tucker wants to do something about 2/3 of the cost that Listerman proposed. Tucker said it would have been cheaper and easier if they’d done it when Larry Smith was there during gravel set up originally. He was not happy with proposal.

Tabled Seldom Seen to review more.

Ordinance of Grant Applications- Witte wrote this and Gay brought it up. Grants need to include all costs- not just salaries of that position. Benefits, vacation etc per Gay. Ewbank said it was to have commissioners and council approve all grants that hired employees. There is supposed to state that there is no guarantee of continued employment after grant runs out. Hughes would like other dept. heads to review this. Ewbank said that favorable response from some heads that have seen it. Council needs to review it.
Tabled for Council to review.

[NOTE: A copy of this ordinance will follow on the blog.]

Resolution to assign ROW – Cole Lane to Public Launch Ramp- If they (DNR) cease to use and maintain it- the ROW reverts to Dearborn County. Thompson read the resolution into the minutes and commissioners approved it.


OKI Annual Agreement- $16,666.00 approved by commissioners.

EMA- Bill Black- Grant signatures
- for subgrant agreement $31,285.00 for Homeland security training. Commissioners signed this grant for the entire district.

In addition Black sent them a copy of Mobile command vehicle response guidelines. It will be under EMA control. If another county needs this it goes through Black’s office. Insurance is provided by EACH county that applies to use it. County commissioners needed to be advised about this- they are OK with it. The EMA Directors sign off on this- NOT commissioners.

Per Black last year- district administrator salary of $32,000. It ended June 30. It can be extended 12 months. Grant is signed for $50,000. The district heads are OK with it. Tracy Lightfield is staying on. Commissioners need to sign off on this agreement for her employment. Approved. 12 counties are in this district.

Cameras around the courthouse- Black can get about $6,000 for this project. The letter will arrive shortly regarding this and it requires a quick turnaround. It’s 2007 money- have to accept and spend it by September. If it arrives in the next couple weeks they need to sign it right away. Discussion stopped as Gay and Ewbank advised that security issues should not be publicly discussed. Commissioners will call executive session and special meeting when the letter arrives.

Road Blocks for fundraisers- Hughes talked to one of the trustees. Trouble with finding a way to permit or deny it. Safety of participants, impeding roadway, and liability of county granting permission- were all issues per Thompson. Gay agreed these are the basic problem areas. You can’t assign it to the trustees. Orschell said Harrison doesn’t allow it, INDOT doesn’t allow it. Who is going to police it? They turn a blind eye of firemen collecting at times. No action taken- leave it as a dead issue per Gay. Currently it would be under control of the sheriff’s dept. They can enforce them impeding the roadway. No liability if we don’t approve it. Orschell said- we’ve had a lot of complaints about it. Commissioners voted to send letter to sheriff to recommend that the practice of road blocks to fund raise not be allowed. Ewbank to write the letter.

Lisa Taylor- Villages of Sugar Ridge- speaking on behalf of the residents. Appreciated acceptance of Augusta and Oakmont for maintenance. They went to Council to request funding. They were told that Commissioners had to request that. It was suggested that they might be able to put money aside annually until they amassed enough to pave it. The road continues to deteriorate. They are concerned that it will cost more to repair and refinish it. More divots, sewer lids were elevated. Listerman said they haven’t patched any secondary roads yet. Plan to get there by end of summer. He detailed funding issues on roads again. Gas taxes and license plate fees pay for roads. Be sure to buy your license and gas in Indiana. Taylor said they are concerned about being fiscally responsible- and that it will cost MORE if it deteriorates MORE. Thompson said he talked to Plan Commission about this and that the home owners paid into the road but there are also undeveloped lots. Perhaps the lots could be assessed another fee for their share of the road. HOA could maybe have a road fee. Only the condos and landominiums have HOAs. They rest do not want an HOA. Commissioners made no decision – and noted that no topcoat should go on until more homes were built out there. Maintenance continues. They will return in a couple months for an update.

HIGHWAY DEPT- Todd Listerman- gave a 1-hour report. (To be fair, a large part of his time was taken by Collier Ridge residents.)

Shortridge Road bridge #31- plans were on the shelf. ROW is still being sought on other side of the road. Section 401 Water Quality permit signed by commissioners for this process to continue.

At the end of June Listerman and Ewbank met with INDOT regarding replacement of bridge 55 Collier Ridge Bridge. The agreement to follow all the laws etc for the $1 million grant was to be signed by commissioners.

Bill Ewbank- reported that they’d had a conference call withJames Barker- the bridge engineer that resident brought up. Repairs would allow a TEMPORARY patch on the bridge. He agreed that the old alignment is poor. The repairs would require 6-8 tons or less. Cost would be $50,000 perhaps, but he could not commit to that cost as he hadn’t seen the bridge. Ewbank and Listerman concluded repairs would not be cost effective or safe. They regret the hardship for residents, but recommend the PERMANENT plans that the county has sought. Three independent engineers looked at the bridge and recommend the replacement set for 2013. Barth, Hrezo, and American Structurepoint all looked at it pro-bono. They recommend replacement. Hughes wants to know what it will cost for temporary patch. Listerman will see about getting another pro- bono estimate of a patch on it.

Gary Collins on Collier Ridge- said his letter from Barker said it would be for 20 tons and complete rehab. One bus costs $25K more to use Kaiser to get to them for a year. He said that Barker said $600,000 maybe as low as $300,000 to rehab. Bells Branch is good now- you can run a tank over that. Using grate instead of asphalt lightens the load on bridge. Argument about pro bono versus $2500 fee for Barker.
Bell’s Branch was $793,000 per Listerman. Collins went over again how the residents want to keep it as is.

Cathy Albert – Collier Ridge- called INDOT Steve Flores-and he told her that none of this was a done deal. He told her that the county can change their mind if they don’t want to do the project. This only affects future funding IF it is a pattern of changing their mind. She stressed that INDOT seemed to be flexible on funding and even changing projects if necessary, as in when another bridge fails that is higher priority. Gary and I have worked on this passionately for several meetings. We are requesting what the residents want. It is OUR money. Give this a chance. We have seen $2000 given out for many things. Even if you don’t want to use Barker, that’s OK- we’re not related to him. You got a totally different assessment from Barker than we did. We don’t want a temporary bridge. That would be blowing money that we don’t have. Flores also told her it would take 3-4 years to get it started.

North Dearborn took 3 times to get their funding. This one we got right away. Listerman can proceed with this and also get some probono estimates by someone without any stake in it. Thompson said that they will have to reclassify the road and go back for the 2nd part of their funding. ALL engineers are looking for work in this economy, he said.

Commissioners directed Listerman to get a couple more PRO BONO engineer estimates and proceed with signing the coordination contract tonight for DES #10052 for Collier Ridge Bridge. Council will address the matching funding for this at their August budget hearings.

Met with ODOT rep on the Artemis system for cameras etc on I-275. They are also looking at message info signs on US 50 also- regarding closures on I-275. There are not enough funds to put one on SR 1 as well. Some talk to redo SR 1 between Nowlin and US 50 someday.

North Dearborn and North Hogan allowed to do chip seal and fog seal . Some residents here to ask them about it- tar coming off on their cars. They will discuss with Listerman after the meeting.

AUDITOR- Gayle Pennington. Minutes approved June 1.
June 15th tabled until Public comment section was typed verbatim at Hughes request. [NOTE: This is the section where I (Chris Mueller) asked about public records I’d requested on SCU and Hughes followed up with questions to me about my swimming pool fencing. I requested and obtained the video record of that meeting from Lawrenceburg Clerk Treasurer. They video tape the morning commissioner meetings in their chambers.]

Claims approved except for Witte’s claim for $4683.20 pending Orshell’s research on how much of that was related to the Hatch Act, as the commissioners had not authorized that work. Hughes did not want to pay for any Hatch Act research by Witte.

ATTORNEY- Jack Gay- gave his fee and services agreement to commissioners using the same agreement they had with Witte. Commissioners signed.

COUNTY COORDINATOR- Bill Ewbank- surplus auction will be on Sept 18th at Water Rescue Bldg. Other agencies have till Aug 1 to get things there.

Ewbank introduced Tracy Agner and Beth Blair – Juvenile services asked to replace a part time person to replace a retiree’s vacancy. Kraus Sr. said it was OK if Commissioners will be OK. Commissioners approved.

Orschell-Tom Cottingham- trustee in West Harrison wanted a longer lease on AMVETS bldg. Gay to research. Still nothing on DCRSD replacement? Nothing done to fill spot yet- no applicants.


Gerald Reilly sp?- Collier Ridge resident at bottom of the hill. If the bridge closes- in the winter no way to get emergency vehicles in. Would appreciate anything you can do.

Howard Luke -West Laughery Creek Road- my son in law Ken Griffin has requested a meeting with commissioners. Apparently he had asked Hughes and he told Ewbank. There is a time limit on the time for an appeal on his termination in March. There is a Worker’s Comp issue also. This all transpired at least 2 months after termination. Who paid damage to water hydrant on county property. It was covered up with snow.
Ewbank said he was reluctant to discuss personnel issues without an executive session. Gay said – the employee is the only one that they should discuss that with. The workers comp claim does not prevent an executive session from being held. Griffin can request an executive session on his termination, per commissioners.

Chris Mueller- asked about the DRAFT Public records Ordinance that Attorney Jack Gay had drawn up for commissioners that was headlined in the local paper last week. Commissioners took it off the agenda last week after questions arose. They said THEY had not seen it before the paper had a copy. I was assured after asking twice, that the ordinance would not be back on the agenda unless the paper was notified in advance so that the PUBLIC would know it was being considered.
In answer to the question regarding the records I have been requesting, I told them that there had been problems getting the Special Crimes Unit checking account records (Oct 2008-June2009) from the auditor as they do not have them, and the prosecutor who also did not have them last Thursday when he said I could pick them and other records up. Negangard emailed me Tues afternoon ( July6) saying they had been requested from UCB and would be available any time Wednesday for pick up. I added that hopefully that would complete it. [NOTE: Hopefully- because this is the 4th time I will be going down to pick up that set of records since June 7 when I made my initial requests.]

Meeting adjourned at 10:20 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

1 comment:

Dan Brewington said...

I had the opportunity to speak with Dearborn County Commissioners Jeff Hughes and Ralph Thompson following the July 6th commissioner meeting. I have/had been under a secret investigation by the Dearborn County Special Crimes Unit since, at least, October 8, 2009. Prosecutor Aaron Negangard would not allow Special Crimes Unit Detective Mike Kreinhop to tell me who filed the complaint. Detective Kreinhop would only tell me that I was being investigated because of my internet writings that criticized the family court system in Southeastern Indiana. After learning of the county commissioners’ recent attempts to restrict access to public records, I composed a public records request for information pertaining to Prosecutor Aaron Negangard’s “secret” investigation of me and went to the July 6th commissioners meeting to present it to the commissioners in person.

During the commissioners meeting, I was dumbfounded to find out that none of the commissioners seemed to have any knowledge of the proposed changes to the county’s policies regarding access to public records. It appears that county attorney Jack Gay drafted policy changes without the knowledge of the commissioners. Following the meeting, I had the ability to give a copy of my public record request to Ralph Thompson and Jeff Hughes. Both men were very gracious. Jeff Hughes recognized my name and apologized for not having the time to respond to a previous email that I sent him but he said he read my story, regarding the way Judge Humphrey abused my children, and he said that I would be hard pressed to find anyone who wouldn’t be very sympathetic to my cause. Mr. Hughes also seemed very disturbed that Prosecutor Aaron Negangard was willing to waste the county’s time and financial resources on a 10 month investigation of my internet writings that criticized Judge Humphrey. Though I did not have the opportunity to speak to Mr. Thompson for any length of time, Mr. Thompson also expressed his sympathies about the situation and forwarded a copy of my request for public records to county attorney Jack Gay. Both men, especially Mr. Hughes, seemed to be troubled that Aaron Negangard was willing to waste county resources to harass me about my writings regarding Judge Humphrey, while knowing the financial crisis that Dearborn County is currently facing.

I hope that I will be able to find out why I have been the subject of a secret investigation by Prosecutor Negangard. I am entitled to the records if the investigation is not pending. If the investigation is pending, I feel confident that the county commissioners will be questioning how Prosecutor Negangard can rationalize wasting valuable county resources on a ten month investigation of my internet writings. Mr. Hughes acknowledged that if my writings did not contain any threats of physical harm, it should be a civil matter; not a criminal one. Either way, it shouldn’t take ten months for Prosecutor Negangard to decide if the writings violated any criminal statutes. I hope that I will receive the records soon. In the meantime, I would like to thank commissioners Thompson and Hughes for sharing their time; especially Jeff Hughes for voicing his concerns about the unethical actions of Judge James D. Humphrey and Prosecutor Aaron Negangard.

-Dan Brewington