The Washington Times-Herald

April 9, 2013

Commissioners agree to hear drainage case

Blake Chambers
Washington Times Herald


After listening to one side of a drainage dispute at their regular meeting yesterday morning, the Daviess County Commissioners agreed to schedule the matter for a hearing at their next meeting on April 22. Washington Township resident Rebecca Flatt appeared at Monday's meeting and told the commissioners that she and her husband Tom had, "a complaint with one of our neighbors." Citing a section of the Indiana Code, Flatt told the board that her neighbor, Louis Mattingly,  "has built a man made obstruction to a natural waterway which affects our property." Flatt, whose property is located on Old Vincennes Road, went on to tell the board that she and her husband have talked to Mr. Mattingly "a couple of times" about the condition and asked that the county surveyor "come out and decide what is actually fair and just for both parties."  In previous discussions between the two parties, Flatt said Mattingly told her that the condition on the property has existed for 50 years.  She and her husband meanwhile have lived on their property for five years. According to Flatt, she and her husband have attempted to reach an agreement with Mattingly but have so far been unsuccessful. Flatt concluded, "we think he has built a mini-levee against our property which keeps all the water off of his property and it backs up onto ours."  After viewing photographs of the disputed area, Tony Wichman, President of the board of commissioners, told the other members that Flatt had previously approached him about the problem and that he had talked about it with County Surveyor Dennis Helms.  Wichman went on to say that the matter would be discussed in greater detail at a meeting of the county drainage board on April 22 at 9 a.m. The drainage board is made up of the three County Commissioners. Adjoining landowners will receive notice of the meeting. In other business, the commissioners paved the way for Odon's Capehart Manor to receive a substantial renovation funded by Public Finance Authority housing revenue bonds.   At a public hearing preceding the meeting of the county commissioners to receive input about the project,  Attorney Philip Genetos, partner in the Indianapolis bond firm Ice Miller, told the board that the project is being initiated by GMF Housing, a non-profit group located in Memphis Tennessee that specializes in affordable housing. The bond proceeds will be used to renovate Capehart Manor in Odon and turn it in to a 31-unit multi-residential housing project. The bonds will be issued at no cost to the county or county taxpayers and will not count toward the county's borrowing limit.  Genetos explained, "The bond issue imposes no liability on the county.  All the county is doing is approving the financing by the Public Finance Authority,"   a process  that is is necessary Genetos said in order for the bonds to be classified as tax exempt by the IRS.  Genetos noted no one appeared to oppose the issuance and tendered a resolution for the commissioner's approval. Genetos said the bonds will be sold sometime in May and will be repaid out of rental income. The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the resolution. Under highway business, Superintendent Phil Cornelius tendered to the commissioners a written, inter-local agreement between the county and the town of Montgomery that formalizes an oral understanding that has been in place for many years.  Cornelius feels the agreement was needed "to clean things up and make sure it is reviewed every couple of years."  The agreement provides that the town of Montgomery will pay the county $1,200.00 each year to assist with maintenance on north First Street, which ties in with county road 650E. The $1,200 sum represents "the amount that the town collects for fuel tax from the state," Cornelius said.  Cornelius went on to say that the road couldn¹t be maintained for $1,200 per year and suggested that the commissioners "investigate the possibility of the solid waste district contributing to that maintenance cost from U.S. 50 to the landfill."   The extent of the waste districts' contribution will be decided at a later time and Cornelius hopes it too will be formally incorporated into a second inter-local agreement between the county and the district.

Cornelius asked the commissioners to approve a quote from Wright and Stemle for the purchase of a new mower tractor.   The unit being replaced had been in service for 7 years Cornelius said, and is used to mow roadsides and ditches.  The  $30,290 quote was the lowest of three.  Other companies submitting quotes were Gless Brothers in Odon and McAllister machinery in Washington. County attorney Grant Swartzentruber reported briefly on the executive session that preceded Monday's meeting during which the appointment of a weights and measures inspector was discussed.    The board's decision will be announced at a later time.