The Washington Times-Herald

April 23, 2013

Commissioners not to enter dispute

By Nate Smith
Washington Times Herald

WASHINGTON — The Daviess County Commissioners heard a drainage complaint Monday but they decided it is not theirs to hear.

The complaint, made at the commissioners meeting two weeks ago, was against a neighboring property on CR 150N. Homeowners Tom and Rebecca Flatt said their neighbor, Don Mattingly, had constructed a berm to keep  drainage from the Flatts off his property.

The county’s drainage board, which consists of the commissioners, met during the meeting. Surveyor Dennis Helms informed the commissioners the board does not have to be involved in this situation.

“I don’t feel we have the jurisdiction to rule on this according to the law,” Helms said.

The reason, he said, was because there is not a natural waterway, like a creek or stream, next to both properties.

“If there is no bed or bank, it is not a natural water course,” Helms said.

Because of that development, County Attorney Grant Swartzentruber said the drainage board could not rule in the case. The Flatts do have the courts as an avenue.

Mattingly was at the meeting and said he was told a different story by Helms.

“The way I understood it was you folks can take part of my property,” Mattingly said.

He was mistaken and although the board decided not to intervene, he continued to argue with the commissioners.

“I’m not digging any ditches for them,” Mattingly said.

Weights and Measures

The commissioners hired Jared Keith as the new weights and measures supervisor by a 2-1 vote. Wichman voted against.

Keith will be the first hired by the county to fill the role originally held by the state. The state has mandated the county create a position because the county’s population is over 30,000.

Keith was interviewed among several applicants at an executive session last week.

“I would say we had six great candidates out of 12 or 13 very good applicants,” Wichman said.

Settlement

The final formal settlement of $200,000 between the county and the Bennington Levee board and three farmers was formally accepted by the commissioners.

“It finishes up everything, we hope,” Commissioner Mike Taylor said.

This is the final settlement in a two-year battle to pay for fixing the Bennington Levee after a breach in 2011. The levee board still owes the county a substantial amount to pay for repairs.

But the commissioners tabled legal bills the levee board incurred during the suit.

Cannelburg Road project

Highway Superintendent Phil Cornelius told the commissioners the first phase of the rebuilding of CR 900E will soon be let for bid on May 1.

The first phase will widen the Odon-Cannelburg Road from CR 450N to just north of CR 550N. Last week, engineers held a public hearing on the second portion of the project, up to CR 800N on construction and planning up to CR 1200N.