tells commissioners no federal money available until 2014
Cindy DiFazio, Staff Writer
The Ripley County Commissioners met in regular session on Monday,
March 26. Commissioners Robert Reiners and Chuck Folz plus County
Attorney Neil Comer and County Auditor, Mary Ann McCoy were present.
Lawrence Nickell was on vacation.
Kathy Eaton, program budget manager with the Indiana Department
of Transportation, told commissioners that INDOT has a mandate to
review local projects.
One project under review was bridge #89, a bridge that crosses Ripley
Creek on Old Milan Road. Owen Junior Heaton, of the
Ripley County Highway Department, informed Eaton that the project
for bridge #89 had been scrapped.
Another project in question was bridge #38 on Old Michigan Road
by the fairgrounds. Eaton noted that the consultant had submitted
hydraulics for the project, but INDOT will not review any project
that is not linked to federal funding. You will have to pay
100% of costs incurred, Eaton told the commissioners. Commissioner
Reiners asked, Are you telling me were wasting our money
if we go on with this project? Eaton replied, Through
2014 there is no federal money available. She went on to say
that counties must follow guidelines for selecting the consultants
they use. If you dont follow the guidelines, they may
not approve you for funding down the road, Eaton explained.
She also said that INDOT is getting current construction costs for
local projects and adding dollars to take inflation into consideration.
Then we would have appropriate costs estimates when it comes
time to apply for federal monies, Eaton told commissioners.
She noted that this crackdown on how projects get started is not
just happening in Indiana. All states have been mandated to strictly
follow federal guidelines. At INDOT we want to be very active
with these projects, Eaton added.
The Safe Routes to School sidewalk project in Osgood
will proceed as will a Sunman city project on Eastern Avenue.
She asked that the commissioners send INDOT a letter regarding the
status of the two bridges that were discussed, and ended, Were
here to help you manage these local projects. Feel free to call
on us anytime. Commissioner Reiners asked that Eaton come
to the next meeting and she accepted his invitation.
Commissioner Reiners took a moment to eulogize Daren Baker who recently
passed away. We lost one of our true leaders, Reiners
began. He went on to list some of Bakers involvement in the
community including participation on the Ripley County Council,
saying, He was into everything, helping everyone. Reiners
ended by saying, We are sorely going to miss the guy. He was
one of the most pleasant people youd ever want to know.
Lester Wilson of New Marion approached commissioners with a request
to close a grass road next to his property that he says is not used
and he mows. Wilson noted that he is concerned because buildings
have gone up along alleyways. I dont want to have that
kind of problem, he explained. Attorney Comer asked if the
road is on platted land. Wilson responded that the road which is
on West Street isnt even in the center of the right-of-way.
Comer told him that the commissioners have the authority to close
the road, but there is a process that must be adhered to. He said
that a petition must be filed and all contiguous property owners
must be informed. There has to be a public hearing so anyone with
objections could come forward. There is a process you have
to go through to close a road. You have to give the public a chance
to have its say. Wilson stated, The bottom line is it
will cost me more to close it than to leave it alone.
Commissioner Reiners questioned Wilson, Do you have a fear
that somebody is going to want to use it? Wilson responded,
Maybe in the future. Comer told him, We have to
go by the law. Wilson rejoined, I didnt anticipate
all this problem with a road that hasnt been used in 100 years.
Andy Bryant, the Environmental Health Specialist for the Ripley
County Health Department and Tad Brinson of the planning commission
approached the commissioners to update them on problems with the
septic system at the Horse and Buggy Auction House on SR 129, Cross
Previously, the owner, Troy Mathis, was told to stop having auctions
at that location unless portable toilets were brought in. Brinson
reported, They never stopped, with Bryant adding, Theyve
done nothing and the septic system is in total failure. Bryant
informed the commissioners that he has made an inspection and found
cigarette butts, toilet paper and human feces in the pond behind
the building. Bryant noted that any sign of waste constitutes failure
of the septic system, and that there is a straight pipe carrying
waste from the building to the pond. Its coming from
directly inside, Bryant stated. He continued, The first
thing we have to do is stop it. Its running into a pond, contaminating
Bryant said that he had discussed the septic system with Mathis
on January 8, 2007. He said that to his knowledge, Mathis has never
made contact with the state health department and never installed
It was discussed that if Mathis ignores official paperwork, an injunction
will be sought to force them to stop using the building. Attorney
Comer stated that if it is an emergency, if it poses a danger or
could cause irreparable harm, a restraining order can be obtained.