With the cooperation of the City of Greencastle and the use of a robotic video camera, county highway Supt. David Sutherlin learned that a large drainage pipe intended to carry away groundwater has several problems.
"Our goal was to see if we could find any drainage tile in Edgelea that might be useful to us," commissioner Jim Baird told about 20 Edgelea residents as a video of the pipe was presented. "That is worth about $200 a linear foot" based on the projected costs of a drainage project.
"What we hope to gain by sharing this with you, is we're looking for ways to reduce the cost," Baird continued. "We're in the investigative phase right now."
Sutherlin narrated as the video moved through a pipe along Wildwood Drive near Hilltop Lane. Along with some usual debris in the line, the video also showed several places where smaller drain pipe attached into the 30-inch pipe. But about 160 feet up the line, the video camera was stopped by a piece of plywood covering the end of the drain, where a 12-inch pipe poked through.
It is unknown what lies beyond that board, Sutherlin said, but the 12-inch pipe is not large enough to handle drainage in that area.
There is a spot where the road is starting to cave in that will be fixed in a week or two by the county, Sutherlin said, and at that time, he will look for additional drainage pipe.
But he did warn residents that the area is riddled with natural gas lines, phone and water lines, so any in-ground investigation will have to be coordinated with other utilities.
Baird assured the residents that even though the county has several projects ongoing, the Edgelea concerns will continue to receive county attention.
"We're not slacking at all," he said, but the drainage issues should be examined first.
Resident Gary Barcus thanked the county for "doing what you can."
Barcus said he feels something must be done to solve the drainage issues, and it will likely take a collaboration between the city, county and local residents.
The commissioners agreed that the assistance of the city on the recent look into the pipe is the sort of cooperation needed to keep the project costs down.
"Using the city's camera saved us a bunch of money," Commissioner Gene Beck noted.
Sutherlin said he had estimates of $1,500 to $2,000 from firms to do the same work that the city did for free.
Meanwhile during Monday's meeting, the commissioners heard from a frustrated taxpayer who asked if the county had any control over school spending.
William Sinclair said he may have to get another job in order to pay his property tax bill.
Commissioner Beck agreed that 87 percent of the property taxes go to county school systems.
"Can you put any pressure on the school boards to get them to quit spending money," Sinclair asked.
Commissioner Kristina Warren suggested that taxpayers keep close tabs on the projects that school boards are approving. Taxpayers can remonstrate against new building projects, which add to local taxes.
Warren, who is a resident of the South Putnam school district, said she recently contacted the state when she saw how much her own property taxes went up because of the school district.
She said she was told that South Putnam had been incorrectly submitting paperwork, and had overspent for several years, so now some of that money must be repaid to the state.