[Nameplate] Mostly Cloudy ~ 61°F  
High: 63°F ~ Low: 41°F
Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Commissioners open to Edgelea repaving project

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Trying to stop for the stopsign at Hilltop Lane and Hilltop Court in the Edgelea Subdivision north of Greencastle means navigating crumbling asphalt all along the roadway. The area shown is looking south at the intersection. [Order this photo]
Ongoing deterioration of the roads in their neighborhood has moved the residents of Edgelea Subdivision to action. The property owners are not only seeking better road conditions, but an overwhelming majority of them seem willing to foot most of the bill for the repairs.

Speaking on behalf of a committee of Edgelea homeowners, Rick Bittles proposed a public-private partnership, by which residents would pay for 75 percent of the project to repave Edgelea's roads, which are the property of Putnam County.

The county would be asked to pay the remaining 25 percent of the $1.45 million plan.

The project would not only repave the roads, but also address the serious storm water drainage issues the area has.

"It would be nice if the county had the money to do it, but we know that can't be done," Bittles said.

He said a committee of 12 residents went door to door in Edgelea, surveying residents of their willingness to pay an extra assessment on their property taxes to pay for the roads. Of the 110 people polled, only six objected to the plan.

"I think the residents have stepped up and seem to be in agreement that they're willing to pay a large portion of the cost," Bittles said.

The repayment of Edgelea's portion of the bond would be achieved by the county's establishment of a tax increment district under the Barrett Assessment Law. An additional $592 per year would be collected from the 140 residences over a 20-year period.

Bittles said the tipping point was to keep the additional assessment under $300 per biannual property tax collection. The plan would make the additional amount $296 per tax bill.

The county's portion of the bond would also be repaid over two decades, with $150,000 in up front capital and $20,000 per year for 20 years.

With 2.815 miles of road in the subdivision, the $1.45 million price tag is much higher per mile than most county roads would cost. However, Edgelea is dealing with Wabash Valley Asphalt on getting hot mix asphalt, which comes at a higher price than the cold mix (or pug) the county normally uses for roads.

Additionally, most county roads are 20 feet wide, while the roads in Edgelea are nearly 30 feet wide.

Several other residents in attendance expressed their support for the project, and commissioners Nancy Fogle and Gene Beck seemed impressed with what they heard.

"If you get that many people to agree with it, I don't see how we can be against it," Fogle said.

"I'm not against it if we can find the money to do it," Beck added.

Commissioners also noted the difference with this proposal and others they have heard, in that nearly all residents polled have expressed their support for the project, in spite of the tax increase.

By contrast, Beck said when the Heritage Lake Property Owners Association wanted to use the Barrett Law to finance a road project, approximately 1,000 residents were against it, with only around 300 supporting the project.

No action was taken Tuesday, but attorney Scott Hoff recommended the commissioners hire bond counsel if they are seriously considering the issue. He said the move would have to be made within the next 30-45 days if work is to be done on the project next summer.

The issue will be on the agenda again at the Sept. 19 Putnam County Commissioners meeting.

Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on bannergraphic.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

How about doing something on Gillespie Street?

That road was already pretty rough, now it's almost impassable in the north bound lane. I thought the people that did the work are supposed to put the road back in at least passable condition until it can be re-paved. The work has been finished for several weeks and the road is still in bad shape.

-- Posted by OldWhiteRepublican on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 5:35 AM

Gillespie Street is in the City - the county commissioners are not responsible for this one!

-- Posted by gunner on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 8:33 AM

What makes those roads any better than the county roads. I guess I am at a loss, if it is cheaper to use cold mix why not use it to cut costs. I mean the county roads handle more traffic than the roads in Edgelea.

-- Posted by Oh My Goodness on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 9:40 AM

Edgelea most certainly needs to be done. I don't live there but drive up there everyday, it is horrible. They are completely torn up, and this winter did not help at all.

-- Posted by onecaringmom on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 10:21 AM

What makes the roads in Edgelea different is that there are enough people clustered in one area to pay for the fix. Unfortunately, for most people in the county this isn't an option because we do not cluster together with enough residents to readily share the cost. Good for the folks in Edgelea, bad for the folks in many other parts of the county. Many voters up there as well.

-- Posted by David Worthington on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 12:53 PM

Seriously? Let us please pave another street. Perfect! Now lets tell the newly homeless people where they will have a smooth place to sleep. Way to waste money.

-- Posted by BlackBarbie22 on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 1:33 PM

black barbie... if the residents are paying most of the cost, isn't that a good thing?

-- Posted by conffool on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 1:53 PM

A few comments:

The roads in the Edgelea subdivision were accepted by the county when they were put in by the developer. I understand that many of them, including Edgelea Drive, were done cheaply but still accepted by the county government at the time. It really is the county's responsibility to maintain it's roads. With nearly 150 homes using these roads daily over a 40 year period the roads have just become seriously degraded to the point of (almost) mud paths in some areas. Additionally, lack of proper storm drainage in this hilly area causes the minimal maintenance patches to wash away annually. Something had to be done. Kudos to the residents for understanding the realities and accepting the only solution.

The real problem with county road funding is the state statutes that distribute wheel tax grants based on CARS registered in a county. Pickups and SUV's registered as trucks are not included. The state metro areas refuse to allow a change that includes these vehicles. Our county commissioners are being short-changed with this funding model.

Property values in Edgelea subdivision have suffered in recent years in large part due to the poorly maintained roads. If property values drop in Edgelea, then taxes will go up for all others in the county to compensate. By agreeing to pay $300 per half year per home, Edgelea residents are keeping everyone's taxes lower.

Lastly, The county is already paying nearly $25K per year just to maintain the bad roads. Putting in that same amount for properly constructed roads that will need minimal maintenance over the next 20-25 years seems to be about a cost-neutral deal for the county.

-- Posted by Citizen Crane on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 2:08 PM

Oh, yes. Blackbarbie. I challenge you to give the local homeless shelter $600 per year over the next 20 years. I hope your road / street is free of mud holes, ruts, pot holes, etc.

-- Posted by Citizen Crane on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 2:11 PM

The article refers to storm sewers. It would be nice to have more information about this improvement.

Citizens of the county have a legitimate complaint. County budgets are not designed to maintain subdivisions. Clearly, Edgelea and Heritage Lake were built at a time when local officials had no idea of what they were signing up for. More recently, a subdivision would be required to be annexed by the city, form their own municipality or not be built.

You never see the 400 homeowners of Stardust Hills at a commissioners meeting because it's a part of the Town of Cloverdale, who does a wonderful job of maintaining the roads along with the excellent municipal water and sewer. Unfortunately, neither of the above subdivisions can offer their residents these amenities.

-- Posted by sassylass on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 7:12 PM

As a resident of Greencastle I know the roads and drainage system in the Adgelea subdivision are in very bad condition. But correct me if I am wrong, was not their talk of installing a complete sewer system in the Adgelea subdivision. So are the people also willing to pay for the sewer system? I am no engineer, however installing a sewer system before repairing the streets seems like a good idea to me. But then I'm not willing to pay extra taxes to the county for doing a job they should be doing with the taxes we currently pay. I'm know the excuse I've heard all too many times, we do not get enough money from the state to maintain and certainly not enough money to replace a great many roads in Putnam county. Can we not look elsewhere in our county budget for the funds to make the road repairs and or replacements without increasing the tax rates on our citizens? Please do not come back and ask me where to look. I have no idea how much money the county has stashed away for who knows what purpose.

-- Posted by Blindside on Wed, Sep 7, 2011, at 8:17 PM

maybe if the money the road crew has is used to fix roads and not buy new equipment then we would have less complaints and better roads.

-- Posted by busymom48 on Thu, Sep 8, 2011, at 7:18 AM

Lived in the addition for over 25 years and nothing has been done to the streets. As for road installed on the cheap, that is totally wrong. The street is 50% wider than was required at the time and the fact it has held up for some 40 years is a credit to original builders. side note: zoning required sidewalks for every lot in Deer Meadows, why hasn't the city made are owners comply, with the school and Peoples Pathway wouldn't the walks be safer?

-- Posted by NeverChanges on Thu, Sep 8, 2011, at 9:06 AM

@Blindside: Agreed. If they were to add sanitary sewers, it would make sense to do it before the road repair. However, I believe it is the exorbitant cost of bringing sewer line north of the railroad tracks which prevented Edgelea from tapping into the Greencastle sewers in the first place. Apparently, they are still unable to budget for it.

-- Posted by sassylass on Thu, Sep 8, 2011, at 1:18 PM


Exactly right. Discussions with the city a few years ago centered on annexation by Greencastle. That would have required the city to provide sewer service to Edgelea. The city would have accepted the annexation, but wanted the residents to pay for all sanitary sewer installation, storm drainage, and new streets. That came out to about $85 per month for each household, far more than the $50 in this proposal. Residents were also required to pay for the conversion from septic to sewer, rerouting their septic field, filling their septic tanks with sand, and a $1,500 attachment fee. Not a great deal for the vast majority of homeowners whose septic systems work well and are maintained regularly.

Sewer service is a separate issue. If sewer service could be included in the $50 per month cap that the residents have agreed to, it might have sparked further discussion. Fact is, it can't.

-- Posted by Citizen Crane on Thu, Sep 8, 2011, at 1:33 PM

Wow, so many different opinions and facts, maybe we should all get together and start our own newspaper. At least we stand a chance of putting most of the facts on the table and sort through the different solutions. I'll stick my two cents in just to see where this goes.

I agree that the wheel tax issue is part of the problem and the solution to this involves the County Council & Commissioners. They need to campaign and lobby with the Indiana State legislature, governor, etc. to apply equal tax distribution to all counties in this state where the vehicles are registered. If there is a problem with correcting this arrangement, they need to tell the citizens of this and other counties where the problem lies. As voters, we have the ability to fix this problem. We just need the information and the assistance of the B-G to report this story.

To address the county budget problem with not being structured to handle sub-division problems - that's all BS. They are the ones that define sub-divisions. The rules are defined by the state and the counties and the developer must comply for the roads, AC power, curbs, water, sewage, etc. to be accepted into the county system. They write the codes and requirements. Now someone please explain how 150 homes (300+ people) located on 2.8 miles of roadway is more expensive or more difficult to maitain? If you take an equal number of homes/people and spread them out over 10-20 miles of roadway it will certainly cost a lot more. It does not matter how wide the roads are. The residents & developer wanted the extra wide roads and the county commissioners accepted them that way - end of discussion.

It's very difficult to compare Edgelea to Heritage Lake because they each started as a sub-division, but Heritage Lake is the size of a town, has a Homeowners Association, and needs to decide how they want to maintain their little area of paradise. Edgelea has none of these amenities and compares more closly to Greenbriar or Barrington Hills. These are part of the standard county control and we have all paid taxes for many years with very little return in the way of services. Where did the money go for all of those years when they need some paving now? The County Commissioners, for 20+ years, have promised to pave the road if sewers were ever installed. Now onto the sewage problem.

Edgelea Sewers is more difficult to understand because of some of the dynamics involved. The story can go in many different directions and includes everything from politics, outright lies and fabrications, to include incomplete proposals for the installation of sewer lines and their associated costs. The only thing missing from this story is sex! The $85 per month ($20,000+) number is what the city erroniously estimated the costs to be which would include storm drainage (undefined) and DID NOT include curbing, driveway cuts, grinders, sump pumps, sewage lines to the street & connection charges, septic tank disconnection and filling/disposal fees. None of this includes the monthly water/sewage/trash bill that will occur each month. The revised numbers should have been in the $30,000+ ($125+ per month) catagory and that would include repaving the street. It would also include annexation into the city and therefore slightly higher tax rates would apply. So in the end a typical homeowner would need to pay somewhere around $175+ per month for the next 20 years.

This explanation does not even address the politics that would have come into play if the residents had supported the issue. We'll have to save that discussion for a time when we can all get together, have a beer and swap all the stories and tales about what was actually going on. I'm certain that that will include many tales, lies, and some truth to the politics that was playing behind the scenes.

The final conclusion is that Edgelea has no sewer system in the planning at this time, they have a terrible road surface with the county offering no conclusion to this problem, and a proposal to repair it themselves. My main questions is what happened to all of the money collected for 25+ years that was diverted and spent somewhere else. Why is no one held accoutable? This is why I never vote for the incumbants.

-- Posted by gunner on Thu, Sep 8, 2011, at 4:38 PM

A couple of more minor points to the article. The article states that there were 6 people opposed to the idea. From what I am told, I would have to question this number. This is an issue that is not easy to define and almost never had a simple yes/no answer - too many undefined questions. I was also told that some people were told about $600 per year and others were told $300 per year. I've talked to people that have told me both numbers. The $600 number is more accurate and reflects a bond charge of approximately 4.55% (which is slightly below the current 4.75% AA Municipal Bond offered today). What I have found most interesting is the Edgelea meetings are never published and only select members are alowed to attend.

-- Posted by gunner on Thu, Sep 8, 2011, at 4:48 PM

Please see G-boy2008 comment on the "Annex Closure" article. Exactly my points on the paving situation.

-- Posted by gunner on Thu, Sep 8, 2011, at 5:27 PM

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: