The Indiana Department of Transportation has disputed claims made by the Tipton County surveyor concerning required permits and available state funding.
INDOT issued a stop-work order in May on the George Woods drain after the permits coordinator for the Tipton Subdistrict observed work being done in state right-of-way along Ind. 213, north of Windfall.
Surveyor Jason Henderson said he submitted a permit application for the work on June 14.
Henderson said the only other project he did in state right-of-way was along Ind. 28 and was told he didn’t need a permit.
Harry Maginity, communications director for INDOT’s Greenfield District, said a verbal stop-work order was issued because no permit was issued.
Maginity said a permit application was submitted by Henderson, but he didn’t furnish information defining the scope of the project, no construction plans, no traffic maintenance plans, and nothing to satisfy the state’s concerns regarding liability issues.
“Without understanding what was being done and how safety concerns would be satisfied, a permit could not be issued,” he said.
Maginity said the permit application was submitted after the work had already begun and after the stop work-order was given.
Henderson said Friday he has received no correspondence from INDOT about deficiencies in the permit application.
Commissioner Jane Harper, president of the Drainage Board, indicated Friday the state did outline what information was missing from the permit application at the July 6 meeting of the board.
In an e-mail sent to the Kokomo Tribune, Henderson maintained that Walter Evans, maintenance field engineer for INDOT, agreed to pay Tipton County $12,000 over four years as an assessment to pay for the work along the state right-of-way.
Henderson claims Evans stated the assessment and pay-back schedule was amicable at a July 6 Drainage Board meeting.
Maginity said Evans in June indicated state reconstruction funds might be possible but needed to determine if funds were available.
Evans later learned funds were not in the budget for reconstruction and informed Henderson of that, according to INDOT.
Henderson said Friday it was Evans who suggested a special assessment to pay for the necessary work over several years.
“There were no conversations about funding for reconstruction at the George Woods drain until after the work had begun, and the stop-work order given,” Maginity said.
Harper’s recollection of Evans’ comments on July 6 are the state didn’t want to pay the special assessment and was likely to file a remonstrance to block its implementation.
Maginity said it’s INDOT’s intention to work with Tipton County but necessary information has to be provided.
“Proper meetings must be held,” he said. “Costs and methodology discussed, and funding resources confirmed.
“Securing permits has to happen early in the process,” Maginity continued. “When you are responsible for handling public funds, there are procedures you have to follow.”
• Ken de la Bastide is enterprise editor for the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 765-454-8580.