‘Still a lot of work to do’ on dilapidated properties


Progress has been made on a property that the county has deemed to be unsafe.

A lot of the debris on the properties owned by Michael Schepers, 4119 and 4161 W. County Road 400N, has been cleaned up and the properties have been mowed, Shawn Werner, environmental health specialist for the Dubois County Health Department, reported to the Dubois County Commissioners Monday. The building on the 4161 property is still standing.

“So that is still an issue,” Werner said. “They have made progress, but there is still a lot of work to do.”

The county issued an order that the properties be cleaned up after the health department and the Dubois County Solid Waste Management District received numerous complaints and did investigations on the properties. The 4119 W. 400N property, where Michael Schepers lives, had trash and debris visible on the property. The 4161 W. 400N property was the site of a meth lab, which was seized by police in an August 2012 meth bust and has been vacant for years.

Dwayne Schepers, Michael’s brother, said family, friends and his church are helping them clean up the property. The plan is to demolish the building on the 4161 site and sell the property.

“We only have so much money,” Dwayne Schepers said. “We are finding some good people to help. So we’re getting there.”

Werner gave Dwayne Schepers information and a form that needs to be completed for demolishing the building. He said that the septic system would also need to be removed as part of the process.

After seeing photos of the progress, the commissioners gave the Schepers more time to complete the work. They took into account that there was visible progress and that the inclement weather could have hindered completion of the work. Werner and Dwayne Schepers are to report back to the commissioners at their July 1 meeting.

The commissioners asked about the progress on clearing the property at 571 E. 300N, Jasper. Werner reported that progress has been slow.

Stan Kunkel now owns the property and has given former owner Julie Greener until June 15 to take the items she wants to keep. He has also already placed a dumpster on the property for items that will be discarded, Werner said.

Once the June 15 deadline passes, Kunkel has plans to clear the property himself, so that he can build on it, Werner said.

The commissioners also:

• Agreed to increase the cost of trash stickers to $1.50 each, to help cover costs for operating the county’s recycling and trash collection sites.

• Said they will consider County Prosecutor Anthony Quinn’s request for an additional administrative position for his office. They will also consider the Dubois County Museum’s request for two years of funding to hire a director.

• Decided to add $85,000 to the Dubois County Solid Waste Management District’s proposed 2020 budget to purchase a box truck that would replace a 2007 model that has been having mechanical problems for years.

• Agreed to have a 4-H Fair banner on the Dubois County Courthouse’s lawn July 10-20. The banner will promote the fair, which runs July 15-20.

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