This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Some interesting things from the paper

The week between Christmas and New Years is usually a bit slow, and this year was no exception. However, I did notice several things that were interesting in the Rensselaer Republican.

The first was that the downtown area is a step closer to being designated a historical area. I guess that is a good thing, though our commercial buildings are not exceptional compared to what is in downtowns of other cities our size. We do, however, have an exceptional court house.

The second was a discussion at the city council meeting of the fate of Pump House number 1 in Iroquois Park. The building no longer seems to be used and renovation of the water treatment plant that is behind it for some reason requires that it go. The plan seems to be to move it across College Avenue to where the old Strip Joint building is now. It looks like there is a potential for some 2012 posts.

The city council meeting last week was the last for the mayor and three council members. As the new mayor takes office, I have some unsolicited advice for him: improve communication with the community. It is good for this blog that there is lousy communication because when I see things happening, I can report them and people have a reason to look at this blog. But it is not good for the citizens to be so in the dark as to what is going on. I suggest a mayor's blog. It is easy to do and much easier to access than the way current information is given at the city website. Minutes of all the meetings could be included. Too much of what is on the city website is in pdf format, which is an unfriendly format for casual readers.

The final item that caught my interest was from the Tuesday paper, a response given by Jasper County Council member Gerrit DeVries to the reporting of the county income tax increase. I thought this answer in the middle of the piece was interesting:
Large corporations such as [NIPSCO, Wal-Mart, ConAgra and Monsanto] do not pay any income tax. Yet, when these new LOITs [Local Option Income Tax] were implemented in 2007, the decision was made to grant the property tax relief from LOIT B as 100 percent distributed to all property owners. So, in spite of corporations paying no income tax, they share in that relief. Their property tax responsibility is being subsidized by Jasper County wage-earners.
It is worthwhile to read the whole thing. And next time we elect members to the County Council, ask the candidates about taxes and whether it really is good that we have so much of the tax burden on income and so little on property. (See previous posts here and here.)

(I would provide links to the paper, but have you ever tried to access the paper online?)


Phil Hayes said...

As a Rensselaerian in soft exile I must tell RA that Herb has been a true steward,in my distant view, of our City. Consider that Herb was mentored and listened to Mr. Robert Mau, married and remained so to the fabulous LuAnn, and stayed fast with other Leaders of his generation, Judge Mike Kanne and AG Steve Carter, for civility. I digress from the personal, having been welcomed into the home of Virginia and Herb, having our Dad tell me of a tire to get to work on in Gary until next payday, & others rolled that way. We went to RHS with Chuck & the Woods Family. Steve,too, is true.

Anonymous said...

I thought the Strip Joint was to be torn down and a parking area prepared for Austin Park and restaurants that basically have no parking.

Gene said...

Wow! Great to hear from ol' Phil Hayes, a guy I used to watch practice basketball outside down by old Bunker Hill's 5-points station... always admired how good he was as a player. What he said about Herbie and the Woods boys and all the guys I knew in school back then goes for me too.

From Gene Chambers,out in Tucson