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

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A city council meeting

I went to my first city council meeting Monday evening. Below is what I observed.

They started promptly at 6:00 with a roll call, which I thought was a bit strange since it was evident that all the members of the council were present and in their assigned seats. However, it also included department superintendents, so it may have been more for the benefit of members of the public who were at the meeting than anything else.

The minutes from the last meeting were approved without comments. There was then a chance for any member of the public to address the council on any matter; none did. There was a motion to approve something credit card related. The motion was not read and from the very brief discussion I could not make out exactly what the issue was. That was followed by the approval of a transfer of funds among departments. This motion was not read or discussed, so again it was unclear to me what it was about.

Next there was a longer discussion of fireworks. Citizens had complained about loudness and lateness. The city has no fireworks ordinance, and if it adopts one, state law says that the city cannot forbid fireworks from June 29 until July 9 and from December 31 until January 1. After some discussion, a committee of three plus the city attorney was selected with instructions to come to the next meeting with a recommendation.

A waiver of the building permit fee for the next Building Trades house was approved without discussion. There was discussion about the sanitation (garbage and recycling) budget. Every year it is in the red. Last year it had a deficit of $181,000. Another committee was appointed to look into the matter. I sensed that higher garbage fees are in the offing.

The mayor read something about an American POW in Afghanistan and gave a copy of the item to the Rensselaer Republican. There was mention of a working session on Tuesday and also something about an amendment to an agreement with the regional sewage commission. A motion to approve claims was passed with no discussion. Then the superintendents had a chance to speak.

The chief of police announced that National Night Out will be on August 6 in Brookside Park. Also, he wants to form a school safety commission. There was some back and forth about the railroad crossing on US 231--repeated appeals to state and federal legislators have not yet produced results.

Amtrak will make a decision about the future of the Hoosier State line in October. The ribbon cutting for the new station will probably be August 21. Work is not yet completed. (I saw workers doing something there today.)

Something will be done to the bridge over the Maxwell ditch in the cemetery, and maybe also to the culvert on SR 114. About 150 people attended the free movie in the park. The electric department replaced five transformers at the fairgrounds last week--they were overloaded by the many campers there. One department, perhaps the gas department, took delivery of a new trencher that they have not yet tested. The street department is preparing a list of streets that will be repaved this year.

And a mere fifty minutes after it started, the meeting adjourned. It was fun watching local government in action.

I did not take any pictures of the council meeting, but here is one from downtown. The Cutting Room is collecting art supplies for students for the upcoming school year.

Speaking of schools, trenching was being done Monday morning to provide water to the module moved from Monnett to the athletic field at the high school, and the new floor for the gymnasium has not yet been installed.

1 comment:

Desert Survivor said...

Sounds like a lot was covered! Our town meetings cover a lot less but take longer. Our issues have been getting a cell tower, checking out a dump station, how to shield lights to protect our night skies, developing a proposal for a walking/biking trail, and improving the shooting range.