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

Monday, February 10, 2014

Highlights from meetings

This morning the County Commissioners met for their monthly meeting. As always, much of the meeting is taken up with routine things that are of little general interest. Below are a few things that I thought were interesting.

The people organizing the City Wide Garage Sale on May 3 wanted permission to use the county parking lot (where the old jail stood). They would mark off space and sell them, with the proceeds going to the fire department. The Commissioners approved their request.

A representative from EasyWater, an Indiana company, wanted the commissioner's permission to look at the water system at the county jail with the intention of making a proposal for installing one of their no-salt water softening systems. The rep stated that Motel 6 uses their system nationwide to soften water. He got the Commissioners' approval.

The Sheriff had an update on the tower that he is interested in purchasing or renting. It is a 360 foot tower near 100W and 300N that is currently unused. He had a tower inspector look at it and it is in good structural condition but does not currently meet FAA regulations. To bring it up to those regulations, either it would have to be painted and the burned out lights replaced, or a new strobe light could be placed at the top. The Sheriff wanted permission from the Commissioners to contact the company and see if a deal is possible. There are apparently about 10 acres of land attached to the tower and one of the commissioners thought that this land might be more valuable than the tower. The sheriff is interested in the tower because at present radio communication to the fringes of the county is poor. If purchased, the tower could also be used by other agencies such as the highway department and fire departments.

The jail renovations/repairs of the heating and cooling system are almost complete and the system should be in full operation by the end of the week. However, in doing the repairs, three other problems involving control systems and wiring were discovered and the Emcor company had a proposal to fix them. The Commissioners thought that the repairs should be done but were uncertain of how they would be funded.

There was a request from the Little Cousin Jasper group for the use of Court House grounds for the festival. After a bit a of discussion about exactly what the was open to them, the request was approved.

On Tuesday at 7:00 there will be joint meeting of the Commissioners and the County Council at the Fairgrounds. The meeting is open to the public.

After the meeting was adjourned, I went home for lunch, stopping to admire the icicles at the Library. The bright sun and the cold temperatures are ideal for the formation of icicles.
After lunch, I went back to the Court House to see what would happen at the Drainage Board meeting.

The first item on the agenda was a public hearing on the Roth Ditch. This is a short, two or three mile long ditch east of Donaldson's. There were a number of people present eager to discuss the issue. Several of the people who are affected by the ditch had petitioned the Surveyor to take action, but before he did, they cleaned most of the ditch by themselves, each clearing his portion. There were several parts not cleaned, and those who cleaned their sections did not want to be taxed to clean the rest. After discussion, the Board agreed that a reconstruction of the ditch was not in order, but that a maintenance fund be set up to keep it cleaned. A maintenance fund collects money for four years and then if the money has not been spent, it stops collecting. The landowners in the watershed will pay $2 per acre each year with a minimum payment of $5.

The other item of some interest was not even in Jasper County--it involved something in Newton. There are two pipelines carrying refined petroleum products that cross somewhere on the Fair Oaks Farms. The two companies want to build an interconnection. To do that, they want to build a gravel road on the easement of a ditch that Jasper County maintains. After some discussion, it was agreed that everyone could benefit, so the Commissioners approved it with the condition that a clause be put in the legal document that Jasper County would not be held liable for any damage they caused in using the road (for cleaning the ditch). The road would only be accessible to the pipeline companies, Fair Oaks Farm, and the County Surveyor.

The meeting ended after there was a mention that a letter would be going out about the Stackhouse Ditch. I am not sure what that is about, but I suspect it will be a subject in some upcoming meetings.

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