This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
The commissioners met Monday morning and had a relatively short meeting--it lasted less than two hours. After several months of discussing off-site storage of copies of records, they agreed to purchase a large fire-proof safe that will be installed at the highway department offices.
The director of community corrections asked to fill a part-time position but also told the commissioners that he thought it might be cheaper to hire some full time officers. There is a lot of turnover--in the last 4.5 years he has hired 15 people. Once they are trained, which is expensive, they tend to work a few months and then seek full-time positions. He will look at the numbers more carefully and may be back before them with a proposal in a future meeting.
The assessor addressed a number of issues, none of which I fully understood. There were two public hearings at which no one spoke. Every three years the commissioners must approve the taxes for the cumulative bridge fund and the cumulative capital improvements fund, and after no one had any comments, they approved the proposals to continue the taxes as they were, which is no more than one cent per $100 assessed valuation for the bridge fund and 3.85 cents per $100 assessed valuation for the capital improvements fund. The latter fund receives about a million dollars a year from the tax.
In discussing road repair, the commissioners noted that the Babcock Quarry had closed though sales were continuing of already mined stone. They were concerned that the closure would result in higher paving costs. Apparently the quarry could still have removed stone for another two or three years, but after that they would have needed to expand either to the east or the west. The City of Rensselaer was opposed to expansion in either direction. Some of the other quarries that the company owns needed more manpower, so the company took them from the Rensselaer operation and shut down the local quarry. (This means I will be able to post a picture about every two weeks showing the quarry slowly filling up.)
There was discussion of the old Rusk Building that the Commissioners have had an interest in. No environmental issues have been discovered. After the meeting I asked one of the commissioners what they would do with the building. There are no plans to use it. Rather the commissioners are thinking way ahead, some day in the distant future when offices may be moved out of the current court house. Then having control of much of the block that once contained the county jail would give them expansion opportunities.
Among many other topics discussed, the question of whether the county should repair one or two bridges that are showing wear came up and I learned that the county has 123 bridges that it must maintain.
In the afternoon the drainage board met. NIPSCO wanted approval of a landfill expansion to dispose of the ash and other coal remnants from not only the Schahfer plant but also two other plants. The Board decided that they wanted officials from NIPSCO at a commissioners meeting to answer a number of questions involving roads, how many phases of the plan lie in the future, and maybe tipping fees.
The drainage proposal for Kaeb Sales was approved. It is a company selling diary equipment that wants to put an office on the corner SR 14 and SR 49, or five and a half miles east of Jasper Junction. The company is headquartered in Illinois and has offices there, in Michigan, and in Wakarusa, IN.
The other notable item was a farmer who complained about a ditch being blocked by a beaver dam. His neighbor, who apparently does not farm, does not mind that the ditch is blocked and as a result the land is flooded and cannot be planted.
In the evening the park board met. On the way, I noticed that the swimming pool now has water. At the meeting I was told that it will open this Saturday at noon.
I took some notes on the meeting but have misplaced them. There was a long discussion about what the park boards vision of the future is. Unfortunately for them, their vision has to work around a somewhat different vision of the person or persons who control the Blacker Trust, which has the money to implement the vision.. There was also discussion about the house on the north end of Brookside Park that is for sale.
I think there were some other interesting tidbits, but unless I find my notes, those tidbits are probably lost forever.