This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
City council meeting July 2014
I visited the fair in the afternoon because I wanted to attend the city council meeting in the evening. A lot of things are not open until after 5:00. I noticed these tractors in the 4-H displays in the West Exhibit Hall. Can you tell what they are made of?
The Rensselaer City Council met on Monday night in a regularly scheduled meeting. There were a number of interesting items that came from the public. The Eagles want to close a block of Harrison on August 2 and September 6. The head of the Jasper County Community Services gave a long presentation saying that her agency has had cutbacks in federal and state funds and that she would like the city to contribute some to help offset the costs. She noted that most of the one-way trips that the agency provides--the agency has 11 vehicles and charges $1.00 per trip--are within Rensselaer. The council decided to take the issue under advisement.
A citizen complained about noise from the dog spa on Cullen and Vine. It is apparently not in compliance with zoning codes, and the city is proceeding with action against it.
Another citizen who runs a cosmetology business from her home had several complaints. The city requires that at-home businesses have signs no bigger that one foot by one foot and the signs must be attached to the residence. She said that the state cosmetology rules say the sign must be visible from the street and thus there is a conflict between what the state requires and what the city allows. She was also concerned that many businesses that are run from home are under the radar and thus have a cost advantage. Her business is recognized as a business by the city, and thus she pays the commercial rate for electricity, which is higher than the residential rate. Since she heats her home with electricity, the difference matters to her. Eventually she was told that the council could do nothing and that she should seek a variance for the sign from the Board of Zoning Appeals.
Some ordinances were passed that transferred funds, and then the Council approved tax abatement for ConAgra's upcoming expansion.
The gas department is extending lines to serve non-residents in three places. The mayor said that it seemed like a good long-term investment. After the meeting I asked the department head about what that meant. It means that the city will bear the cost of extending the lines, but those who live outside city boundaries pay more for gas. Several of the new customers will be farmers who will use gas for drying crops, so they should be big users.
The Building Trades wanted a waiver for the building permit for the new house they will begin in the fall. It will be near Scott and Harrison.
After the meeting I asked one of the people attending if Fair Oaks will try to do the air show again next year. He said that they would, but that they will try not to conflict with the local county fairs.