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

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Early August meetings

The County Commissioners held their monthly meeting on Monday morning. As always, there were lots of items on the agenda and as always there were times when the meeting dragged. One reason it often drags is because they schedule certain items at specific times so that people can come and go without waiting for hours listening to things about which they have no interest.

Some highlights. The Animal Control Board had several items, including some repairs needed at the animal shelter and a recommendation for a new director, a woman finishing up a masters in Michigan with family in the area. A couple of spiffy-looking bankers told the board that the state has changed requirements for county investments and that they would like to help the county adjust. In the past a county was limited to investments of two years maturity or less. Now up to 25% of funds can be invested in maturities from two to five years. The state made the change in response to the extremely low interest rates for safe, short-term investments. 

A representative from the Jasper Pulaski preserve asked about what he could do with part of a road that the county does not maintain but for which it has a right-of-way. The issue came up because of neighbors. The road is a mud pit, and when people get stuck, they bother the neighbors. The issue will probably be on the agenda for September. A very similar item involved a road right-of-way near DeMotte. The county has a right-of-way but there is no road. The request from some of the residents was that the county vacate the right-of-way. There was a public hearing called on the matter, at which there were no public comments, and the commissioners voted to vacate the right-of-way.

A couple of zoning requests involving vet clinics were approved. Then there was a discussion about drainage assessments. The Remington Post Office is refusing to pay their drainage assessment, arguing that no state entity can tax a federal entity. The commissioners were told that assessments are paid by everyone, including tax-exempt organizations. The sum involved in this dispute is currently only $9.00, but when it reaches $25, the county can threaten a tax sale. Then things might get interesting.

The engineering firm that has been working on the county jail had been asked to look at the court house to see what changes could be made to its heating-cooling systems. A long discussion followed, much of it directed to documents that the commissioners were provided but which were not available to the public. It seemed that changes to the windows were much too expensive to even consider, and that many of the other changes could not be justified on a cost-savings basis, but might be worthwhile for a comfort basis. At present the court house has two systems, one for the third floor which is not too old, and another for the bottom two floors which is about twenty years old. Neither system has automated controls. 

In the evening the Rensselaer Park Board met. The big item on their agenda was a set of plans to remodel Brookside Park. The plan included two new ball fields that will fit where the old football field (now a soccer field) was. Included would be a new concession stand/press box and an enlarged parking lot. The extension of the parking lot would require that the basketball court be moved, perhaps to over by the tennis field. There was nothing in the plan about what would happen to any other park. None of this can happen unless the trustee for the Blacker Trust approves the plan. There is a frustration on the part of the board members because the Blacker Trust has money to improve the parks, but at this point they can see nothing that it has done to make any improvement. The one expenditure of the Trust has caused them problems and has solved no problems.

There was also some discussion of what would be needed to turn much of Iroquois Park into a dog park, The total cost of that would probably be less than $20,000. It will need two areas because apparently big dogs and little dogs do not mix well.

Despite a number of meetings, the future use of the old Monnett Girls School building is as uncertain as ever. The city does not want to be a landlord, and the park board does not want to lose land on the site. 

The meeting got a little crazy at the end as it approached the two-hour mark and some of the frustrations of a couple of members were voiced in the form of motions.

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