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

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Groundbreaking and bugets

On Wednesday afternoon a groundbreaking ceremony was held for a MacAllister Agriculture Division building that will be on the corner of Airport Road and SR 114. There were a lot more people there than I expected.
 The new building will have 12,000 square feet, much bigger than the current MacAllister building.
 It will include a showroom (on the left in the picture below, some offices for sales staff, the parts manager, and the service manager on the bottom of the picture. There will be a large service shop on the right of picture. It will initially have two bays, but once the operation is up and running, bay doors can be installed on the other end so that four service bays will be available. The company has already begun to hire new staff so that they will be trained when the new building opens. When everything is fully operational, the company will have about ten employees.

MacAllister has been in Rensselaer for several years. Before that, they had a small parts business in Remington for a few years. They figure that the Rensselaer office will be able to service farmers within about a thirty mile radius.
 I asked about construction and was told that construction might begin as early as this week. The completion date is vague, but is expected to be around the end of 2014. A lot depends on weather.

Before the ceremonial shovel picture, three people spoke. I think the first one, pictured on the left below, was the head of the agriculture division for MacAllister. The second was Mayor Wood, and the third was P.E. MacAllister, who is a the oldest member of the family that owns the business. He recounted the history of the company. His father began working for an agriculture equipment dealer in Wisconsin and in 1941 was offered the chance to run a dealership in Indianapolis. Then Caterpillar contacted him, and he became a dealer for Caterpillar. The main business for MacAllister remains construction equipment and they remain a large dealer of Caterpillar equipment. They got back into the agriculture business when Caterpillar developed the Challenger line of tractors. The Ag division of the business has grown rapidly in the last decade but it no longer sells Caterpillar tractors  because Caterpillar left the tractor business, selling its Challenger line to AGCO. AGCO is a company with a complicated history. It has absorbed the equipment lines for several other companies, including Allis Chalmers and Massey Ferguson. Mr MacAllister stressed how their success depends on serving their customers well, and said that would be a focus of the Rensselaer employees. (I did not bring pen and paper to take notes and I wish I had.)
 Then Titan Construction people, MacAllister people, and City of Rensselaer officials scooped up a shovel full of dirt for the cameras.
After the picture taking, people talked to each other for a while, ate some cookies, and then left.

Later in the afternoon the Rensselaer City Council held a special meeting to consider the budget. Most of the discussion was about budget cuts, but since I do not know what the baseline was, I could not understand most of what they were discussing. There will be a public hearing on the budget in September, and the budget will not be approved until October 11. At some point, and it might be after October, the budget has to be submitted to the state for its approval.

(If you want to try to make sense of the budgeting of the local governments, you can look at the information at I tried to make sense of it, but most of it was not in a form I could process. However, it was interesting looking at the employee compensation by the county, school district, and city.)

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