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

Friday, August 15, 2014

More meetings, August 2014

On Tuesday evening, August 12, the Jasper County Airport Authority held its monthly meeting. Because the Civil Air Patrol was holding a meeting at the same time, the JCAA meeting was not held in the conference room but in the lounge area next to the office.

Before the meeting started, a member of the public asked about hanger rentals and was told that at present there is a waiting list.

The airport engineer reported that drainage work should begin in about two weeks. Then the floor was turned over to the Authority's financial advisor, a woman identified as Paige. She referred the members to projections of current and future revenues and expenditures. At present the Authority is getting for current operations about $380,000 from the property taxes and with additional revenues has total revenues of about $570,000. It is currently spending a bit less than $300,000, so that its cash balances are increasing by about $275,000. The current tax rate is .0166 and it could operate, assuming that expenditures would not increase, at a tax rate of half of that. So she suggested that they could consider a reduction in the tax rate. Dropping the rate is easy, but if in the future it must be raised, that is hard. Ideally you want to find a rate that will not need to be changed. She also said that the cumulative building fund, which has a tax rate of .0033, is bringing in about $80,000 but almost all of this is spent, so it is not building a cushion. She suggested that if the operating budget rate is cut, the cumulative building fund rate be increased a bit--it cannot be increased much because the maximum allowed is .0046. However, the Treasurer pointed out that it could not be raised this year because there was a deadline of August 1 that was missed.

During the discussion the term CAGIT was used several times and I had no idea what it meant. A search on Google reveals it stands for County Adjusted Gross Income Taxes.

The question arose as to why the revenues and receipts were so out of balance. The answer was that the County Council, which has to approve the budget, cut the spending last year but did not cut the tax rate.

After this background, the Treasurer moved to approve the budget for 2015. It will have the same total level of spending as for 2014, with some line items increased and some decreased. That budget will be read in the September County Council meeting, with approval voted in the October meeting.

The attorney for the Authority had a number of concerns. He said that they had to pass a conflict of interest ordinance that required them to disclose any transactions that the board member might have that could involve a conflict of interest. It passed. There was more discussion about purchasing a courtesy car, which would upgrade the vehicle from a 1998 model to a 2009 model. They passed the recommendation. Finally, there was discussion about whether having the Authority lease the airport land from the county was the best way to limit liability in case of an accident.

At this point I had to leave, so whatever else transpired, will forever remain a mystery.

On Wednesday evening Congressman Todd Rokita held a town hall meeting at the Ritz Theater. The format was very similar to his previous town hall meeting, but the attendance was smaller. People asked a variety of questions, none really hostile. They asked about out-of-control spending, and he pointed out that 60% of the budget is now mandatory spending such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Other questions were about immigration, Obamacare, No Child Left Behind, and Lois Lerner.

Because I do not want to do another post without pictures, here are two, both showing progress this week in hooking up the city to the 69K electrical line. The first shows a NIPSCO crew on Thursday working on a new pole for the Melville substation, and the other shows workers hooking up cables in the substation next to the power plant.
 Both pictures illustrate why you should not shoot into the light.

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