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

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

More meetings Sept 22, 2014

On Monday night the City Council met. I arrived in the middle of the public hearing on the budget, which had no public comments after the reading of a long list of numbers that meant nothing to anyone who does not deal with these numbers daily. The vote on the budget will take place in October.

The Council then passed an ordinance that would prohibit large trucks from parking in the city parking lots. The ordinance was in response to the large trucks that have frequently parked in the Front Street lot. It will take effect 30 days after it is published in the newspaper.

Electric bills will be lower because the cost of electricity has been lower due to the city's generation of electricity. The low rates will not last.

Town and Country Paving won the contract to pave many sections of city streets. The cost will be $371,673. It is unlikely that finances will allow as much repaving next year.

The city will contribute $500 from it public relations fund to the Trunk or Treat event at the fairgrounds.

In announcements, the high school homecoming parade will be Thursday at 6:30. I could not find confirmation of this on the high school web page, but that web page and calendar is basically useless for learning what is going on at the high school. The state will soon begin working on SR 114 between Rutsen and Milton, though exactly what kind of repairs or repaving they will be doing is not known by anyone in city government. Right now power from NIPSCO is coming through the Banet Substation as work on connecting up the 69K line is underway. I learned after the meeting that the very tall pole at the Melville substation will have some kind of antenna on it so that NIPSCO can monitor electrical usage. I also learned that the city does not buy power directly from NIPSCO. NIPSCO sells to the Indiana Municipal Power Agency, which is the supplier to Rensselaer. So even though the power lines directly connect NIPSCO and Rensselaer, IMPA is involved.

The Fire Department's aerial ladder truck is temporarily out of service because of mechanical problems. The manufacturer of the truck is out of business, which makes getting parts a challenge. The Drexel water tower has been cleaned and the city is getting easements for a water line from the fairgrounds to the Interstate. The pipe will cross under the highway at the county highway garage and be on the north side of the highway. There was mention that Comfort Suites was interested in building near the Interstate, and when I got home and looked at Facebook, I discovered that this was old news because Visit Rensselaer had a photo. The city water line will probably not be completed for a year and one city official wondered if Comfort Suites would build before city water arrived. (Council meeting minutes are available here.)

Then it was time to go to the Court House for meetings of the Jasper County Plan Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals. Usually the BZA meets first, but on Monday night they switched the order of meetings because two items were on both agendas and the Planning commission needed to act first.

The Planning commission approved three zoning changes. (These must be confirmed by the Commissioners before they go into effect.) The most interesting of them was a request from IBEC to change a small parcel of their lot from I2 to General Commercial. IBEC wants to put in a single gas pump to allow the public to buy fuel with ethanol. It will be near their plant entrance. What I found confusing is that the BZA then had to grant a special exception for this. After the meeting I learned that for certain kinds of business such as gas stations, it is not enough to get proper zoning. In addition a special exception must be granted.

The trees are still green, but fall has arrived at the retailers. (A picture to brighten up the post)

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