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

Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3, 2014

We got some really cold weather over the weekend, with temperatures dropping to the low 20s. Any plant that is frost sensitive should be dead.

This morning the County Commissioners met in what was an uneventful meeting with no big surprises. When I got there a representative from Midwest Restoration was discussing how work on fixing problems with the exterior stonework was progressing. He mentioned that the company had applied a sealer to two test areas of the Court House. An hour and a half later the meeting took a recess and two of the commissioners went out to see one of the test areas. The Midwest Restoration representative splashed some water on the area and below is what the commissioners saw. Can you see what area had been treated?
 After the break the commissioners then took up the question of whether they should approve applying the sealer. It will take three or three and a half days to apply, and the application should be done on dry walls with the temperature above forty degrees. If it is not done this fall, someone from the company that makes the sealer would have to come in the spring to determine whether the walls needed to be washed again before the sealer is applied. The sealer has a ten-year guarantee. After discussion, the commissioners approved the application of the sealer this fall provided it did not cost more than $58,390.

What else did you miss by not being there? The Commissioners approved a new lease for eleven large function printers. The county is also buying for $1.00 each three of the old printers that it had been leasing. These printers will not have a maintenance contract, so the county will have to pay for any supplies or repairs.

Soil and Water asked to replace their district coordinator, who is leaving. The request was approved. Animal Control asked about the volunteer policy that they had submitted to the Commissioners. The question of insurance came up and also the question of whether any volunteer policy should cover all volunteers for all county divisions. The issue will come back at some future meeting.

The Commissioners then had a webinar with people from First Empire Securities in New York about how they could help the county invest its money. The presentation took fifteen minutes to explain what could have been said in five. Changes in state law allow counties to invest some of their funds in securities with maturities longer than two years and this increased flexibility allows a higher rate of return. Empire Securities suggested investing in some shorter term Indiana municipal securities and some U.S. government agency issues, saying that could raise the return on the portfolio from .25% to .6%.

A benefits specialists who seem to be connected with Aflac wanted the county to offer supplemental dental insurance as an option to employees. The cost of the policies would be completely borne by the those who opted for them and they had a limit of $1200 in benefits. He suggested there were tax advantages to the plan.

The commissioners approved a zoning change and then approved Richard Kalenback as the attorney for the Animal Control Board. The jail update had good news, that the utility bills were lower as the result of the work that has been done to fix the heating and cooling systems. The airport had done a title search that seemed to reveal that a plot of land used by the airport might actually belong to the State of Indiana and not the county. At the end of the meeting the Commissioners' attorney said he had read the document and thought that it was pretty clear that the land actually did belong to the county because it should have reverted back when the state did not build an armory there. A member of the audience addressed the Commissioners about the problems of thefts from farms. It seemed he had two problems he was concerned about, the theft of anything that could be sold as scrap metal and people driving through fields as a form of recreation.

The Commissioners discussed calendar issues and scheduling of meetings and then turned to the question of what. if anything, they should do with updating heating and cooling in the Court House. The Council had approved a budget of $250,000 for this. Finally the Commissioners discussed how to proceed with the demolition of the old Johnny Rusk building. A number of contractors are eager to bid on the project. The County now has possession of the building, the tenant having moved out, and after the meeting the Commissioners were going to go over and inspect the building.

After the meeting I went over to Potawatomie Park to see how the planting of the rain garden was going. The crew had arranged all the plants that they were going to plant, and after each was put into the ground, the container was turned upside down over the plant. The reason for doing this was that after all the plants were set, the crew were going to mulch the area, and with the planters protecting the plants, it would be easy to apply the mulch.
 What is being planted? Wild columbine, swamp milkweed, butterflyweed, sand coreopsis, purple coneflower, rattlesnake master, blue flag, marsh blazing star, foxglove beard tongue, and showy black-eyed Susan are the forbs. The grasses are little bluestem and prairie dropseed. I offered some wild sunflowers that grow to about ten feet tall and spread aggressively, but my offer was declined.

Next year there should be flowers blooming in the swale for most of the summer. I look forward to seeing how this rain garden develops.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see the rain garden growing and blooming!