This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.
Monday, December 22, 2014
Some final meetings for 2014
The County Commissioners met for the second time in December on Monday morning. As usual, they covered many topics. They began by approving contracts with Porter and Lake County to provide bed days for juvenile offenders. In the past Jasper County worked with Lake County, but then a new juvenile judge in Lake decided that only Lake offenders should be housed in the Lake County facility, so Jasper found another provider. Now that judge is gone and the old arrangements are coming back.
Community Corrections needed signatures on a $3K PREA [?] grant that will help them follow new federal guidelines for work release programs.
The Airport Authority wants the county to deed the airport land to them with a reversion clause. Two of the commissioners are not convinced that a deed would be better than a long-term lease. The land in question is 132 acres. Thirty seven are rented for crops and another 11 for hay, and there was a lot of discussion of crop rental. The topic will be back on the agenda for January.
The Surveyor's office wanted approval to spend $6500 to finish scanning old documents. The state has started and they not only scan, but run the scans through software for character recognition so that the documents can be searched. The final product goes to the state archives. The request was approved.
There was a discussion of a tower that I did not understand. I think it was about the old jail tower (which was a mystery photo a post or two ago.)
The Emergency Management Director has a new role, planner for the County's response to the Indiana Bicentennial celebration in 2016. In the fall of 2016 the state bicentennial planners want to have a torch run that will carry a torch through all 92 counties. Jasper will be the 81st of the counties. The actual route will be up to the county as long as it stays within the time guideline that the state sets. If you have any creative ideas of what Rensselaer or Jasper County can do to celebrate the state's bicentennial, there is now someone who will listen to you.
There were two pairs of citizens with property issues. These discussions kept referring to maps that the Commissioners had, so were hard to follow. The first involved a woman who wanted to buy land that used an access that the county owned because in 1941 the owner of the land had back taxes of $2.41. The land that the county got was only a twenty foot strip of the lot that was used as access for two other properties, so it may be that the owner saw no reason to pay taxes on it. The potential buyer was having difficulty getting a loan because the lending institution wondered if the lot she wanted could become land locked if the county disposed of the land. The Commissioners assured her that she would have access rights regardless of who owned the land. The second case was a case of a bad neighbor, someone who is doing things on his property that is causing water issues on the property of the people complaining to the Commissioners. No immediate solution was forthcoming.
A bit after ten o'clock the Commissioners opened bids for tires, stone and aggregate, sand and pea gravel, and machine rental. As they usually do, they voted to accept all bids.
There followed signing lots of papers and discussing some issues with several departments. The most interesting bit was that the asbestos inspection of the Johnny Rusk building had been completed with no issues found. The bids for demolishing the building will not be ready for Commission review until at least the February meeting.
The next meeting will be on a Tuesday, not a Monday--January 6 at 8:15.
The Rensselaer City Council met for another very short meeting on Monday evening. Electric rates will be a little high in the three months starting January 1. The council approved a transfer of funds of $1.00--do not ask me to explain that one. They approved a reduction in the 2014 budget because they said that the various departments had done a good job of being frugal and had not spent all that was in the budget.
There was motion to approve spending money from the public relations fund on flowers for the funeral of the father of a city employee. The Council reappointed two people to the Park Board for four-year terms and two people to the Planning Commission for one-year terms.
It was a short and not very exciting meeting.
The winter solstice was yesterday at 5:03 pm. The days are now getting long, though you probably will not notice that for about six weeks. The weathermen say that we may set a record this December for the least amount of sunny skies.
Here is a picture because I dislike posts without a picture.