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

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Too many events

On Tuesday there were at least five events/meetings in the late afternoon and evening. At 5:30 the Animal Control Board met in the Library, at 6:30 the Jasper County Historical Society met at the museum, and at 7:00 the High School Music Department had its winter concert, the RCSC had a board meeting, and the County Council had its monthly meeting. Why is the third Tuesday such a popular day for meetings?

I peeked in the Historical Society meeting to see what goodies I was missing by going to the County Council meeting.
A few days ago the railing was installed on the Museums new ramp.

Then it was off to the County Council meeting. There was some routine transferring of money so that unbudgeted expenses could be met. The unusual snow of last winter resulted in some funds running short at the end of the year, so money had to be moved.

The most interesting item was a discussion of the upgrade of 911 equipment. The usual life of the equipment (much of it computer related) is five years, but the department is going on 7 years. The plan is in the next few months to completely replace the old equipment at a cost of more than $200,000 and less than $25,000. The funding for this comes from a tax on phones, and right now land lines are taxed about double what cell phones are. The legislature is working on equalizing the tax, which is probably necessary because people keep abandoning land lines. (A Verizon box is much cheaper for a home phone.) The upgrade will include the most recent version of the software and allow text messages to go to 911.

One member of the Council asked if the upgrade would interrupt 911 service. The answer was that whenever 911 service is interrupted in Jasper County, it is automatically switched to the White or Newton County 911 service. All 911 service in Jasper County is hosted by the Sheriff's Department, but there are 911 operators in the Rensselaer and DeMotte Police Departments. However, they act as satellites for the county 911 service.

There was some question if these plans were already in the budget or not. If they were not in the budget, then approval would not be possible until it had been advertised. However, the auditor checked her budget and discovered that more than enough money had been included in the recently passed budget, so the report was considered as an update to the council.

The other item that was interesting was the recognition by the Council of two members who were serving at their last meeting. Ron Sipkema did not run for re-election and was retiring after 16 years of service and Dan Stalbaum was defeated in his re-election attempt. He has served eight years. They were each given a plaque and a personalized tee-shirt. The Council members seem to be very close, something that can happen when people work together for a long period. With their departure, Councilmen Price and DeVries become the elder statesmen on the Council.

On an unrelated topic, I received an e-mail from Dan Perkins (whose farm has a blog at that his wife Julie had a recipe that was one of ten finalists in a Dannon Yogurt recipe contest. The winner is decided by viewer votes, so if you would like to help them out, you can vote here:
You can vote once a day until the end of the month. There is a substantial cash prize for the top two.

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