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

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

City Council 03-09-2015

The City Council meeting on Monday night was mostly routine. A few meetings ago a citizen requested that the city vacate an alley right-of-way that went through a house. The Council agreed to vacate it, but apparently the procedure was not quite right because either the title company or the county recorder or county auditor did not like the way it was done. So the first order of business was to redo the process with a public hearing. No one from the public had anything to say, so the meeting resumed.

The Council passed a resolution to transfer about $1000 from a dormant account to another account. The recycling center wanted to sell a fork lift to a White County recycling center and the Council passed a resolution that allows it to do that. The electric tracker will decrease electric rates $4.00 per thousand kilowatt hours for April-June. The gas tracker will not change. The Council then came back to the vacate the alley issue and voted to vacate it. Next the Council voted to acknowledge a conflict of interest filing, something it must do when a member of the Council files a report. (Councilman Barton works for the company that will do the renovation of the utility office in City Hall.) Finally the Gas and Electric Departments requested a total of $1000 for their annual open house that will be held on May 1 from 11:00 till 2:00.

The City Attorney noted that the city wanted to build a substation to serve the area at the I-65 intersection, a substation that would provide a second feed to the area. The Council approved negotiations to purchase land for the facility. In administrative comments, the Mayor discussed how he had testified at the State Senate on the bill that would limit city-owned utilities from taking over utility service when the city annexed land. The bill that he opposed passed the state senate and he anticipated testifying at the committee hearings for the House. He also noted that the Hoosier Line would cease operations on April 1. It seemed that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) was the culprit in shutting down the service. The State had money in the budget for the service, but the FRA decided that the State of Indiana needed to be classified as a railroad carrier in order for the arrangements that the State had developed be implemented.

Councilman Watson stated that in 2003 the Council had given superintendent's status to the utility office manager but had not given her pay appropriate to that status. He wanted the manager to be given that pay. Councilman Cover strongly objected, saying that the ordinance specified the pay, so there was no need to change the pay. Even with the ordinance in front of them, most of the Councilmen said that they needed some time to reflect on the issue. A committee was appointed to investigate the matter.

When I got home, the light was fading but there was still enough to take a picture of the snowman that was new on Saturday. A lot of snow melted on Monday.

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