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

Monday, April 13, 2015

City Council meeting 4-13-2015

There was no big news from the City Council meeting on Monday night but lots of interesting little tidbits.

The Council approved a rebidding of the fire station--bids will be opened May 4. The gas tracker will result in an increase of 3 cents per hundred cubic feet for April. The Council approved an emergency purchase of a truck for recycling. The old truck is a 2009 diesel that has had problems since it was purchased and is no longer operable. Councilman Overton said that it had about $7000 in repairs just six months ago and now is again not working. The recycling department has a bid for between $28K and $29K for a gas-powered truck from Gutwein Motors and the Council approved the purchase. The goal is to have it ready to help during clean-up week in May.

The Council ratified a poll taken between meetings to accept a bid of $4800 for the removal of four more trees. The date of the last meeting in May was changed from Monday (which is Memorial Day) to Tuesday, May 26.

There was a brief discussion of the lack of bidding on the old Monnett School building, AKA the Administration Building. The concern of the interested party was zoning. It is zoned residential, and the owner would need to get it rezoned or get a variance to use it as an office building. Before it is rebid the city will probably either rezone it or allow a bid subject to a variance, which would mean that the bid would not take effect unless the Planning Commission or Zoning Board grants a variance.

Mainstreet Rensselaer is providing most of the funding for the fa├žade for the parking lot on Front Street, though the City of Rensselaer is providing some money (as is the Jasper Foundation.)

Councilman Barton had a question about one of the claims and his question resulted in a discussion of gas department plans. The City would like to have a new main to assure sufficient pressure when demand from residences and the generating system is high. There was a claim for a consultant about this and it was that claim that Councilman Barton questioned. Planning here is in a very preliminary state. There was also some discussion about gas department plans for 2015, but that was delayed until the superintendents' reports.

Police Chief Phillips said that the police are seeing a lot of used needles on the streets and requested funds to buy gloves for officers. The request was approved.  The cemetery superintendent was given permission to hire summer help. The building inspector announced that Rico's has been sold and that the new owner expects to have it open in 60 to 90 days. There will be a public hearing on Tuesday at 1:00 concerning funding for the proposed fire station.

The gas department has several extensions that they would like to make this summer. Two of them involve looping lines which will improve pressure. Councilman Barton asked what the payback period for these extensions would be. There was some heated discussion between the Mayor and Barton on the issue; the gas superintendent said that she would have the data at the next meeting. Rural customers, by the way, pay 25% more for gas than city residents.

Twenty percent of the work on the Gasper road project is finished. The sanitary sewer lines are being installed.

George Cover noted that the McKinley Street rail crossing is now worse than it was before the rail crew "fixed" it. He wondered if CSX could do something about it before they leave town. Chief Phillips indicated that his discussions with CSX about the crossing had not been productive.

After the meeting I asked what the workers were doing near the Washington Street Bridge today. I thought they might be doing something with the street lights but was told that they were doing soil testing for contamination and were installing test wells.


Anonymous said...

"A lot of used needles on the streets?" Are they from meth or heroin use? Does Rensselaer have a drug problem?

Anonymous said...

Definitely!! :-/ and it's sad

Anonymous said...

Doesn't seem possible, but I hear it is true. Yes, it is very sad for a community like this to have that problem.

Anonymous said...

The police department needs to request funds to buy something as simple as gloves?

Anonymous said...

Transparency in government? Tax cuts?