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

Thursday, April 23, 2015

County Council April 2015

As the agenda suggested, the County Council meeting on April 21 was fairly short and uneventful. Before the meeting the members of the council were discussing whether it would be possible to know the criteria by which the state adjusts county budgets. From their standpoint, the process seems to be arbitrary.

There was an additional appropriation for the Superior Court for a line that is often unused for the year, but this year has had three cases that use it. These are cases that involve dysfunctional families in which an outside observer needs to do fact finding and that cannot be handled by CASA (sometimes because CASA does not have the staff).

By the way, I asked a court secretary a few weeks ago about the difference between the Circuit Court and the Superior Court. She said that every county has a Circuit Court. If there are enough cases to require a second court, that court will be called a Superior Court. They handle the same cases.

Because of repairs being done in the Court House, the Superior Court had met on Monday and Tuesday in the Commissioners' Room. The judge was happy at the prospect of returning to his normal chambers on Wednesday.

There was a discussion of the possibility of adopting a heritage barn designation for old barns that are not used for business or agriculture. I did not grasp the nuances, but it seemed that such a designation might reduce assessed values. The topic may be picked up in a future meeting. There was a question about whether such a designation would be used.

The Council then looked over many pages of financial data that they would be able to peruse at length at home. This year the main business of the Council will be meetings on August 18, 19, and 20 when they will spend the days with budget hearings, and on September 1 and 2 when they will be making budget cuts. The budget for the next fiscal year will be adopted on September 13.

In public comments, the airport manager reported on a conference he had attended in Indianapolis that had speeches and panels discussing the future of aviation in Indiana. Kevin Kelley introduced the new director of tourism, Sheila White. In response to a question, he mentioned that constraints for large manufacturers locating in the county were population and limits on water and sewer.

I do not have a picture to fit the post, but here is something related because it touches on county government. The Historical Society Museum has the door to Charlie Halleck's office when he was the county prosecuting attorney, the office he held before he was elected to Congress in the mid 1930s. His office was above what is now Lafayette Bank and Trust.

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