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

Monday, May 4, 2015

Watching and listening

Today is the first day of bulk pickup. Some people had impressive piles, which you can get if you clean out a three story storage barn for the first time in several decades.
 On Sunday as I was looking for an impressive pile of trash to photograph, I arrived at the scene of a fire shortly after it had been extinguished. It was on South Cullen and the police had closed off a section of SR 114 to allow the fire trucks to operate.
 On Sunday I went to a well-attended choir concert at SJC and was surprised to learn that it was Kelly Ford's farewell concert. This week is final exam week at SJC, with graduation next weekend.

Tomorrow is primary election day, with the main contest between Rick Williams and Russ Overton for the Republican nomination for mayor. There are two council seats being contested in the Republican primary as well. There are no contested races in the Democratic primary.
The Commissioners held their monthly meeting this morning and it had a long agenda. Most of it was not of general interest, so I will skip it. Ed Dumas wanted to make sure that the people serving on the Jasper County Hospital Building Authority (I may not have the name right) had been properly appointed and the commissioners assured him that they had been. I was a bit mystified about why this was important, but then he said that the Franciscan Alliance and the Jasper County Hospital had  a proposed asset purchase agreement that was 99% complete. There were no details about what is in the agreement, but there will be a meeting, tentatively scheduled for May 13 at 7:00 at the Fairgrounds, in which the commissioners, county council members, and the board of the hospital will meet with Franciscan people. The public will be able to attend the meeting but will not have the right to speak because this is a work session of the council and commissioners to share information. There will be a public hearing on the matter, assuming that all goes forward, probably in early June.

Even without that bombshell, the meeting would have been very interesting. The auditors office has had problems using the software it has and wants to move to the software that 46 other Indiana counties are using. Jasper County is the only Indiana county using the software that the auditor has. The treasurer's office has to use the same software that the auditor uses, and though they have no issues with the current software, will defer to what the auditor wants. After a presentation from the software company, the Commissioners approved the switch.

The county recorder brought in a vendor who can digitize old records. At present the recorder has digitized records going back to 1995 and would like to extend that back another thirty years. (Ultimately she would like it extended back to the start of county records.) The recorder's office has records of all land transactions and at present when people are doing title searches, they come in and find the item in a big book and then find the document on microfiche. Digitizing them protects them from natural or man-made disaster and also makes searching the records much faster. It also allows for the possibility of remote search and the option of charging uses for digitized search. There were questions of how the roughly $63K cost of this would be financed, and the commissioners approved a proposal to have the thirty years of records scanned and ten years of that grouped and categorized. The other twenty years can be done when funds are available. (There may be a summer job available for someone who wants to re-sleeve or re-jacket the microfiche records.)

The sheriff requested permission to fill one full-time and three part-time positions that are or will soon be vacant. The request was approved.  There was further discussion about a generator for the north annex, with both the sheriff and the coroner contributing to its purchase. There was also discussion of the coroner and sheriff sharing a employee at the north annex, but that would require County Council approval.

There were other items discussed, but those were the highlights.

At one o'clock the Rensselaer Redevelopment Authority opened bids for the proposed fire station. Three bids were received, with base bids ranging from $3,926,00 to $4295,000. Each bid also had quotes for alternatives, and three of the alternatives were taking away things from the proposal: the basement, the unfinished second floor, and brick work on the exterior. Removing the basement from the proposals cut them from between $207,000 and $355.534. (This is the second round of bidding--the first was mentioned here.) The bids were turned over to the company that the city uses for engineering services. There will be a meeting on either the 8th or 12th in which the engineer and the financial consultant will make recommendations and at that time the Redevelopment Authority will probably accept one of the bids.




1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for helping keep folk who aren't able (or prefer not to) to attend various meetings up to "snuff."