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

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Rising again

With the river falling for the past four days, it seemed that we might be nearing the end of what has been a very long flood. Unfortunately, a band of storms that spawned tornados in Illinois passed our way last night. We got two waves of storms, one about 11:00 that passed through rather quickly and then faded away as it moved further east, and another that looked like it dumped a huge amount of rain in the Kankakee, Illinois region before finally moving though our area. Rensselaer was on the southern edge of that storm that hit us about 1:00 in the morning. The total from both in my rain gauge was in the 1.3 to 1.4 inches range. However, from the radar it appeared that the area to our north got a lot more than that, and whatever they got has to come through Rensselaer.

The Iroquois River stopped its descent and started rising sharply. At this time one cannot tell how high it will go.
Here is College Avenue after the City Council Meeting last night. At the meeting the city officials said that they planned to re-open the roads this morning after they were cleaned up. This morning water is again across the road and the river is rising, so it may be a few more days before this road is open to traffic.
 Lincoln Street has water flowing over it in the two places it most recently had water, and water from the creek is flowing over the road in Brookside Park. The intersection of College and Front again has water flowing over it.

I mentioned that the City Council met last night. It was the first meeting for the new editor of the Rensselaer Republican and it will be interesting to get her take on it.

First order of business was a plea from the head of the Jasper County Community Services to include her organization in the annual budget. She said that the Community Services vans are the only form of public transportation in the city and that last year they made many more trips than projected. She also said that organizations like hers were starting to rely more on local funding.

The City's financial consultant attended the meeting to explain two items on the agenda. The first was an ordinance to fund the extension of the water main to the Interstate. The ordinance is needed to sell bonds, but because there are several other projects that the City wants to include in the bond issue, the bonds will not be sold until next year. In the meantime the ordinance permits the selling of bond anticipation notes. The actual ordinance is a long document prepared by lawyers. Normally this type of ordinance requires several meetings to pass, but the council voted to suspend the rules and they did all the necessary voting to pass it. Construction is almost ready to begin on the project and the next step will be to get construction bids. Once started, it should take about 180 days to complete.

The other financial item was a resolution to satisfy the requirements of the USDA for financing the storm water treatment plant that will be built on Lincoln Avenue. The City was approved for a grant and a loan (grant about $5 million and a loan of about $1.8 million) from the Federal Government, and this resolution was a necessary step in the process of getting that funding.

Also on the funding theme, the bond sale for fire house construction will be on the 25th. The interest rate will be 3.8% and construction may start as early as July 1.

Not on the printed agenda was an ordinance for the electric tracker. Electric rates will increase.

The city has compiled a list of unsafe buildings and properties and the council passed a resolution to allow the building inspector to begin the legal work needed to clean them up or demolish them. This is again a first step and other steps will be needed before anything is actually done.

The mayor reported that Rensselaer was expected to contribute some monies to keeping the Amtrak service running, about $280 dollars a month for the rest of this year and a bit less than $400 a month for next year. He wanted the council to approve the funding for next year (the budge already includes funding through December), and they did with one negative vote.

The Police Chief announced that the Board of Public works had interviewed three candidates for an opening on the police force and had made a conditional offer to one. Those meetings had been held earlier in the day. The gas department announced that it was ready to begin work on the three gas line extensions as soon as weather permits. The piping has been delivered to the gas department..
Finally, the city announced that those who have extra trash to put out due to flooding should call the city to arrange a pick up. There will be no charge for pick up of flood damaged trash if the pickup is arranged.

Update: The slope of the rise on the graph is shallower than it was for the rise a week ago. Hopefully that means that the rise will not be nearly as big.


Anonymous said...

Indianapolis Channel 13 News agreed with your rain gauge for Rensselaer. The reporter then said that 5" of rain fell west of Rensselaer.

Anonymous said...

Halfway between Demotte and Rensselaer on 231, we got 2.5" June 23 storm.