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

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

City council meeting July 13, 2015

The first city council meeting of July had some interesting bits.

The meeting began with approval of a gas tracker increase for July that was a fraction of cent. Then the Rensselaer Urban Forest Council approached the council with two requests. First, they wanted the Council to approve $1000 to help create an 18-inch bump-out for an elm tree that is estimated to be 240 years old. It is the big tree by Harley Houghton's dentistry practice across from the post office.

 It is the biggest elm in Rensselaer and as the picture shows, it has encroached on the curb. The Rensselaer Urban Forestry Council (RUFC) will provide the concrete for the bump-out and also a plaque recognizing the significance of the tree. The motion was approved.
The second thing the RUFC wanted was to be included in the next budget. They want to be able to plant trees even when they cannot find outside funding. For this year the City Council had approved $1200, but it was not spent because the RUFC found other money.  One reason for including the money in the budget is that when the RUFC seeks outside money, the question of community support comes up and money in the budget would indicate support.

The mayor wanted approval to purchase land at the intersection of 850 W and Bunkum Road for a future substation. It would provide a backup connection for both the Interstate area and Rensselaer itself. The motion was approved.

On the topic of substations, it was reported that on Friday a squirrel had gotten into the Banet substation by SJC and shorted out a bunch of equipment, causing a power outage at SJC. There still needs to be a check of the transformer before it is returned to service.

In administrative comments, the mayor noted that it was tradition that the mayor approve one holiday a year. He recommended Friday, September 4 and the Council approved.

The Rock the Arts Festival may not be able to use Potawatomie Park because of saturated soil. A backup plan is to use the city parking lot next to the bowstring arch bridge and also Front Street from Washington to Kellner. The request to approve the street closing, if needed, was approved. The decision of which location will be used will be made the Tuesday before the festival. If the street has to be closed, it will be closed from late Friday until early Sunday.

There were 88 cars registered at the car show on Saturday.

The building inspector has started the legal process on some neglected properties. Actual construction of the new fire station in the form of moving dirt began today.

The city is accepting bids for the water main to I-65 and still working on the paper work needed for the high water treatment plant. Paving of the new road that connects to Gasper Drive has been delayed by the wet weather. The city has installed about 3000 feet of new gas pipeline north of the city. Replacement parts have been installed in the turbine at the power plant that was down but it still needs some testing before it will be back in service.

I mentioned blueberry season had started. At the farm we picked, the early berries on small bushes were ripe. What I found unusual was that virtually all the berries on a bush were ripe. I am used to varieties in which only some of the berries are ripe, so they get picked several times during the season.

Update: The many showers that popped up last night missed Rensselaer. We did not need the rain they produced, but neither did the areas that they hit.

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