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

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Meetings, July 27, 2015

The City Council meeting for Monday night had a short agenda. The electric department asked for permission to seek quotes for a truck to replace a 1997 model. The Waste Water Treatment Plant will have the only class 3 operator retire and the city needs someone with that certification to fill out paper work. The retiring employee has agreed to work as an independent contractor 10 to 20 hours a month until another employee achieves certification, which may be a couple years off. The fire chief briefed the Council on the need to replace fire fighter breathing apparatus, which is nearing the end of its 15 year of useable service. The department is seeking a grant, but if the grant does not come through, another way will be needed to finance the replacement of the equipment.

Ernest Watson said that he would like to see soccer fields on the old Monnett School property. He said that he has talked to the RCS officials and has their cooperation. A committee composed of Watson, Councilman Hollerman, and Police Chief Phillips was appointed to look into the matter. Since the Park Board recently decided that they would like ball fields on the site, the discussions should be interesting.

The Clerk-Treasurer said that the Council needed to have a special meeting to discuss salaries. It has to be an open meeting and it is tentatively scheduled for August 5 at 5:30.

The representative for the city attorney discussed the agreement that is being worked on for having TV Cable install Internet in all city buildings. During the discussion it was mentioned that TV Cable pays a $9 a month rental for each city utility pole it uses.

Mike Murphy is retiring at the end of the week as Street Department Superintendent. He has been with the city for 17 years.  The transformer at the Banet substation has tested as OK and will be returning to service. (A squirrel gave it life in causing a power outage and considerable damage to the substation a few weeks ago.) The power plant has engine 14 back in normal operation.

The meeting adjourned with plenty of time to walk over to the Court House to attend the meeting of the Board of Zoning Appeals. There were two items on the agenda. One was from Rose Acre Farms for a special exception and a variance for a distribution center at US 231 and I-65. (It seems to be the property that once held the Carson Inn. However, the legal notice that the paper was supposed to publish was not published, so the item was continued until a special meeting for August 10 at 7:00. The project is on the agenda for the Drainage Board's Aug 3 meeting and it will also eventually need IDEM approval.

The other item was for a special exception for a cell phone tower along I-65 in the very northern part of the county. I think the variance was only to avoid landscaping, which was not an issue because the tower will be built in a storage facility and the base of the tower will not be visible from public roads. The tower will be built by SBA Communications and space on the tower will be rented by Verizon to handle some of the load it has at that location. Apparently the heavy demand for data has overloaded Verizon's current tower and it can be fined if it does not meet certain performance standards. There will also be space on the 195 foot tower for three other carriers. It seems that the the rapid increase in demand for bandwidth is such a problem that companies that would normally be competing are cooperating in trying to expand capacity. The representative for the project said a few years ago he was doing twenty cell towers a year and now he is doing 100.

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