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

Monday, October 5, 2015

October Commissioners Meeting

The October Commissioners' Meeting was short--it lasted less than two and a half hours. They approved and signed some contracts and took care of lots of things that seemed unimportant to me but I am sure are important to the people involved.

One of the first items was signing a letter to NIPSCO that changed the people that NIPSCO should recognize as representing the county. The county is installing a back-up generator at the Sheriff's Annex near DeMotte and it will use natural gas. Currently nothing can be done with trying to get NIPSCO to agree to provide natural gas because the people NIPSCO recognized as representing Jasper County are no longer employed by the county. (Editorial comment omitted.)

Community Corrections received permission to replace an officer who is leaving and also to add a few circuits to their kitchen, which is tripping circuit breakers fairly frequently. Animal Control had a variety of small items that needed attention. The Soil and Water Conservation District wanted to replace a part-time worker and the county to pay the full salary of their program specialist. The memorandum of understanding that they have with the county needs to be renewed.

There was a short explanation by a representative the Nature Conservancy about wetland restoration on a property just north of Jasper-Pulaski. I am not sure why this was on the agenda because the infringement of the county right of way that put it on the agenda had been eliminated with a change in where they were placing a culvert.

There was an appointment to the Tourism Commission, Ann Marie Lynch representing SJC. SJC has a representative on Tourism Commission because it pays the hotel tax on the rooms it rent for summer events like band camps.

The county signed a contract with EMCOR to redo the heat and air handing controls for the third floor of the court house. This is a first step in upgrading the entire heating/cooling system for the building. It will, according to the engineer's estimate, save enough money on utility bills to pay for itself in six years. The total cost of this stage is a bit over $200,000. The commissioners had some questions about timing of payments and EMCOR accepted their revisions to delay final payment until after work was completed and judged satisfactory.

The commissioners approved a contract to hire a consultant to work on a revision of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). There was discussion about new federal audit requirements. The feds are moving towards having local governments subject to financial reporting requirements similar to those for publicly traded corporations and the discussion today was about some sort of risk assessment group. The issue will return at a future meeting.

The Sheriff had several items. A corrections officer is moving to a new job and his position will be filled by someone who is currently part-time, opening the part-time slot. The Sheriff wanted permission to fill the part-time slot. Two contracts moving the communication tower project forward were signed, one with Motorola and the other with Midway Electronics, which owns the tower. The lease of the tower is for twenty years with a ten percent increase every five years. When the tower is in service, it will become the main communication tower with the current main tower near Monon going into a secondary role. A renewal of a heating and cooling contract was approved and signed. It will cost more but it increases the services provided. There was discussion of how to comply with House Enrollment Act 1269 that involves getting Indiana residents spending more than 30 days in the county jail enrolled in Medicaid. The law was apparently not well crafted and no one seems to agree on exactly what it means. Finally, the Sheriff says that his office serves tax warrants for the state and the county gets 10% of the proceeds back. However, his office can also charge a $25 processing charge on each warrant and it is not presently doing so. An ordinance is needed and that will probably come at a future meeting

There was a brief discussion of whether the county annex building that houses the surveyor's office should convert to natural gas. Apparently the city has recently run a gas main up that way. The issue will probably come up again with a better sense of the costs of conversion.

There were other things discussed. The meeting was continued until Oct 19th when it will be reconvened if there are agenda items.

Our picture for today is from the Court House, which is full of interesting border patterns. Recently I have become interested in the classification of borders and patterns. This one looks like it has both vertical and horizontal symmetry, but it has neither. If you flip it either horizontally or vertically the pattern will not line up with the original. However, if you rotate it 180 degree, it does reproduce itself. It belong in group p2.

There are only seven groups of repeating frieze symmetry patterns. The 17 wallpaper groups are more interesting.

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