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

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

More meetings

The Drainage Board met on Monday. There were two public hearings and five bid openings. The first public hearing was about Randle Lateral to the Ryan. It was a ditch that had replaced a clogged tile, done by the landowners. The landowners had said something about the county maintaining it, which to the county meant that a maintenance fund would be placed on it, resulting in a tax on the landowners. The letter to the landowners, and there were only a handful because the ditch is very short, where shocked by the numbers in the letters. It was explained that the form letter is confusing and that what they were interpreting as an annual fee was a fee for four years. (The Board attorney said that he will draft a new form.) After four years the maintenance fund should be built enough so the tax can come off. The matter was deferred until the landowners in attendance could discuss what they wanted to do. They eventually decided they would take care of the ditch themselves so the Board did not establish a maintenance fund for it.

The other public hearing drew no interest so the Board approved cleaning the ditch involved.

One project received not bids, three one bid, and one three bids.

Listening to the discussion of these and several other areas of concern, it struck me that if people were not constantly working to defeat Mother Nature, much of this area would in just a few decades return to the swamp land that was here before settlement.

In the evening the Rensselaer Park Board met. They approved a request for using Brookside Park for a Bark for Life event on April 30. Bark for Life is sponsored by American Cancer Society, which also sponsors Relay for Life events.

People involved with the soccer program discussed their experiences this past fall with soccer in the city park. They liked the parking and overall were pleased. They had seven fields and also used one at SJC. They would like eight fields. They said that they could not use some space because of a manhole cover and stones and cinders. To have sponsorship of the program moved from SJC to the Park Department requires some additional discussion with the people involved at SJC. The Board passed a motion to allow the traveling soccer team to use the field at Brookside Park.

Appointments to the Park Board were announced. The only change was that Ernest Watson will be the City Council's representative on the Board, replacing Scott Barton. Since Mr Watson played a key role in getting the soccer program onto the old Monnett and Staddon Field properties, I expect him to be an advocate for soccer.

The legal transfer of the Staddon Field area from the RCSC to the Jasper Foundation still has not happened. The needed title work has not been completed.

The Board then began to discuss fund raising needed to put their plans into operation. I left before they finished their discussion.

On Wednesday there was a meeting of the Rensselaer tax abatement compliance committee. Because I had no idea of what this group did, I decided to go and find out. The committee consisted of the mayor, the building inspector, the clerk treasurer, and two councilmen, Hollerman and Odle. (This may have been Mr Odle's first official duty as a councilman.) The matter at hand was tax abatement for National Gypsum.  They are planning to build a 50,000 square foot warehouse that will add about ten people to their workforce--they currently employ 42. Their goal is for construction to start in the first quarter of this year and to be completed in the first quarter of 2017. The committee approved both the real estate exemption for $3,200,000 and the personal property exemption for $9,000,000. These approvals must be approved by the full City Council and the items will be on the Council's agenda for the January 11 meeting.

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