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

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

City Council meeting 4-25-2016

I arrived a few minutes late to the City Council meeting on Monday night, but did catch the last of the Citizens' Comments section in which a 40-year employee of Walgreens was being honored by the store.

There were a number of ordinances on the agenda. A drug fund was set up to collect money confiscated from drug arrests. Then a series of ordinances wrote off bad utility debt from bills prior to 2011: water, $4435.60; sewage, $7139. 79; electric, $16,150.79; gas, 14,407.15; and sanitation, $1.760.49. (Some of those numbers may be off because I did not write them down correctly or because I cannot read my own handwriting.) Even though the debt has been written off, if anyone who owes any of this money applies for city utilities, they will not be granted city utilities until their unpaid bills are paid.

A consultant with a company called First Group made a presentation offering help in preparing a road assessment. A road assessment is a necessary item if the City wants to apply for a new program of state grants that is designed to encourage more preventative maintenance on local roads and streets. This is the same program that was discussed at last weeks County Council. The state will match local spending dollar-for-dollar if the local unit gets a grant. One Council member asked why a long term plan for road assessment was needed for a program that may only give grants for a couple years. The answer was that the State wants cities to recognize where they are now and what their future costs will be. The Council approved signing the contract for $22,400.

The Council approved closing part of the street in front of City Hall on May 20 for a surplus auction. The law says that the only way that the City can dispose of surplus property is by auction. (Here is a link to the City auction of 2012 that has a link to the auction of 2010.)

There was a short discussion of the School Board opening. Applications must be made before noon on May 9.

A company for California, Black Dot Capital, has inquired about buying the agreements that the City has with Verizon and Sprint to use the water towers as cell towers. These agreements are worth more money than the City realized and it can either sell them or it can renegotiate them when they come due in a few years. At this point the City wants more information.

In other items and announcements, the Police Department will be tagging abandoned vehicles as we approach clean up week. The grand opening for the new fire station will be Jun 25, 11:00-2:00. The target date for the opening of the pool is Memorial Day. Practical Tree Service removed 29 trees and has ground most of the stumps. The Council approved a road closing for Augusta Street on May 21 for a graduation party. National Gypsum may break ground for their expansion in May. The Comfort Suites is nearing completion. Saturday is town-wide garage sale day.

If you drive in the country you will notice farmers are busy in the fields. In addition to the town-wide yard sale this weekend, the Farmers Market begins its season. Steffen's Jewelry celebrates its 60th anniversary and Big Dog Sales and Rentals has its annual open house.

As for a picture, today heavy equipment was removing the stumps along Lincoln Street.

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