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

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The start of a long meeting

I stopped by the new fire station on Tuesday.
There was something missing: the construction trailer and the sign.
The parking lot looked like it needed a final layer of asphalt, but the facility looks ready to go.

On Tuesday evening the County Council had a long meeting, lasting two and a half hours. Some scouts were there to earn a merit badge--they chose poorly. Rarely does a Council meeting last so long.

There were several items discussed. The first was a request from the sheriff for an additional appropriation, which led to questions on a variety of other topics. The communication tower north of town will probably be in service on July 1. The concrete pad for the equipment building was delayed by the frost law and is now being completed. The current jail population is 93, with the number of female inmates exceeding the capacity of the female pod. About 125 people die each day in the US from drug overdoses. In the past two years Jasper County has had nine of those deaths, and some who died had previously been revived with Narcan but still went back to the drugs.

The airport wanted money moved to pay some bills. The bids for a new hangar are due back at the end of the month. The fuel farm will be under construction in May and June and during that time the airport will not be selling fuel. The date of the annual fly-in is July 9.

The Commissioners reported on the one-time distribution from the LOIT (pronounced low it) stabilization fund. This fund was set up to smooth the flow of money collected from the county income tax, and it did not have a mechanism to return money to the counties. So over time over $10 million has accumulated in this fund and it is now being returned. The county will get about $6 million, and other branches of government will get the rest. Rensselaer will get about million and the Jasper County Public Library will get about a million. There is no time limit on spending it, but 75% of what is coming to the county must be spent on roads or bridges and the money has to be identified so that in the future the state can check to see if it was spent the way it was supposed to be spent. The stabilization funds have been cleaned out and will not be allowed to accumulate as much in the future.

The request of the Commissioners was to allow them to use the 25% not mandated for roads to be used for roads as well because the state has set up a new grant program for roads and one of the ways a county can match the grant is with the discretionary part of the distribution from the stabilization fund. The Council granted the request.

The rest of the meeting was devoted to a discussion of the LOIT. I will try to get a post up about that discussion for tomorrow, probably to be titled, "The end of a long meeting". There will be a vote on the topic at May's Council meeting.

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