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

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

County Council 5-17-2016

The County Council meeting last night was more interesting for things not on the agenda than for the agenda items. Most of the agenda involved approving appropriations or transferring funds for Animal Control, Technology, Community Corrections, Extension, and Emergency Planning.

A member of the Animal Control Board requested that the Council approve a salary increase for the Animal Control director. He noted that last year all positions except three in the county had been granted a pay increase and the director of Animal Control was one of those three. Several members of the Animal Control Board plus a couple of others who were interested in the workings of department attended the meeting and spoke in favor of the increase, noting that the director had come into the position facing a great deal of hostility and that that hostility had been replaced with good will. They also noted that the department was being efficiently managed. The Council will consider the request at its next meeting.

A communication for the Jasper County Public Library informed the Council that they will need to make an appointment to the Library Board to replace a member whose term is running out. There was a question about why the term would run out in the middle of the year. If you would like to be on the Library Board, lobby your favorite Council member.

The Council broke into small conversations about a salary ordinance for 2016. It was passed. I did not catch why the previous ordinance needed to be amended.

The decision of the Local Option Income Tax, which had been scheduled for the May meeting, will apparently take place in the July meeting. The existing local income taxes, the CAGIT, CEDIT, COIT and whatever else there is, are being eliminated and realigned into new categories.  There is a lot of confusion as the change is being made, but upon investigation and asking the state officials for information, the view was that if a change was passed in May, it would have to be passed again in July. There is still an upcoming state meeting to discuss the changes in the law and several Council members will attend it. The July meeting will be on the fourth Tuesday of the month rather than the third because of the County Fair.

A citizen from the north end of the county then addressed the Council and I only partially understood what he was talking about. He is concerned that farmers in the flood plain are violating an ordinance by putting in dams in the drainage ditches and that this increased flood damage last year. That in turn affected crop insurance payments and that the failure to enforce the ordinance makes the County liable for the damage. The Council does not have jurisdiction and told him it was something for the lawyers to work out.

Tax abatements will be on the agenda for the June meeting. It will be an interesting meeting because each company tells what it has been doing to meet the terms of the original abatement.

Kevin Kelley announced that new visitor brochures had been printed and will soon be distributed. There was a large group of KV students attending the meeting, so he was asked to explain what was happening on the southwest corner of the I-65/SR 10 intersection. He explained that Compass Holdings had purchased 50 acres and planned a travel center or truck stop that would include a gas station, a Dunkin Donuts (which they were thrilled to hear), possibly another restaurant and perhaps a motel in the future.

Someone noted that the target date for the opening of the Comfort Suites was June 1. It may have been after the meeting that there was a brief discussion that the Rensselaer City Council will soon have to fill another vacancy on the School Board. One of their appointees will be moving to a new job.

I have been busy with home maintenance, trying to take advantage of the cool weather, so am not spending much time on this blog. I did notice that there were preparations in the park for the summer. The pool had a hose in it, either for cleaning or filling  and the infield of the softball field at Brookside Park was getting a new surface.

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