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

Thursday, June 23, 2016

County Council, 06-21-2016

The County Council meeting on Tuesday rearranged its agenda so that Brad Cozza could present an appropriation request for the airport and then leave to get to the Rensselaer Central School Board meeting. The airport wants to build a new T-hangar building and has the funds to do it, but needed the Council to authorize the spending, which it did. (Mr Cozza is leaving the airport at the end of the month and the Airport Authority Board is hosting a going-away party this afternoon (Thursday) from 4:00 to 7:00.)

In other appropriations, the Council approved some bookkeeping that will allow the prosecutor's office to use forfeiture funds for trial expenses and an extra $5000 for extradition expenses for the superior court. There are companies that return people who have skipped bail and they send a bus around the country collecting and delivering those being extradited. The Council also approved an extra $2000 for warning siren repairs and a pay raise of about $700 for the head of Animal Control. There was a dissenting vote on the last item because of concerns that it might set an undesirable precedent.

Minutes from the last meeting were then approved with the note that the next Council meeting would be July 12.

Then the more interesting part of the meeting began, the review and re-approval of tax abatements. These were all granted in the past, with the companies agreeing to certain conditions in return for the tax break, and they then come before the Council each year to explain how they are doing with what they promised would happen. First up was Advance Auto. They currently employ 369 people plus another 158 temps who come to them through agencies. Those temps can become full-time employees if they work out. The average pay for employees is $16.05 plus benefits. The starting pay is $13.75 and every six months there is a $.50 bump with a final bump of $1.00. After three years the employee will earn $17.00 and any future increase depends on performance.

When Advance Auto first started, they were making 500 shipments per week and are now doing 1320. Their turnover has been reduced by 58% from last year. They said that increases in wage and also little things to make the work-place more friendly have helped. They would like to see more housing in the Remington-Wolcott area; the housing market is tight and some of their employees who might otherwise move there are living in Lafayette because they cannot find suitable housing. They are on year eight of ten of the abatement.

IBEC said it was running at 100% capacity and was producing 150,000 gallons of ethanol each day. They have 38 employees. Most of their abatement is expired but they still have some on a recent addition.

Wilson Industrial Sales said its head count was flat. Total employees including the Ulyat Trucking Company is 56. The two businesses are mostly autonomous because Wilson uses tanker trucks and Ulyat dump trucks. Wilson Fertilizer is a separate company owned by the family and remains in the Brook area.

DeKalb-Monsanto is back to full capacity after a down year caused by overproduction in previous years. They have added five people in the past year. They are doing some expansion. Finally, there was no representative from Remington Seeds but based on the written report, continuation of their abatement was approved.

The Council had two names to consider for the Jasper County Library Board and approved Kevin Kaluf. They finished the meeting with a discussion of a meeting about changes in the LOIT that several members had attended. The conclusion was that the whole area remains confused.

No pictures today--I used them all in yesterday's post.