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

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

City Council July 25, 2016

The most interesting items from Monday’s City Council meeting were not on the agenda.

The meeting began with an approval of a street closing: Susan Street next to St. Augustine’s School for the Fall Frolic on Sept 17. Later in the meeting the Council approved another road closure, Angelica between Weston and Cullen for some kind of lunch on August 28 from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm.

Project Manager Jerry Lockridge gave a list of street improvements that will be included in a grant applications to the State. The total cost is a bit more than $853,000 and if the all applications are funded, one half would be picked up by the State. (County officials have been busy working on a similar grant for County roads, but they are hoping for a million dollars in matching funds.) There was a reporter from the Lafayette Journal and Courier and after the meeting he sat down with Mr Lockridge for more info. He is apparently working on a story of how counties and cities are approaching this grant opportunity.

The Council approved purchasing MS Office software for the new laptops that the Council members have. The cost is about $1400 and will be paid by the four city utilities.

In Administrative comments, the mayor reported that he had been in contact with INDOT about their abandoned site that is in the north part of town (bounded by Scott, Oak, Webster, and Maple Streets). There are still few things that have to be worked out but it seems likely that the property may soon be handed over to the city.

Below is a picture of the property. It has almost a square block of pavement and three old buildings that are falling apart.
The City’s payment for Hoosier State rail service will be larger by $93.63 each month. The service is subsidized by the cities along the route and the State of Indiana.

A question was asked about the status of the appraisal of the SJC land on which the water well was drilled. The City thought they had an agreement in which they would buy the land if the well came in to desired specifications, but SJC decided that they wanted another appraisal. It seems highly likely that the delays will make it impossible for the City to apply for an OCRA grant that would have paid about half of the cost of running the water main from the well to the city treatment plant. (I recall when the new president of SJC came into office, there was a promise of better town-gown relations. That possibility is now gone. This incident has created a lot of ill-will.)

The police department is still looking at ways the old fire station can be used. Trace Bowles, manager of operations for the electric utility, reported on the IMPA meeting he and the mayor attended. The city is not allowed to generate power for the community. It is under contract to purchase 100% of its power from IMPA. When it generates, it sells the power to IMPA at the contracted price. The power plant has been generating for most of July.

The gas department will have its roof inspected. It has some leaks. The High Rate Treatment Plant has had some flooding problems with recent rains. Construction of the control building continues.

Comfort Suites has been open for about a month and is doing well. The other motels do not notice declines in business, so the market seems to have expanded. (People like to get off the Interstate when there are choices, so this is not too surprising.) Jasper the Bison will be at Rock the Arts on Saturday. (Monday’s Rensselaer Republican had two good articles about our bison.)

In an unrelated topic, earlier this month NICHES showed a video about their biggest Jasper County property, the Fisher Oak Savannah. It is now on-line and can be viewed here. Below is an attempt to embed it in this post.

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