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

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Meetings 07-05-2016

The Jasper County Commissioners met on Tuesday this month because the first Monday fell on a holiday.

Midway through the meeting a somewhat humorous issue arose. While paving a street, a roller from the county highway department hit the net of a baseball hoop and bent the pole. Most basketball hoops along roads are portable, but this one was not--it was set in concrete. The owner had made several calls to the highway department asking for reimbursement. He will get a letter from the county attorney noting that because he had no permission to set an obstruction in the county right of way, the county will pay nothing. The Commissioners could have ordered him to remove it, but they hesitated because there are so many mobile hoops and if they told him to remove his, they might have to tell those with mobile hoops that they could not place their hoops next to the roads.

(The discussion reminded me of a story I heard quite a few years ago about someone whose dogs were hit by a car and he wanted to sue the driver for damages. The attorney told him he could not win because he was supposed to have his dogs confined, not running on the highway, and that if the driver suffered any damage to his vehicle, he, the dog owner, was liable.)

Back to the dry details. Two residents from the Deer Park subdivision wanted stops signs on one of the entrances and were concerned with semi trucks that other residents had in the subdivision. Approval was given to Animal Control to hire two part-time employees and to two new members of the Animal Control Board. CDC Resources, which receives some county funding, said that they have been trying to be more efficient in how they use resources, adopting new technologies. They also are working on wellness issues. Their cliental uses an average of five more medications than the rest of the population and is three times as likely to be overweight. They also said that they were exploring options for locating a thrift store in Rensselaer. (Jasper Junction is no longer owned by CDC Resources.) The Commissions approved a rezone that the BZA passed.

The Commissioners approved the order to vacate a road that bisects land NIPSCO owns and this was a step in getting an agreement signed by NIPSCO to give money and land to the county to construct a replacement road to the east. (Some of the back story is here.) The Commissioners agreed to provide a letter for the Little Cousin Jasper Festival to support their request for a gaming license so they can run a raffle. (It is kind of strange that the state discourages gambling with tight regulation but also promotes it with its lottery. Or perhaps not--it makes money from the latter and does not want competition.) At 9:00 there was a public hearing for placing a speed limit on the stretch of CR 1100N between CR 1100W and CR 1200W. The 35-mph speed limit passed. The Jasper County Historical Society thanked the Commissioners for past support and said that they will need future support to replace logs that are rotting in the log cabin at the Fair Grounds.

The Sheriff received permission to replace a deputy who has been called to military service and will leave for Afghanistan. The sheriff reported some problems with the 201 interchange on I-65. Trucks cannot get back on going north and that has caused them to take alternative routes not meant for trucks. In response to a question, he noted the cost of a new deputy is about $100,000, including training and equipment. (That may include the car.) It takes about a year before they are up to speed and know all the rules and procedures.

There was a discussion of the procedures needed for the county to purchase land in Rensselaer. A question during the break revealed that the land in question is land the Fair Association currently leases on the west side of the fairground for parking. The procedures are spelled out in stature and do not allow much leeway. Someone noted that the toilet in the jail cell on the third floor of the Court House, which is rarely if ever used, was emitting a horrible stench. The Commissions approved the new fire station as the polling place for Marion II even though it is well west of the district.

After the break, the Commissioners discussed roads. The County has now inventoried and rated all the county roads and is prepared to seek matching grants from the state to improve them. There followed a long discussion of individual roads and how to apply for the grants that I could not follow, so I left the meeting.

In the afternoon the Drainage Board met. First on the agenda was the Town of Remington seeking to replace a tile that is no longer working and as a result causes flooding in their city park. Since it was not a county tile, the Board said that they had no jurisdiction.

There was a discussion of the Gangloff tile, the tile east of town that was damaged by the installation of a fiber optic cable. Only about 2400 feet will need to be replaced. After discussion of various options, the Board decided that the fiber optic cable needed to be a foot away and not above the tile.

There was discussion of two other tiles, the Amsler tile and the Price tile, that drain relatively small areas and although they will be expensive to clean or replace, the landowners want them fixed. A public hearing will be needed before anything is done.

Finally, a lawyer representing White County wanted signatures on an agreement. The Hoosier Lift east of Remington, which I believe no longer operates, had some lagoons that were not maintained and that have partially filled in. Because White County wants to promote development along US 24, it has agreed to take over maintenance of the lagoons. They drain into Carpenter Creek, and that is why Jasper County is involved. The details were hammered out in a meeting about a year ago and this document made them binding.

Some pictures: the Court House tree has it 4th of July decorations.

The hammering continues on Lincoln as the excavator breaks into the bedrock.

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