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

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Monday’s three meetings

When I arrived a few minutes late to the City Council meeting on Monday evening, the Council was in the process of passing an ordinance for raising the price of trash stickers and dumpsters. The ordinance reflected the recommendations it received in the last meeting. The price of a trash sticker will rise from $2.00 to $3.00 and the change will take effect beginning September 21.

Trace Bowles, manager of the electric utility, reported that the utility was unhappy with the performance of the company currently doing compliance reports that are required by state and federal regulators and would like to switch to a different company. He had gotten cost estimates and found that the cost would be about the same and perhaps slightly less. The Council approved the switch.

Titan Construction had inspected the roof of the gas department and found that there were serious issues with the western part of the roof. Patching would cost about $2400 and that would serve until a replacement that would cost in the range of $70,000 to $75,000. The section of the roof that needs replacement is about 70 feet by 120 feet. The Council approved the patching for $2400.

The Council approved replacing a sewer truck for $42,305. The old truck is from 1998.

The Police Department requested hiring an additional dispatch officer. They currently have five dispatch officers and eleven other officers. The issue arose when a meeting revealed that the head of the dispatch department was considering other jobs because of stress. Calls have increased in the past few years and are now running in excess of 10,000 per year. The dispatchers are the persons answering calls to the utilities when the calls are after hours, and because of that, the request suggested that the cost of the new position, which will be slightly less than $61,000, be borne by the utilities. About 47% of the utility calls are for electricity, 30% for gas, 19% for water, and 4% for sewer. There was a discussion of whether any motion would need to be passed by the Utility Board, which has the same voting members as the City Council. The Mayor suggested that the Council and Utility Board were one and the same so no special meeting would be required but the Clerk/Treasurer suggested that problems from an Owen Street project suggested that the meeting would be a good idea. In the end, a special committee of Watson, Cover, Phillps, Bowles, and C Lockridge was appointed to study the matter and report back to the Council.

In various announcements, it was revealed that the appraisal SJC had of the well site came back at $66,000. (I believe the City’s appraisal was about $19,000). Negotiations continue. A lightning strike in Saturday’s storm took out the SCADA system at the power plant and it will cost and estimated $250K to replace it. (Tuesday’s Rensselaer Republican had the details of what the SCADA system does.)

The meeting adjourned a few minutes before 7:00 giving me enough time to get to the Court House for two more meetings. The BZA had only one item on its agenda, a Meteorological Tower in Barkley Township. A permit for this project had been approved in the June meeting (which I missed because I was out of town) but the company decided to use a different location, so needed to go through the process again. The tower would be 260 feet tall with three guy wires. The comments from the audience were not directed at this tower but rather at the wind farm that this might lead to. One person wanted to know if it would affect his wife’s pacemaker. The representative of the company said that research showed that the major concerns from wind farms were the flicker effect and the noise, and as a result, towers were placed at least at a distance of 1.5 times their height from any residences. The special exception was approved but it is clear that if this leads to a wind farm proposal, there will be opposition from the area residents.

After the BZA adjourned, the Planning Commission met. The first item on the agenda was skipped because the people involved were not present. The second item was a return to an issue from the previous month, the request to rezone a ten-acre property north of the US 231/SR 14 intersection from commercial business to agricultural. After a great deal of discussion, a motion was made to deny the request and it passed 5 to 3.

The third item was for split of a property in the DeMotte-Wheatfield area.It was granted after some discussion. Finally, the section of Comprehensive Plan dealing with flood plains was amended. The change was needed to make the Plan compliant with recent changes in State regulations.

In related news, the new roof on the gazebo in Hal Gray Park has been finished.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Guess I see why SJC wanted their own appraisal now.