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

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Most of the monthly meetings of the RCSC Board coincide with meetings of the Jasper County Council, at 7:00 on the third Tuesday of the month. In September and October the School Board meets earlier so that some members can attend the Council meetings. The meeting on Tuesday night was unusually short, lasting only ten minutes. They raced through the agenda with no discussion. The next meeting will be Oct 18 at 5:00.

The Jasper County Historical Society also usually meets on third Tuesday of the month, but at 6:30. I stopped in to see what was new. The item that caught my attention was mention that the old Parr Postoffice at the Fairgrounds needs extensive repairs. Apparently much of the exterior wood has rot. There was mention that it may not be worth saving. If they do save it, the exterior will be mostly or entirely rebuilt.

The big meeting of the night was the County Council. The Council approved some additional appropriations for the Sheriff's  Department (jail repairs, medical, uniforms) and transfers for weed board, Veterans' Service, and Highway. The Sheriff noted that they had had three pregnant inmates. The Highway transfer allowed purchase of expensive equipment. The County Highway Department is almost finished chip and sealing 136 miles of roads and hopes to pave 15 before winter.

Then it was budget time. The County budget and all the others discussed at the meeting can be found at, which is fortunate because the discussion has too many numbers thrown out too quickly.

The most interesting part of the meeting is not about the County's budget but several other budgets the Council must approve. This month the budgets are presented and they will be voted on at the October meeting. The first was that of the Rensselaer Central School System, which needs Council approval because its board is appointed, not elected. It budget was slightly lower than last year's because the state has given more guidance on the capital improvements fund.

The Airport Authority had a small increase in its budget. Construction will start in the next week or two on the new T-hangar. Initially the Airport Authority Board thought that they would have to borrow for this project but the rebate of LOIT monies gave them the extra funds that they needed.

The Northwest Iroquois Solid Waste District serves six counties and get virtually all of its funds from the landfills in Newton and White Counties. They receive a ten cent per ton fee from the Newton landfill and twelve cents from the White County landfill. The Jasper County Council has budgetary oversight because it has the largest assessed valuation of the six counties in the district. It had a slight increase in budget. The District supports recycling and collection of hazardous wastes.

The Iroquois Conservancy clears logjams in the Iroquois River and has the same budget as last year. This year clearing logjams has been delayed by concerns of disrupting the Indiana Bat, which is an endangered species. The representative also noted that care must also be taken not to disrupt bald eagles that nest near the river. One of the councilmen mentioned this story. (I wonder if the proposed chicken farm at Fair Oaks Farms will suffer in the same way. If it does, it would be a major tourist draw.)

The Council passed a resolution in support of the Commissioners refinancing the last five years of the bonds for the jail. There had been talk of paying off the debt early but that would deplete reserve funds and leave the county unprepared if unexpected expenses arose. The refinancing is expected to save the county about $35,000 a year.

A citizen pointed out that way some properties are assessed is wrong. If a property is assessed for one use but is used for something else, it may be assessed at too low a value and thus not be taxed properly, thus affecting the taxes paid by everyone else. There was no suggested solution.

Lacking any other business, the Council adjourned.

I missed the Rensselaer BZA meeting last week. It granted several variances for a project that will go in north of Pizza Hut. I do not have official word, but everything I have heard is that it will be an O'Reilly Auto Parts store. So the old building Donnelly building, which is a mess, should soon be demolished.
On Tuesday morning I talked to a guy at the construction site for the high rate treatment plant and he said that the rains this summer have made work frustrating. He surprised me by saying that they still needed to construct another circular structure. There is plenty of rebar at the site and it has to go somewhere.

We are still getting some summer-like weather but that may change in the next few days. The corn in many fields looks ready for the combine.

Weston Cemetery has a bunch of ash trees marked with an X and not looking healthy. Are they victims of the emerald ash borer?
 Finally, on Park Street there is a reminder that Fall is not far away.

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