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

Friday, November 18, 2016

Meetings and more

Our unseasonably warm weather will end this weekend as some late fall or early winter weather moves in. I have been busy trying to do some outside chores to get ready for winter but I will not get as many done as I would like.

Stores are getting ready for Christmas. Strack and Van Til has its Christmas trees stocked and the city has installed the street decorations.

Last Tuesday had more meetings than the usual third Tuesday. In addition to meetings of the Jasper County Historical Society, the Rensselaer Central School Board, and the Jasper County Council, the Rensselaer Park Board met. Its meeting was very short. Someone noted that the gazebo in Hal Gray Park was being painted. There has not yet been a meeting between Park representatives and leaders of the Saint Joseph College soccer program to iron out plans for next season. Heather Hall will become a part-time program director beginning January 1. There will be no December meeting and the January meeting will be on January 2.

The County Council had a short agenda but the meeting still lasted more than an hour. After approving minutes for October,  the Council heard Judge Ahler's request for an additional appropriation to pay for new court recorders. His request for an additional court recorder had been granted by the Commissioners (his long-time recorder had taken another job and training people for the job takes time, which is why he wanted a second person) but the funds were not in the budget. He could have asked to transfer money from another part of his budget but wanted to be clear to the Council about what was happening. The request was granted.

The sheriff requested additional money for part-time court house security and for jail utilities and both were granted. He noted that the recent work on the heating and cooling system at the jail had reduced its utility bill by $30K to $35K per year but that the jail population was in the 80s and that resulted in more water usage. There was a short discussion about the drug problem in the county. He said that heroin is now a bigger problem than meth. He mentioned Vivitrol as a possible help but noted that the treatment was quite expensive. He ended with a little rant about how government programs to fight the problem seem to quickly get bogged down in collecting statistics and paperwork.

The Council approved a salary adjustment for the assessor and approved an additional appropriation of $140 for the Drainage Board. It passed a series of mostly small transfers for a variety of departments (one was for $16) and reappointed a person to the Remington Carpenter Township Library Board. It approved a meeting schedule for 2017. The Council will meet on the third Tuesday of the month except in July (the 11th) and October (the 24th). The auditor noted that the State had completed its audit of the County for 2014. Mr. Bontreger reported on a conference call from Standard and Poor about the refinancing of the jail. The County has a very good bond rating, either AA or AA+. Gary Fritts had found a document at the state website detailing how property taxes would be changing and said that people who own homes in Jasper County may see a slight increase.

Jasper is now on the second floor of the Court House.
I have a few pictures from last weekend that I have not posted. The Prairie Arts League had their annual Christmas sale. I avoided the rush on Friday night and stopped by on Saturday morning.
Next door the First Christian Church had a rummage sale. The price was reasonable, $3 per bag, but the word must not have gotten out because there were few people there.
Speaking of sales, this one looks like it might be fun if you if you want something to do the day after Black Friday.

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