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

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Meetings, Nov 7, 2016

The Commissioners meeting on Monday morning was more interesting than the short agenda suggested it would be. After some routine preliminaries, there was a discussion of a road (I think it is 250E) that crosses through NIPSCO property and that the county had agreed to vacate with the agreement that NIPSCO would finance a new road to take its place (at 300E). NIPSCO has built a gate and either will soon or has already closed the road to the public. NIPSCO claims a liability issue. The County had assumed the road would remain open until the replacement was completed. NIPSCO may or may not have worked out agreements with several groups that rely on the road.

The commissioners approved an agreement pending review by legal council that the County Recorder had with a company to have documents from large title companies submitted electronically. After a discussion of the need for building repairs at Community Corrections and reviewing two bids that could not be compared because both were partial, the Commissioners suggested that a third party review the situation and prepare a new bid form. After a Bicentennial recap by one of the torch bearers, the Commissioners heard more about bids for changes or repairs, this time from the County Coroner for the County Annex east of DeMotte.

The presentation by the Sheriff had three major items. The good news was that the jail passed its annual inspection and he gave the report to the Commissioners as required by state law. The average census of the jail is in the low to mid 80s. Several inmates are being held for level six felonies; the state now requires that they be housed in the county jails, and though it reimburses the counties for about $35 per day, the actual cost is closer to $56.

The second item was a discussion of River Bend Hospital, which is a psychiatric hospital that the state has assigned the county to use. A recent incident with a prisoner who was suicidal caused great frustration and there was no clear alternative.

Finally, the Sheriff said that over the weekend an unnamed Indiana county had been subject to a cyberattack, a case of ransomware. The county had brought in security experts but it was not clear that they would be able to unlock the systems or files. The Commissioners agreed that a meeting should be held to discuss how Jasper County can protect itself from a similar attack. Those who would attend would be those who have a responsibility to insure that the computer systems are secure.

Several routine or minor issues followed. The final item that was of interest was a comment from a member of the public. His wife and dog had been attacked by another dog. The attacking dog had attacked seven other people before this attack, and it was finally declared a dangerous dog and euthanized. The question the citizen raised is why a dog that had repeatedly attacked people in Rensselaer was not put down earlier and why the owner of such a dog can largely escape the consequences of his dog's behavior. (Apparently the dog owner was fined $100 by the City of Rensselaer.) There was no clear answers to the questions.

After a few other items, the Commissioners took a recess and then reconvened in executive session.

The Drainage Board had a long agenda but had nothing that was of general public interest. It discussed what might be done for several tiles, approved some drainage plans, and opened bids for five projects. The difference between high bids and low bids on those projects was often a factor of two or three.

The meeting lasted over past two o'clock and when it was over I noticed that the long lines for early voting had mostly disappeared. So I asked it I could vote and was told that signing up to vote had ceased at noon. The people still voting had waited for over two hours to vote.

Speaking of voting, today is election day. Are there people who decide for whom they will vote based on the signs in front of the polling place? If there are, should they be voting?
By the way, none of the Jasper County voting machines is connected to the Internet.

(edited to clarify a sentence)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"The Commissioners agreed that a meeting of people with a vested interest to discuss how Jasper County can protect itself from a similar attack."

Does that mean they'll have another public meeting about just that?