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

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Commissioners meeting 12-5-2016

The Commissioners Meeting on Monday morning had a young audience--ten or twelve students from Paul Norwine's KV class were learning about county government. Although they did not stay very long, they were there for the public hearing on Kniman Road (CR 900N). In a past meeting citizens had complained about the traffic on the road and asked for a speed limit. Apparently the volume of traffic is due in part to people from the Medaryville area finding it the shortest route to I-65. After the hearing, the Commissioners approved placing a 45 mph speed limit on the stretch between SR 49 and US 231 (except in Kniman, where the speed limit will remain at 35 mph) and a stop sign at CR 400W. There have been a number of accidents at that intersection, including two with fatalities.

The Commissioners approved contracts with Lake and Porter Counties for juvenile detention. The contracts guarantee that Jasper County will have a place to jail them. The cost is $140 per night in Porter and $150 in Lake.

The Commissioners went off agenda to hear an update on the NIPSCO road replacement. I could not follow the discussion, which was about how the road would be built. They also were off agenda to hear from the County Coroner about preparing a bid contract for repairs and renovation to the northern annex building.

Bill Batley, the County's IT administrator, discussed some measures to make the county data system more secure. Apparently the biggest threat is people opening malicious attachments to e-mails, and the County will hire a company to train employee what to watch for. He mentioned that the air conditioning for the server room was approaching  the end of its life and had sought three bids for replacement. He discussed with the Commissioners different options for a back-up generator and they decided that he should go with a 48KW system. Stace Pickering presented a insurance policy for cyber coverage and the Commissioners approved it for $3126.25 per year.

The Commissioners approved hiring to fill a vacancy in Community Corrections. They heard a request to vacate an alley from a Wheatfield resident and decided that it was something that fell under the jurisdiction of Wheatfield. They discussed a rezoning decision from the BZA for a change from A1 to A2 and decided to table it for the next meeting. (The Commissioners must approve all BZA decisions.) They heard a request to put a sewer line in the County right of way from Gentleman Toms in Kersey. The restaurant currently is on a septic system and because of its location, that does not work. They want to bore a one and a half inch pressurized sewer line to connect to the DeMotte sewer system, which is about 1000 feet away. The Commissioners approved that, and approved  another aspect of the project later in the Drainage Board meeting.

The Commissioners opened bids for tires, stone and gravel, hauling, and machine rental. They accepted all bids. The hauling fees for stone and gravel can exceed the cost of the stone and gravel and it costs about $120 per hour to rent a bulldozer. They then opened five bids for the replacement of Bridge 123, which is north of Parr on the Iroquois River. Later in the meeting they accepted the low bid from JCI Bridge Group from LaPorte. All bids were higher than the engineers estimate and the low bid was $383,275.46.

The Chief Deputy presented the Sheriff's report. The Commissioners approved the Sheriff's contract, which was for the same pay as last year. They also approved filling three replacement slots and one new slot in the jail. One vacancy was from a switch within the Sheriff's Department, one had left for a position on the east coast, and one left to start business as a plumber. The new slot had been approved by the County Council for 2017. He said that the communication equipment on the tower north or Rensselaer should be operational before the end of the year. The department wants to switch gas cards from a BP card to a state issued fleet card that gives more options. On December 14 there will be a meeting at 9:00 am in Rensselaer City Hall about a program that Teen Challenge has for opioid addition counseling. A similar program will be held at First Reformed Church at 11:00 for the northern part of the county.

Havel gave an update on the work they have done at the Court House and the Jail. There is a great deal of dissatisfaction with their work at the Court House, which was to automate the heating and cooling on the third floor. Some of the problems may be timing--the temperatures are turned down at night to save energy and are not turned up early enough in the morning. Control of the system still has not been turned over to local  people. The Court House is not energy efficient.

The Christmas holiday for next year will be Monday and Tuesday rather than Friday and Monday. There was some discussion of changes that needed to be made in the Frost Law. The County has been improving roads that have heavy truck traffic so that they will not need to be covered by the Frost Law. The meeting ended with a variety of signings and mostly routine things.

The Commissioners will meet again on Dec 27 to deal with anything that has to be done before the end of the year.

A few other things: The foundations are in for the apartments being constructed on North Elza.
There was another big concrete pour at the high rate treatment plant. It seemed that they were finishing things inside the structure.

The  planters on the Court House steps have new decorations.

(Updated.)

1 comment:

Grey Friar said...

Did the folks in the courthouse get around to shovel the steps?