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

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

City Council 2-13-2017

The City Council meeting on Monday evening started a minute or two late because the Board of Public Works meeting that preceded it was unusually long. These meetings generally last ten minutes and much of their agenda is approving pay requests to contractors. I think the reason this one went long was the design-build item for renovating the old fire house. The Board agreed to the proposal that was before it to hire a contractor.

The big item on the Council agenda was awarding bids for the City's electric substation on Bunkum Road. However, this item was pulled because whoever was evaluating the bids that had been opened at the last meeting wanted more time to check some things. The rest of the agenda was routine. The gas tracker for February will be a nine cent decrease per hundred cubic feet. (January had seen a big increase.) The mayor made some appointments to various committees and the Council made a couple, and then elected George Cover as its president. (I think the position allows him to chair the council in the absence of the mayor.) The Council approved a request from the police department to trade in their service weapons for new weapons. The accepted bid was not the low bid but the Police Chief said that some services the bidder (which was the gun manufacturer) offered made the higher bid the better deal. The value of the trade reduced the cost by more than 50%.

There were a number of interesting updates. INDOT is doing a phase II check for contamination on their old site in the northeast part of town. The mayor said that this is a good thing because it ties INDOT to the property in case a future cleanup is mandated. Construction on the rebuilding of the Washington Street bridge will begin on September 17. Changing the intersection by Mount Calvary Cemetery has been pushed back to 2018. The Mayor said that he was blindsided by the closing of Saint Joseph'c College. He noted that it will reduce City utility revenue by about $1 million a year. (The College relies on City gas, electric, and sewage.) A question was asked if this might impact the purchase of the well. It should not. The City has a signed purchase agreement for $66,000 and the lender (Farm Credit) has allowed a mortgage release--pretty much everything at SJC seems to be collateral for its $27 million in debt.

Demolition of the Park View Apartment building that burned last summer began late last week and should be completed by the end of this week.
The gas utility announced that its annual open house will be on April 28.

Testing of some of the systems at the high rate treatment plant began this week. On Monday three pumps were set into place. The project is now 86% complete and it should be on-line in mid March.
Finally and unrelated to the Council meeting, walls have begun to rise on what apparently will be the new building for the Marathon station on Vine Street.

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