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

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Commissioners meeting Feb 13 2017

The Commissioners meeting on Monday lasted almost three hours. The highlight came early with an unexpected appearance by Judge Potter while the Wabash Valley representatives were making their presentation, a presentation that was very similar to that given at the County Council meeting last month.

Judge Potter stopped in to tell the Commissioners that two tiles had fallen off the roof of the Court House. When he was asked if he had any questions about Wabash Valley, he was amazingly blunt in saying that the judicial system and law enforcement did not have a good relationship with Wabash Valley, that they avoided using them when there were other options. He said that Wabash Valley was understaffed and it could take weeks or months to get an appointment. The people from Wabash Valley acknowledged that they were understaffed but said that it was hard to recruit therapists to the community.

Wabash Valley gets about $200,000 from the County and the Commissioners approved the expenditure.

Almost all Commissioners meetings talk a bit about the Frost Law, but this one had more than the usual discussion. A citizen who is a trucker but was speaking as a private citizen said that he thought the law as presently enforced was unfair. He noted that some heavy trucks could use the roads but others that were identical in size and weight could not. He suggested that a permitting system be established, that the county class some roads as primary and others a secondary with different frost-law requirements, and that the law take into account weight per axle. He even volunteered to help in formulating these changes.

Later in the meeting the Sheriff was asked about these suggestions. He thought the permits would be a good idea. It would allow for flexibility and would also be a way to designate truck routes. The goal of the county is to have trucks use county roads as little as possible during the time when the frost law is in effect. By designating routes the trucks would be required to use state highways, which are built to withstand the effects of the frost thawing, for as much of the route as possible even if it meant that the truck traveled a few extra miles. Also, many other counties both in Indiana and in other states have permits so the County would have their experience to use in drawing up a system.

When the Commissioners instituted the Frost Law last year they knew that they would have to make changes as experience revealed problems. I suspect that by next year the Frost Law will have a permit system built into it.

There were many other items on the agenda. A couple citizens wanted the County to vacate right-of-ways for alleys or roads that had never been developed. The Commissioners pointed them to the proper procedures needed to do what they wanted. (Notification of neighbors and a public meeting are needed before any action by the Commissioners.) The Commissioners discussed with NITCO what they would like in future requests to install cable. The Commissioners prefer installation be done by boring. Trenching is acceptable but they do not like plowing. (I am not sure what the difference is between trenching and plowing.) They also want installers to record what other utilities or tiles they encounter and give those records to the County. (The County does not know about many of the private tiles that are installed.)

The Sheriff gave a short report. He said that in 2016 the jail had an average census of 80 and during the year 84,000 meals were served. Bids were opened for repair of the northern annex. The only completed bid was from Hamstra for $22,750.

NIPSCO reported on an extensive project to provide natural gas to about 170 customers in the Georgetown subdivision. It will be a three-month project and will use an outside contractor.

In the afternoon the Drainage Board met. It did not have the agenda posted outside the room and I have never been able to find their agenda on the Internet so I had a hard time following the discussion. They heard the drainage plans for another robotic dairy--I think it was for the Herrema Dairy, which was approved last year by the BZA. Construction will begin very soon and milking should begin in July. The time from start to milk is only five months.

The Christmas tree that I have enjoyed photographing as it underwent changing decorations to match the season has been removed from the second floor of the Court House. According to a lady in the auditors office, it was deteriorating. New on the second floor is one of the bicentennial torches, shown below with a reflection of Jasper the Bison, also on display on the second floor.
Indiana has many interesting Court Houses. The blog post here has pictures of them.

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