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

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

City Council meeting 03-27-2017

The first part of the City Council meeting on Monday was filled with legally required items. There was another public hearing on the Sparling well project and the Office of Community and Public Affairs grant of $550,000 that the City is seeking. There was little new information and no members of the public spoke. The project is expected to cost about $1,500,000. The grant proposal is due April 7, the awarding of grants will be June 7, and if the project is funded, construction could start in the Fall with completion in summer of 2018.

A second public hearing followed for an additional appropriation of $746,649, funds that the State returned to the City from the stabilization fund of the Local Option Income Tax. The proposal was to use this money for streets. Again, no one spoke to the issue. After the public hearing closed, the Council passed ordinances or resolutions needed for both of these projects.

Moving to more regular business, the Council approved an electric tracker adjustment that will reduce electric bills for the April-May-June quarter. It approved a recommendation to hire a tree removal company for the cost of $26,500 to remove 32 trees. And it approved purchase by the utility billing office of new computers and software for a bit under $7500. The funds for the computers will come from the four City utilities.

The Cemetery Superintendent would like to have a small parking lot west of the creek (the Maxwell Ditch) so that people who use the cemetery will have a place to park. Currently some park on the road, others pull off onto the grass, and still others park at Brookside Park. The lot would be for five to seven cars. He was give permission to get quotes. He also suggested that the City host one of the traveling Vietnam War memorials. These arrive on a Wednesday and leave on a Sunday. There is some cost, which the Mayor thought would be easily raised, and the need for many volunteers. The Council expressed support and we may see the Wall at Brookside Park in 2018.

The gas department open house will be April 28. The Council approved $1200 for the event. The Indiana Regulatory Commission requires gas utilities to educate the public on gas line safety and this event is the City's way of meeting that requirement. 

A very large crowd of 4,000 to 6,000 is expected for the SJC Little 500 on April 22 and local and state law enforcement is trying to get ready. They are expecting a long night.

At 4:00 on April 28 there will be an Arbor Day planting at the Primary School. Testing of the Wet Weather treatment plant should take place on Wednesday. Construction should be substantially complete by the end of the month (which I think means that it should be ready to handle a flood.)

One of the superintendents noted that steel was going up at the O'Reilly site. The concrete pad was put in place last week by a contractor from Fort Wayne.

On Monday lots of materials were unloaded at the site and the frame started going up.

The exterior of the Elza Street apartments seems to be almost finished with the completion of the brick facing.

I was wondering if the Youth Center on Sparling would be affected by the closing of SJC. I asked one of the people at the meeting if the Center had City water and was told they did. There are City water mains both along Sparling and the highway to serve Houston subdivision. Jasper County owns the land that the Youth Center is on. 

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