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

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

First April meeting

Wednesday is starting with April showers. Below is a picture of the entrance to Weston Cemetery. The City is busy taking down dead and problem trees.

The Commissioners meeting on Monday morning would have been fairly short if they had not postponed an item from their March meeting.

They discussed the problem of the flagpole. It has a cracked weld and will need a crane to get a welder to the area that needs to be repaired. Crane rentals are costly, so it will not be a cheap fix. They took under advisement a proposal to raise the county burial benefit for veterans from $200 to $350. Other counties have benefits from $100 to $1000, with Newton County being a $1000 county thanks to its landfill.

The Animal Control Board sought permission to use money from its Donation Fund to give the director a bonus. The Commissioners were hostile to the idea for at least two reasons: it did not seem to be what the donation fund should be used for, and the County discourages bonuses. They advised trying to get the salary corrected through the regular budget process. Little Cousin Jasper Festival was given permission to use the Court House grounds for its festival on Sept 8, 9, & 10. One of the attractions this year will be the All American Lumberjack Show. The festival people have been talking to a company that offers helicopter rides but that will not happen this year. There are safety and regulatory problems that would have to be addressed.

The County prosecutor received permission to fill a vacant deputy prosecutor position that mostly deals with child support cases. Farm leases for county and airport land were approved and signed. The Rensselaer Farmers Market was given permission to use the sidewalk beginning on April 29. A contract for financial reports from Umbaugh (discussed at the Joint Commissioners/Council meeting a while back) was approved. The airport manager gave a brief report on upgrades being made to the navigational aids and said that the May 12th Aviation Career Day will attract a sizable crowd of high school students. It will be open to the public. The Jasper County Historical Society was given a letter of support for a grant to restore the Parr Postoffice that is part of the historical village at the Fairgrounds.

All of the above was finished in about an hour. The next hour and fifteen minutes took up a rezone request that had been referred to the Commissioners without recommendation by the Planning Board and had been postponed by the Commissioners at their March meeting. (Here are past posts on this property: July, August, September, October, March and March.)

The attorney for the property owner noted that the current zoning of general commercial was a result of a typo made in 1970. The land has historically been used for agriculture and the planning document proposes that its best use in the future is agricultural. However, the hogs on this small, ten-acre lot cause odor that is offensive to neighbors to the east, and they oppose any rezone that will allow hogs to stay. After everyone had had a chance to make their case, the Commissioners decided that they wanted to think about the issue for a month and will announce their decision at 9:00 in the May1 meeting. Judging from their comments, I am guessing that they will not approve the rezone.

In other news, the Board of Trustees at SJC decided to have the College resign its accreditation at the end of June. The reason given is that this avoids having the HLC withdraw accreditation and will make it easier to regain accreditation if the College is able to reorganize in some way.

Grace Street from the bridge to South Cullen will be closed for repairs and construction from Monday, April 10 until Friday, May 15, 2017. The full announcement is here.

I missed both the March and April Park Board meetings. Here are the minutes from the March meeting.

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