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

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

BPW and City Council 06-12-17

The Board of Public Works met before the City Council meeting on Monday evening. After approving some bill payment, the Board was told that there were no bids for converting the old firehouse to a new police station. Several potential bidders were nervous about some of the specifications, such as having the entire structure bullet proof The architect has made some changes in the plans and the project will be rebid. The Board also approved the Jasper County Fair Association’s fireworks display on July 1.

The City Council approved a request by the Eagles to close Harrison Street between Front and Van Rensselaer on June 24 for a fund raiser. It also approved a six cents decrease for the gas tracker for June.

At the last Council meeting one bid was received for the labor contract for the Watt substation that will be built west of Rensselaer on Bunkum Road and that bid was rejected and the project rebid. Two bids were received in the rebid and they were opened and read. The representative for IMPA and the Electric manager of operations and engineering left to discuss them. They returned at the end of the meeting and recommended that the low bid, from Power Construction Group for $339,765, be accepted. The IMPA representative said that even though the labor bid was higher than expected, other parts of the project had come in lower than expected, so the project did not exceed the budget. However, there was a question about whether the City would pay for the metering part of the substation and whether the City or IMPA would own it, so Barton moved to table the metering part but approve the rest of the bid. That passed (and I do not know exactly what that meant other than the issue will be revisited at the next meeting). Then a vote was taken to proceed with the project.

In other business, the Council voted to pay $26K to First Group Engineering for help on road assessment. This company had worked with the City last year to help obtain state grants for road improvements and the City was happy with the results. This year the grants will be 75% state money and 25% local money. A representative from KIRPSE was supposed to attend the meeting to discuss a downtown planning grant but could not make it so that item will be on a future agenda. The Council approved flowers for the funeral of the Mayor’s brother. Finally, the Council approved hiring a company named Peerless to help seal and properly abandon wells 3, 4, and 5 on Bunkum Road. None of them have been used for several years because of contamination.

On Tuesday night we received some much needed rain. The amount of rain varied tremendously in our area, with northern Benton County getting three or four inches. My rain gauge said that Rensselaer received only about half an inch. The ground was dry--there was no noticeable rise in the river. The forecast says that we may get more rain this evening.

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