At the beginning of the meeting, the mayor read a statement commending Kenny Haun for his long service in the fire department and announced that as of August 1 Haun would be retiring as fire chief. His replacement will be Robert Graves.
Both the gas tracker for July and the electric tracker for the next quarter will show slight increases. A bid of $20,121.86 for spill containment for the Watt Substation was accepted. There was a transfer of funds in the police department budget to allow purchase of new radio console. After purchase, a grant will reimburse the department so the funds can be transferred back. The Council approved an amendment to a bond ordinance that will allow the refinancing of a bond issue of 2011 when bonds for the Watt Substation are offered.
Then it was time for the main event, two fundraisers working on the Parks for People project. They began with an introduction. They are hired by the Blacker Trust and previously worked on the fundraising for the hospital addition. They work in Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. They said that the leadership structure for the fundraising has been established and that there is still a need to pull different factions together. The goal is to raise $1.5 million. The oversight committee, which it seems will have a lot of say in how the funds are spent, will consist of Mayor Wood, Dr Jack Drone and/or his wife Jana Drone, Ed Dumas, Mike Manis, and Dave Schrum. The fundraising will rely partly on payroll deductions. The first group to be approached will be City employees, and the Council passed a resolution allowing the pay roll deductions for this purpose. They said that pledges are not binding agreements, that amounts pledged or given will be confidential, as will participation, The project plans are not quite finalized but may be for next Monday's Park Board meeting, which will be held at 6:00 in the City Council Chambers (City Hall). (If you are interested in knowing what is going on, this might be a fun meeting to attend.)
The money raised will be given to the Jasper Foundation. Because it is a non-profit organization, gifts to it will be tax deductible. Councilman Barton grilled them about the role of the Park Board, wanting a yes or no answer if the Park Board would set the priorities for spending and they hedged their answers. They did not realize initially that he sits on the Park Board. Councilman Hollerman asked it we really need $1 million for parks and was told that Rensselaer's parks facilities are poor compared to those in other communities.
Then it was back to more ordinary Council business. The Council approved spending $26,718 for 18 fire hydrants. They will be purchased with City funds but then some one will reimburse the City--I did not understand who or why. Rick Odle moved to give the Park Board authority to name a park or so something to commemorate the late Thomas Effinger for his long service to the parks. The only parks they cannot rename are Milroy, Potawotomie, and Brookside.
I do not like the design of the letters--the S is too wide. However, that may be intentional, referring to the meandering layout of the store.
two pictures in the post before the store opened.
Bloomtique, which was planning to open in a little store on Washington next to Gutwein Seeds. I do not know if it ever did. But now it is part of Endless Treasures.
The long wait to learn the future of Strack and Van Til is over. The families that originally owned the chain have bought them back. The will remain Strack and Van Til. See here or here.