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

Thursday, December 21, 2017

A tale of three meetings

On Tuesday night the Jasper County Historical Society met for a quick business meeting followed by entertainment and food. They heard options for replacing two trees that have problems. The Society is raising money to fund repairs to some of their structures, especially the old Parr Post Office at the Fairgrounds, which is falling apart. Entertainment was provided by the group Three Longs and a Short.


Also on Tuesday evening, the Commissioners and County Council met in a joint session. They had two items on the agenda. First was a report from a representative from Umbaugh, going over a document making recommendations for policies to improve the County's bond rating the next time we are rated and to get County financial policies to conform to best practices. The other item was a presentation by representatives from Honeywell about how to fund energy saving improvements, some of which involve replacing equipment that is nearing end of life. They recommend doing the improvements as one big project and not stretching the project out over time. They argue that the cost will be less and the savings will come sooner. They noted that current interest rates for government bonds have risen in the past few weeks and said that a side effect of lower corporate tax rates would be higher interest rates for state and local governments in the bond market. (I am not sure what all the effects are, but I think one link is that the tax cuts will make taxable bonds more attractive, decreasing the demand for tax-free bonds.)

That meeting was followed by the regular monthly meeting of the County Council. First on the agenda was the Indian Trails grant proposal. The grant proposal has been submitted because the deadline was last week. Three counties pledged money, Newton and White for $100K and Pulaski for $30K. With some other money from employers, the amount of pledged money is about $250,000 and if it is funded, the State will add about $750,000. Jasper County can contribute to the grant in the future, but whatever they give will not be matched by the State 3 to 1.

The Sheriff gave much the same presentation about the impact of health insurance costs that he had given to the Commissioners earlier in the month. The Council said that it was powerless to do anything, but agreed that a committee to explore options was a good idea.

After the transfer of funds requested by the Airport manager was approved, he reported that the 4-H Aviation Club has been meeting with attendance ranging from 8 to 13 members. Most want to become pilots. Aviation Career Day will be on May 11 with  the strong possibility that a second day will also be needed.

The Council passed a salary ordinance that updates salaries for 2018 with what they put into the 2018 budget in September. It also made a list of appointments to various boards. Finally, it approved its dates for meetings in 2018.

The bowstring bridge has Christmas lights. You can also see the lights on the Washington Street bridge in the picture (the bluish lights on the left edge).

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