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

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

December's first Commissioners meeting

The Commissioners met for their first December meeting on Monday morning. First up was Indian Trails Vocational Cooperative giving essentially the same presentation that was given at the last County County meeting. The Commissioners indicated that they did not think the County would give the full $100,000 requested because the KV School System was not part of the Cooperative (they apparently left in July to join the cooperative from Lake County). No decision could be made until a joint meeting with the County Council on the 19th.

The Jasper County Historical Society found 41 books and ledgers with enrollment records for County schools in the basement of the Court House and requested permission to borrow a few at a time so they could be scanned. Their request was approved.

The Wind Farm amendments to the UDO that were discussed at the recent Jasper County Planning Commission meeting were approved. At the last Commissioners meeting the Planning Office had requested permission to contract with a company to process credit card payments. The Commissioners had delayed permission, asking for information on whether other offices could use the same service. Some offices expressed interest and others did not. The Commissioners approved the request.

The fellow trying to get permission to mine sand on a property adjacent to the Jasper-Pulaski Preserve sought approval for truck routes because the BZA wanted to know if he could move the sand. The Sheriff indicated that only one of the routes he suggested would not cause traffic problems. The Commissioners indicated that he, not the contractors, should do the bonding for the roads.

The same individual was back in the afternoon for the Drainage Board because ponds larger than three acres require Drainage Board approval. The discussion went on for over an hour and involved questions of cleaning the ditch downstream and the need for a map with elevations drawn up by a certified surveyor.

After receiving quick approval to replace a vacancy for Court House security, the Sheriff began a lengthy discussion of the problems of health insurance. (Tuesday's Rensselaer Republican reported on this discussion in some detail.) The County provides excellent health insurance for its employees, but the cost of that insurance has risen drastically over the past decade. Some of the recent rise has been caused by the many claims from the County employees--higher claims in one year lead to higher rates in future years. Currently the County is paying in excess of $25,000 per employee for health insurance. However, it felt it could not pay more given its budget constraints, so has passed on increases to the employees. That increase has doubled their cost and has cut into the purchasing power of their pay. The Sheriff said that their real pay is the same as it was in 2009. He is concerned that the erosion of buying power will cause retention problems and it costs about $100,000 to get a new merit deputy up to speed. He suggested a committee to look into options that would cut the costs of both employees and the County and that a committee may be formed.

In other items, the Jasper County Code has been compiled by a company in Seattle is now available as a pdf file. It will soon be posted to the County website and a six printed copies will be made for several County offices and lawyers.

The Commissioners were happy with the way Ellas Construction left the Johnny Rusk lot. They do not know yet if they will want to put grass or a parking lot there.
There was a discussion with several County officials about consolidating parcels that were in different taxing regions. The County officials thought that consolidation would cause problems in figuring taxes but the way the law reads is that if an individual wants lots consolidated, they should be.

Citizen Tom M who has not been to recent meetings had questions about whether the County was investigating property that was improperly classified for tax purposes, that is, residential properties that had unauthorized business being run from them. He also suggested the implementation of an ordinance violations bureau (which was an idea that John Price pushed when he was a member of the Council).

Finally, the Commissioners discussed the calendar for 2018. Umbaugh suggested that they meet twice during the year with the Council to improve communication and coordination. After discussion they decided that the best dates for joint meetings would be in July and November.

Leaving the Court House, I noticed that work had begun on transforming the old fire station into a new police station. Because most of the work will be inside, I doubt that there will be many good photo opportunities.
On the north edge of town, the exterior of what will be the new Superior Sales building is complete. They are currently in the building that was once the Dodge dealership.

1 comment:

Grey Friar said...

Decades, around 1949-53, prior to Superior Sales being the Dodge dealership it was the home of Triangle Motors which sold the Kaiser-Frazer line of automobiles, such as the Henry J sedan and the Henry J Vagabond and also Willy's-Overland 4 wheel drive vehicles. It had an advertisement in this 1950 issue of St. Joseph's College newspaper "Stuff:" https://archive.org/stream/STUFF-1950-01-18/1950-01-18-Pub-Stu-0001_djvu.txt -- TRIANGLE MOTORS With Your Troubles 1106 N. McKinley Ave.

about Kaiser-Frazer cars see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaiser-Frazer