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

Thursday, March 1, 2018

City Council 2/26/2018

The City Council meeting of February 26 featured a lot of small but interesting items. First off was a Colonial Life representative pitching insurance. It seemed he was more interested in selling to City employees than to the City. Next two citizens who live on Stewart Drive reported their experiences with sewage in the flood waters around their houses. They acknowledged that the City could not control the river, but wanted to know what the City could do to prevent the sewers from overflowing into the flood waters. They will have a visit from the appropriate City employees to see if there are any short-term fixes possible, but long term they will have to wait as the City works to implement a plan that the State requires them to follow.

The flooding seemed to have a bigger impact on people on the east side of town than the west side. My basement, which has flooded many times in the years I have lived here, only got seepage. I asked Mr Lockridge if that was due to the backflow inhibitor or the new high rate treatment plant, and he said that it was probably a bit of both. Neither the intersection of College and Jackson/Front and the dip in SR 114 by the power plant flooded this time and they have had water with much smaller floods. Their dryness may be due to the lining of the tile from Van Rensselaer to the lift station.

The first item on the agenda was a request from IMPA to have the 26 acres that they own north of town declared an economic revitalization area. They would also like a tax abatement, but I do not think that was included in this request. IMPA will invest $6 million to build a 3.96 megawatt solar park. They would like to start in April but first need to relocate the drainage tile that runs through the property. The panels will track the sun and that will increase their efficiency three to four percent.

The Council voted to accept as a donation four lots of land along 7th Street, which is north of Van Rensselaer School. The donors did not want to pay anything as part of the donation, so the Council agreed that the City would pick up back taxes, closing costs, and any other costs of the transaction.

Weston Cemetery wanted to hire a part-time summer worker and the project coordinator wanted to hire up to five, and these were approved. The transformation of the old fire station into the police station is on schedule, with most of the framing done, the electrical about 80% installed, data ports and heating/cooling ducts being put in place. The Police Department will begin processing 15 applicants that they received for their open position. The Park Board will meet on Monday evening in City Hall at 6:00. The Parks for People campaign is at $622,000. Grandma's is gone. The fire department did a couple of rescues of people whose cars stalled in water after they ignored barricades; the County Sheriff's Department did similar rescues. As of Monday the high rate treatment plant had had 49 million gallons of water go through it. If you have sandbags or damaged stuff from your basement that you would like picked up, call the Street Department at 219-866-7833 to arrange a pick up time.

 I could not resist taking a picture of the PNC Bank sign on Monday night. Rensselaer will be left with five banks after PNC closes their Rensselaer office. Wheatfield will be left with no banks after PNC closes its Wheatfield bank.
 At one time the regional banks were eager to absorb the small country banks. Now they seem to have no appetite for them. Perhaps banks like Alliance, Kentland, DeMotte State, and Bank of Wolcott remain independent because they were too small to attract attention in the era of bank merger mania.

On Monday the storage building north of the railroad was almost enclosed.