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

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

City Council notes June 12

At Monday's City Council meeting, Ryan Musch of Embers Venue requested that a small section of Front Street be closed on July 21 for the Whiskey & Whiskers event. The event featuring four local distilleries and live music from Remember Jones will raise money to support the Jasper County Animal Shelter. The Council approved his request.

There was not a lot on the published agenda. The Police Department requested a change in the alarm contract. I gathered from the short discussion that this was to raise the fee for people who have an alarm that sounds with the local police. The gas tracker for June had an unusually large increase of 19.5¢ per hundred cubic feet. There was a slight decrease in the electric tracker for the third quarter.

The Safe Kid Halloween event will take place on Sunday, October 28 and if I understood that motion correctly, the Halloween Tricks-and -Treating hours will be on that day from 5:00 to 7:00. The Council also approved a motion to have the mayor sign a contract with INDOT for Amtrak payments. The City will pay $351.96 per month to help subsidize the Amtrak service to Rensselaer.

The Police Department may be able to move into their newly remodeled building in six weeks. The Sparling Well project is about 55% completed and the sidewalks are about 70% finished. The Parks For People Campaign is off to a good start in meeting its $50,000-in-50-days challenge grant, have raised about $18,500 in the first 11 days.

The wet and rainy weather we have been having has limited my pictures. Here is a look from last week at the progress on the solar farm.
I have noticed a number of interesting items over in Newton County. Their Council and Commissioners are considering an innkeeper tax. They are one of only 13 Indiana Counties that does not have the tax. The revenues must be used to support tourism. There are several zoning/land-use issues that are controversial. A dairy is being proposed for a site of about 2000 acres adjacent to the Nature Conservancy property. Normally a confined feeding operation on such a big parcel would not be expected to generate much opposition, but there is concern about water table contamination. Another property use issue is the possibility of an 800-bed immigration detention center that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) may want to build in Roselawn area. Apparently ICE wanted to build the facility in Lake County and would not get a needed variance. Finally, S&S Farms is appealing the BZA denial for a special exception to build a specialty swine CAFO. What I do not understand about this case is that after Newton County denied them, they received approval in Jasper County. If they intend to build in Jasper, why appeal a decision in Newton?

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