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

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Monday's meetings

On Monday the Commissioners met for their June meeting with a short agenda. They signed a final contract with Honeywell for a $2.2 million dollar energy-savings/capital-expenditure project that has been discussed both in Commissioner meetings and Council meetings for several months. The energy savings part of the project is smaller than the capital expenditure, which will replace heating and cooling equipment in the Court House. The goal is to get new boilers installed and operating before this coming fall. They also agree to $1.1 million dollar prepayment so that contractors can get supplies ordered.

The Sheriff reported on a Trailblazer that is being retired from his department and will be going to the Veterans' Council for transporting vets to medical appointments. He said that four new squad cars are on order and were expected in April. They may arrive at the end of this month. He also reported on current and expected vacancies. He noted that there were only two applicants for a correctional officer.

The surveyor wanted approval for a base station agreement. A base station is something that is used by surveyors and others, and more than that, I do not understand. The company offered the station for free to the surveyor, hoping to sell subscriptions to others who might use it.

The insurance costs for the county will rise by about 3% this year after several years of decrease. The cost depends heavily on past claims.

The Jasper County Youth Center will be closing June 15. I had heard this rumor but did not find confirmation until this meeting. The County owns the building and hopes that it will be able to reopen under new management. Apparently the cause of closing is financial.

After a number of other minor items, the meeting was recessed, waiting for a consultant for a discussion of roads. I left.

On Monday afternoon the Drainage Board met with a very long agenda. The only item I found interesting was a drainage proposal for a new motel at the Remington/Wolcott exit of I-65. It will have the same owner as the Holiday Inn Express Comfort Suites at the Rensselaer exit and be about the same size. It will have 68 units and 15 suites.

The Rensselaer Park Board met in the evening. It heard from Tracy Cochran, the Community Wellness Coordinator with the Extension Office. Her goal is to help make active living possible and her focus is on nutrition and exercise. The Board also discussed the problems of Pop Warner, which is currently looking for a place to play games. It had been at SJC and has not found a school willing to host them. The Park Board did not know how football would fit with soccer, which wants to use the same field.

The pool at Brookside Park will open this Friday.

I left the Park Board meeting before it concluded to go across the street and see what was happening at a special meeting of the Jasper County Plan Commission. They had a standing-room-only audience. The item on the agenda was a rezone from A1 to A3, needed for the proposed confined swine feeding operation from Interstate Family Farms, LLC. Attorney Don Shelman outlined the proposed project. It will have 4100 sows and 900 giving birth or about to give birth. There would also be an average of 3000 piglets at the facility, but they are counted as part of the mother for state regulation purposes. The facility will cost about $10 million and will employ about 20 people. The site is in Jordan township, north west of CR 1200 S and 880 W. It will be on 40 acres that are set back from the roads, and the project will or has purchased 20 acres that will give access to the site from 880W. The soil on the site is sandy and before this project, was being put into conservation acres. The project will consist of five buildings, three large buildings that will hold hogs at various stages of the breeding cycle, a small office building, and a mortality building where any dead animals and tissue such as placenta will be composted with cow manure. This composting is the way IDEM wants dead animals handled.

Manure from the operation will be piped to adjacent fields and will be knifed or injected into the soil. Putting the manure under the top of the soil both preserves nutrients and greatly reduces odor. Water will come from a well capable of producing 50 gallons per minute and the farm will use about 24 gallons per minute. The nearest residence is 3900 feet to the south. A report from a Purdue expert on farm odor estimated that the odor cone would not affect any of the residences.

There was considerable comment. Major concerns were about wells, odor, and traffic. The zone of non-sulfur water is apparently quite thin, and people within a couple miles voiced concerns. However, there are state regulations that provide some protection. The owners of Carpenter Creek Winery were concerned that odor could reduce visitors, two thirds of whom come from outside Jasper County. They were also concerned that residue containing sulfur might attach to their grapes and alter the flavor of their wine.

After an hour and forty five minutes, the Commission voted to recommend to the Commissioners to rezone the property from A1 to A3. There was one vote against. The project will need to get Drainage Board clearance and may also need a variance for setback from the BZA.

A small fact of hog production: the breeding life of a sow is about two and a half to three years. After that, she goes to market.

Now for some pictures. SJC is making hay.
Workers are pouring concrete for the sidewalk along Sparling.

However, there are still some holes where you can see the water main, so it seems that not all the problems with it have been resolved.

The Brewery had music entertainment Saturday and a large crowd.

No comments: