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

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Meetings 8-6-2018

The Commissioners met for their August meeting on Monday. After the usual preliminaries, they heard a presentation from their voting machine vendor about an electronic replacement for the paper poll book, the book that precinct workers use to check in voters for elections. Besides making the process easier for the Clerk's office, the device would make audits of contested elections easier to handle. 43 Indiana counties already use the device, which is based on iPad hardware.

They next took up UDO changes. The Commissioners had sent a proposal for changes to the Plan Commission several months ago. The Plan Commission had made changes to that and sent it back to the Commissioners for approval. The Commissioners had suggested changes to what the Plan Commission had sent them, and at its last meeting, the Plan Commission had rejected those changes. After some discussion about what the Plan Commission had done and what the options were for the Commissioners, the Commissioners decided to start the process anew by sending a slightly revised version of what the Plan Commission had recommended back to the Commission for its review. Two rezone requests that had been recommended by the Plan Commission at its last meeting were then approved.

The Recorder's Office wants to purchase services from a company that will allow the public to search, view, and print Recorder documents. There is a charge for using the services that is borne by the searcher, not by the Recorder's office and the software should reduce the support work for the staff of the office. The Commissioners approved the request. The next step will be to have a contract drawn up and have that approved. The Commissioners also approved a separate contract with the same company for a product that watermarks digital copies.

The Sheriff received permission to replace a Court House security officer. He expressed concern about the way that Trane, contracted to insulate the jail, wanted to do their work. The new squad cars that had been ordered some time ago have arrived and the sheriff wanted to know if the County Highway Department could use one of the vehicles that they were replacing. It can. Two or three old squad cars will be available at the next County auction.

Animal control wanted approval of use of donation funds to purchase a used van. The truck that they are using does not have enough space for equipment and cages. That was approved.

A variety of conference requests were approved. It was mentioned that the County IT guy will be leaving in September.

Before they went into executive session (to discuss insurance??) a boy thanked the Commissioners for buying his 4H goat at the County Fair.

The executive session lasted for more than an hour and fifteen minutes. There were still county highway issues to be discussed and I do not know when they got to that discussion. The State collects money from an increase in the gas tax and a fee on license plates to fund county roads, but it does not simply return that money to the counties for them to use as they see fit. Rather it is returned in a complex and ever-changing process of grants. The County and the Commissioners spend a lot of time making sure they get everything right so they can get those funds, but listening to the discussion is boring beyond belief.

I skipped the Drainage Board meeting. The most interesting item on its agenda seemed to be the drainage plans for a new Wheatfield Township Fire Station. Instead I want to a planning meeting for the upcoming Weston Cemetery Walking Tour to be held on September 22. (I am on the committee—the meetings are not open to the public.) Tickets have been printed ($10 for adults and $5 for 12 & under.) If you are interested, I advise you to purchase quickly. The announcement that the Historical Society posted on Facebook last week went viral, with close to 11,000 views. There are a limited number of people the tour can handle and it is possible that the event will sell out.

In the evening the Rensselaer Park Board met. The Parks for People campaign has receipts and pledges of $1.2 million and would like to start some of the proposed projects this fall. Included in the list are the dog park and improvements to the Staddon/Monnett property. Those improvement include new soccer fields, an entry way off College, and basketball courts. Ball fields at Brookside will wait until next spring.

Larue Pool will close Thursday and Friday, then be open for the weekend, and then close for the season for swimming. Lifeguards are returning to school and are not available to staff even on weekends.

Heather Hall, who was in charge of park programs this summer, gave a report on four programs she led this past spring and summer. Spring Fling (replacing Earth Day) had bad weather and very few people attending. Park Pop or Hop in honor of National Trails Day had only a few walkers. The STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) Camp met on several Thursdays and had 103 kids participating. Kids Camp, a four-day day camp, had 21 kids. Still to come is a walking club and the Harvest Fest (October 18, Thursday evening before Fall Break). Harvest Fest is an expanded Riley Read and last year had an huge number of people attending.

The next Park Board meeting will be Tuesday, September 4 at 6:00 pm.

Workers are now paving at the US 231/Mt Calvary Road intersection.

NITCO had a customer-appreciation day on Tuesday. They devoted a lot of manpower to it.

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