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

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Meetings before Thanksgiving

On Tuesday evening the Commissioners and County Council held a joint meeting to discuss items of common interest. The meeting began with a quick summary of Health Insurance. At their last meeting the Commissioners  decided to change health insurance carrier. Meetings with County employees to explain how this affects them have begun. The employees have three options from which to choose. They can keep a plan that is essentially the same as what the County has been offering, or they can choose one of two options that have higher deductibles but also much lower rates. If they choose a plan with higher deductibles, they can also start a Health Savings Account (HSA), but they have to do it themselves. There will be some expenses with runout claims, items that occur before the switch in insurance but not billed until after the switch. The County expects to save just shy of $1,000,000 from the switch.

There was a discussion of the manpower problems of the County Highway Department before their attention turned to NIPSCO and its plans to close the Wheatfield generating plant. Meetings have been scheduled and then canceled but perhaps there will be some that actually take place in the next week. The bottom line is that there are a lot of questions and no definite answers. Commissioner Culp would like to establish a task force to look at the impact the closing will have.

The negotiations between the County and PNC Bank to purchase the PNC building began in July. The deal should close in early December. The County will have to make significant modifications in the interior, including installing an elevator. There was a question of what the County will do with the parcel of land on which the Johnny Rusk building once stood. The purchase of the PNC building makes the lot redundant.

Andrew Andree had gotten some quotes for insulating the attic of the Court House. Currently there is no insulation there and a lot of heat escapes as a result. The Commissioners will decide whether to accept one of the quotes or not. The energy saving work on the Court House should be finished in a couple of months.

The County Council called its meeting to order a couple minutes after the joint meeting adjourned. It passed an ordinance to purchase the PNC Bank building. State regulations require an ordinance because the purchase was for more than $1000. The Sheriff next presented them with the annual jail report, which was a good report. He also expressed concern about the new stop sign on US 231 at the intersection of SR 16. Until people adapt to the change, there will be some who do not stop. So if you are traveling through that intersection in the next few months, be extra careful.

Then followed a long series of extra appropriations. The DLGF (Department of Local Government Finance) will not accept additional appropriations made after mid December, so this is the last meeting that they can be made. There were requests from the Sheriff, the Court, Animal Control, and the Highway Department. After these passed, there were transfers for the Surveyor, the Highway Department, the Prosecutor, the Veterans' Office, the Commissioners, and the Coroner. The transfers ranged in size from $50 to $878,118.61.

The Council passed a salary ordinance, which has to be done each year and specifies how much everyone is paid. There was a short discussion of taxes, where it was noted that Jasper County has property tax rates that are in the lowest 10% of the State and income taxes that are in the highest 10% of the State.

The third Tuesday of the month is a popular meeting day. While the County meetings were going on, the Jasper County Historical Society and the Rensselaer School Board were also meeting. The School Board approved an aviation program for 2019. Ray Seif, the Airport Manager, has been working on this program for a long time.

The Christmas street decorations are up.

The current exhibit at the Carnegie Center is the Limelight exhibit.

It is smaller this year and Cooperative School Services does not seem to be participating.

Unfortunately I did not get to the south part of town on Tuesday. The Autumn Trace development was pouring  concrete for the floor slab. On Wednesday the pour was finished but workers were busy doing something on the new concrete.
However, Autumn Trace did take pictures on Tuesday with their drone and put some of them on Facebook. See here. Even if I had been there, I could not have gotten pictures as good as what they have.

Have a Safe Happy Thanksgiving.


Jane L. said...

Thank you for keeping Rensselaerians and other residents of the County informed of some of the happenings in our neighborhoods.

Anonymous said...

Did you indicate what use the PNC Bank building will provide for the county? The show at the Carnegie called Limelight only has art from CDC and a former client of CDC.