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

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Council meeting, population, and an bygone controversy

Monday's City Council meeting had a short agenda. After the routine opening items, the Council approved the gas tracker resolution, which was an eight cent decrease per hundred cubic feet. (January had seen a fifteen cent increase.)

Each year the City passes an ordinance to return outstanding warrants to original funds. The ordinance assumes that City checks that have not been cashed for two years will never be cashed, and the books are adjusted accordingly. If someone who was supposed to be paid and lost the check asks for payment, they will still be paid. The Council, as it does each year, passed the ordinance. It then passed an ordinance establishing a donation fund. If someone or a group wants to make a donation for a specific purpose (flags for downtown was the one mentioned), this fund will be a place to park the funds. People can earmark donations for specific purposes and the money will only be spent for that purpose.

The Little Cousin Festival Committee requested a donation of $500 for a scholarship it is offering. Why the LCJ Committee is giving a scholarship and why the City should contribute were never really explained, but the Council granted the request.

In a recent Council meeting the discussion of recording equipment led to the establishment of a committee to investigate options. On Monday the committee reported that it had gotten a second quote. The quote from the company that had made the presentation a few meetings back was $17,000 and the new quote was not to exceed $12,000. It would include microphones for each Council member that record on a separate track so that each mic can be isolated on playback. It would also include two large monitors that would allow the audience to see presentations. The Committee was asked to get a written quote for the next meeting.

The Clerk-Treasurer asked the Council to consider moving her office into some of the space vacated by the Police Department. A committee (Barton and Cover) was established to consider the proposal.

City offices will closed on President's Day.  A new power line along SR 114 has been completed that connects the City with the Watt substation. Well #8 (on Sparling) has its new pump and this week should be tested. If all goes well, it may be on line by the end of the week. With that, the meeting ended.

A few days ago a Pulaski County Facebook page linked to a page of population estimates for Indiana Counties. (See here.) Pulaski County had one of the largest percentage drops in the state, a decline of 6% from 2010 to 2017. I wonder if their tax structure contributed to that. Pulaski has the highest county income tax in the state. They decided to transfer taxes from property, which is hard and in the case of land impossible to move, to people with income. Jasper County has had almost no change in population according to these estimates, though any effect from the closing of St. Joseph's College would probably not show up because the data only goes to 2017. Most rural counties show population declines and most urban counties have population increases.

The cold weather and the falling river level have created some strange ice formations on trees along the river.
Finally, I was recently scanning through newspapers from 1903. The contentious issue of the day was liquor, with the temperance movement seeking to shut down the bars. I thought this article was humous enough to save.


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