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

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Rensselaer received an inch or two of snow late on Monday night and because the temperatures never got above freezing during the day on Tuesday,  most of the snow is still with us on Wednesday morning. Some people admired the beauty but I suspect most cursed the inconvenience. The snow did not stop the City street crew from picking up leaves.
There were Christmas shopping opportunities over the weekend. There were many vendors and a lot of shoppers at Mistletoe Magic at the Fairgrounds. The event filled both the Community Building and the 4H Building.

Prairie Arts Council held its annual sale on Friday and Saturday. It was smaller than the Mistletoe Magic sale but it also had interesting items for sale.
Late last week I was part of a conversation that discussed the sale of the SJC commercial lots. The view of the others was that the lots went very cheap and that may have been because some potential bidders did not realize that there were two sessions to the auction.

There were three meetings late last week and early this week. On Friday the Commissioners met to continue their meeting from Wednesday. They spent about an hour further discussing health insurance. They had decided to switch carriers and were trying to decide between to alternatives. They voted to go with the one that they liked less but which was considerably cheaper by a couple hundred thousand dollars. The County employees will have three plan options from which to choose. The entire switch, which will entail considerable work for the Auditor's office, will result in a substantial savings to the County.

The other big topic of discussion on Friday was staffing the Highway Department, which has seen and anticipates several retirements. It also has a couple workers who are restricted in what the can do for medical reasons. The Department was worried that they would not have enough manpower to get roads plowed if we get a winter with a lot of snow. The question was raised if the County would be better off if it contracted more of the paving work rather than doing it in-house. The Commissioners approved the hiring of two more employees and the matter will now go to the Council.

There were a number of smaller items discussed. The most interesting was that purchasing the PNC Bank Building, which seems to be pretty much a done deal, was cheaper than replacing the HVAC system at the current Annex building.

On Tuesday morning the Alcohol Review Board met very briefly and approved the liquor license request of Ayda's Restaurant. The matter now goes to the State for final approval.

On Tuesday evening the Rensselaer City Council met for is first November meeting. They heard a report about the Safe Halloween event (Trunk or Treat at the Fairgrounds). About 2000 people showed up. The organizers would like to continue it on a Sunday evening.

The gas tracker for November is an increase of 1¢ per hundred cubic feet. There was a transfer of funds for three departments and the State said the City needed to cut its budget by $422,000. The cuts seemed to have been done by moving money around.

The Fire Chief requested and was granted permission to seek bids for a new command vehicle. The present vehicle is a 2002 Avalanche that is having electrical problems.

The Council ratified a phone vote to move the second December meeting to December 21 at 4:00. (The fourth Monday is Christmas eve.) The Council approved a bid from Practical Tree Service to remove another 29 dead trees from City right-aways and the Cemetery. There was one vote against, apparently because the City did not get a second quote.

After the meeting I asked what the status of Solar Park 2 was. The part that had been backordered had arrived and workers were installing it on Tuesday. The same backordered part has been delaying the start-up of several other IMPA solar installations.

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