The Knox Water Department had a mild winter this year compared to last season.
Superintendent Todd Gardner informed the Knox Board of Public Works members this week that there weren’t too many calls about frozen water pipes. There was one call, but Gardner said the line from the resident’s home to the city hookup is the issue. If the issue were to be repaired, it would be the homeowner’s responsibility to take care of the problem.
The Knox Board of Public Works reviewed a new towing agreement for four companies currently being utilized for service in the case of a car accident. Those companies include Buzz’s Towing, Howard and Sons Towing, Hauser’s Towing and Wagner’s Towing.
The agreement states that if the service is needed within the City of Knox contractors will be called on a rotating basis. The Knox City Police Department or the Starke County Sheriff’s Department would be working directly with the companies to request service. If the contractor does not answer the phone, the next company on the list will be called. It will be considered a rotational call and will not be made up.
The Knox Board of Public Works will be discussing a towing agreement when they meet this morning.
Knox Mayor Rick Chambers has been working with City Attorney David Matsey about putting together a new agreement for towing companies when police need to remove vehicles from an accident scene. Mayor Chambers noted that the agreement is outdated. Towing companies are usually dispatched to a scene on a rotation, and that will be determined in a document to be reviewed today.
The Knox Water Department has been dealing with frozen water meters this winter, although the number of meters changed has not reached last year’s totals.
Superintendent Todd Gardner told the Board of Public Works this week that freeze plates break when temperatures are cold, and Gardner stocked up after last year’s cold winter. He said crews typically will repair 15 to 20 freeze plates, but last year the number shot up to 120.
“They’re plastic. They’re meant to break so they don’t break the brass meters. We take them apart and clean them up and put them back together,” said Gardner.
Street Superintendent Jeff Borg told the Knox Board of Public Works this week that operations in the city are going well this winter.
There has been some cost savings in getting sand from Area Excavating. The cost is two dollars cheaper than their previous supplier. They don’t have to go as far to pick up the material. Borg said he has been able to see a difference in the cost and wear and tear of vehicles. He coordinates a pick up time with the company and brings back up to ten tons of sand as needed. Borg said the sand is mixed with salt, and the combination works well during a snow event. Porter County and LaPorte County department use the same company for their road product as well.
The Knox Board of Public Works discussed plans for a storm water system for the new addition to the Knox Elementary School.
Andy Bearman from Commonwealth Engineers said that the addition will create an additional one percent rain-water run-off as a portion of the ground covered with grass will be dug up for the project. That soft area was able to absorb the extra water so it wouldn’t create any water build up anywhere on the property.
The Knox Board of Public Works will meet this morning where Building Administrator Bruce Williams will discuss a storm-water runoff issue as part of a new construction project for the Knox Community Elementary School. Williams told WKVI News that a 7,000 square foot addition is proposed at the school.
Street Superintendent Jeff Borg, Water Superintendent Todd Gardner, Wastewater Superintendent Kelly Clemons, and Police Chief Clint Norem will give department reports.
The Knox Board of Public Works met Monday morning where quotes were opened for a cab and chassis plus equipment for a truck for the street department.
The board members approved the lowest quote for the cab and chassis for a 2016 International from Wiers International for $64,143.75 and an equipment quote from Lindco Equipment for $54,665 that includes hydraulics, salt spreader, plow, electrical, dump body, and hoist system. The quotes will be reviewed by Street Superintendent Jeff Borg and City Attorney David Matsey.
Knox Street Superintendent Jeff Borg told the Knox Board of Public Works members that the last leaf pickup was conducted last week and overall the season went really well.
Borg said his staff is ready to tackle winter. He has obtained a different sand to mix with the salt in order for it to distribute onto the road with greater ease. Borg said the sand has some fine stone in it so it can flow better and he’s purchased it from Area Excavating at a less expensive price and half of the cost of transportation to haul it to the city than the previous vendor and location. He indicated that there is a stockpile of the sand ready for when the snow hits.
Knox Street Superintendent Jeff Borg told the Board of Public Works this week that the leaf pick-up program is keeping the employees busy. He added that the department is gearing up for the winter season. The first order of road salt should be placed at the first of December but the supply the city has now is healthy. He said prices jumped 50 percent per ton of road salt over last year’s price. Borg stated that the city should be in good shape and hopes that the weather isn’t as bad as last year.
Michael Milo disputed his 19 year sewer bill to the members of the Knox Board of Public Works Wednesday morning.
Milo claimed that when he purchased his home at 1306 Pine Street in 1995 he did not know that sewer lines were not hooked up to the city system. He recently learned that a septic system was on his property and he had been billed a sewer bill since he purchased the home even though the lines were not hooked up to the system.
Knox crews are making the transition into the fall and winter seasons.
Street Superintendent Jeff Borg told the Board of Works members this week that crews are prepping the leaf vac for leaf pickup beginning Oct. 14. The street sweeper will be operation for just a little while longer before they need to winterize the machine for storage during the off season.
The Knox Board of Public Works members received an update on two properties that were recently ordered for demolition.
Cleon Wagner presented the board with a statement of a timeline for the clean up of the property at 353 E. Mound Street. Outside work has been done and the building has been sealed. Building Administrator Bruce Williams said he has looked at the foundation in the basement and it looks pretty solid. The Wagners explained that it will be six months or so before all of the work is done, but the building will be remodeled and the property will be cleared of blight.
The Knox Board of Public Works heard from Building Administrator Bruce Williams on several properties that are under notice of condemnation.
One property is the old pool business on 10 S. Heaton Street that is just north of the railroad tracks. That building was ravaged by a fire several years ago and poses as a safety hazard. The roof and structure are damaged and it is recommended for demolition. Williams stated that he has not gotten a reply back from the owners concerning a certified letter that was sent. The board members approved a motion to affirm the condemnation order to demolish the building.
The Knox City Police Department is working with Hamlet Police Chief Frank Lonigro in introducing a new app to school corporations for emergency purposes.
Chief Clint Norem told the Knox Board of Public Works members Wednesday morning that Chief Lonigro learned about this app in training and both of them are finding out more information on how to provide the app to the schools that will allow teachers to hit a panic button on their smart phone if there happens to be an emergency.
The Knox Board of Public Works approved a change in the drug testing policy for employees.
Knox Mayor Rick Chambers explained that the policy is outdated. The current policy requires all employees to be drug tested when the state only requires employees with a CDL to be tested. The requirement for all employees to be tested takes time away from their daily duties and the mayor suggested that it’s “overkill”.
Mayor Chambers suggested to the board that an ordinance be drawn up by City Attorney David Matsey that requires prospective employees be drug tested and those with a CDL to be randomly drug tested throughout the year.
The Knox Board of Public Works will meet today with a light agenda.
The board members will discuss bids for tree cutting and discuss a drug screening policy for employees.
Water Superintendent Todd Gardner, Street Superintendent Jeff Borg, Wastewater Superintendent Kelly Clemons, and Knox City Police Chief Clint Norem will have updates from activities in their departments.
The meeting is open to the public and begins at 9:30 a.m. CT in Knox City Hall.
Knox City Police Chief Clint Norem
Knox City Police Chief Clint Norem updated the Board of Public Works members on operations in his department on Wednesday morning.
He said that the new officer’s physical has been completed and that information will be sent to PERF. After that is approved, he can go through the necessary training and he continue as a patrolman on the force.
The Knox Board of Public Works will be meeting this morning at 9:30 a.m.
The board members will hear an update from Street Department Superintendent Jeff Borg who will have an update on paving and other projects in his department. Water Superintendent Todd Gardner will have an update on water lines issues and fire hydrant replacement. Wastewater Superintendent Kelly Clemons will also discuss operations at the treatment plant.
The Knox Board of Public Works members opened bids for street paving this week. The lowest bid came from E&B Paving with $91,992.27 as their bid. The highest bid was from Central Paving for $120,000. The board members agreed to accept the lowest conforming bid pending approval from Street Department Superintendent Jeff Borg and City Attorney David Matsey.