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Today's News

Knox City Council Meets New Officer, Approves Use of Community Center

Eric Vanderhoff

Eric Vanderhoff

The new officer at the Knox City Police Department introduced himself to the Knox City Council members Tuesday night. Eric Vanderhoff said he will be headed to the police academy on March 31 for 15 weeks of training. He’s been on the road for six months and getting to know the area. He will return to the Knox City Police Department when his training is complete. Vanderhoff was hired last spring.

The city council also approved the use of the Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center on April 25 for an event hosted by Women Anchored in Hope. The council approved the use of half of the great room, but if there are more people than anticipated then they could use the entire room.

A contract was approved to have Anne Mannix complete all of the paperwork with the Blight Elimination Program grant. The contract is for $50 an hour, not to exceed $10,000. The city attorney will review the contract.

The city council members also recognized that George Byer was reappointed as the park superintendent. That action was completed this month.

Knox City Council Sets Fireworks Date

 The Knox City Council approved a date for the annual fireworks celebration.

Knox Mayor Rick Chambers said he had no phone calls at his office and only seven people responded to the question on WKVI’s Facebook page. According to the informal survey on Facebook, the majority picked Friday, July 3 for the fireworks celebration.

Council member Linda Berndt commented that the residents who visit their homes at Bass Lake in the summertime may not be able to come in for the celebration. Greg Matt commented that it was that reason that caused him to think to hold the celebration on July 4, but the consensus of the council was to have the celebration on July 3.

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Knox City Council Members Table Dumpster Ordinance

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council members again tabled the second reading of the dumpster ordinance last night.

City Attorney David Matsey was able to pare down the ordinance, so it suits the city and focuses on the residential district. Matsey said the ordinance restricts the use of dumpsters in areas zoned R-1, R-2, R-3, and R-4 on the public right of way. As the discussion went on, the council wanted to go further to include the dumpsters on private property. Mayor Rick Chambers suggested allowing dumpsters on private property as long as they are behind the front of the house in a fenced area and permitted to be there by a building permit. The dumpster may be placed on the property for ten days out of a 30 day period once a year. Discussion also surrounded proper registration by the contractor placing the dumpster on the property.

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Knox City Council to Set Fireworks Date, Discuss Dumpster Ordinance

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council members will be approving a fireworks date when they meet for their regular meeting tonight. When they met on Jan. 13, the council members had concerns holding the fireworks celebration on the Fourth of July as they were afraid of interfering with family gatherings. If the celebration was on July 3, the fireworks celebration would cost the city less money and more people could come through the gate. The matter will be settled tonight.

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Knox Residents to Help Decide Fireworks Date

 Knox Mayor Rick Chambers and the Knox City Council members want the citizens of Knox decide when to hold the fireworks celebration in July.

The council members held discussion last week on a date to hold the fireworks. The Fourth of July is on a Saturday this year which would be the ideal date to hold the celebration, but the council doesn’t want to interfere with family plans residents may have for the day. However, it is the official holiday and the council members thought it would be appropriate to hold the display on the Fourth of July.

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Knox City Council Approves Lease to Purchase Truck

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council members entered into a lease to purchase a truck for the street department.

The Board of Works approved quotes for the truck $118,808.75 in December but papers could not be signed until after the first of the year. It will be financed through Republic First National Bank at 3.11 percent interest. The quotes for the truck and for the interest rate came in lower than originally thought.

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Knox City Council Reorganizes, Makes Appointments

City_of_Knox_LogoThe Knox City Council council members voted to retain Don Kring as the president of the city council when they reorganized this week.

David Matsey was retained as the city attorney along with Jeff Borg as street superintendent, Todd Gardner as water superintendent, Kelly Clemons as wastewater superintendent, Bruce Williams as planning commission administrator, Clint Norem as police chief and Kenny Pfost as fire chief. Cliff Shelhart was appointed as the animal control officer.

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Knox City Council Member Not Seeking Re-election

Linda Berndt

Linda Berndt

Knox City Councilwoman Linda Berndt announced to her fellow council members Tuesday night that she will not seek another term on the Knox City Council in this year’s Municipal Election.

This is her 20th year in serving as a councilwoman on the Knox City Council. She stated that it was a difficult decision to make, but this would give another citizen the chance to be a part of Knox government. She made it a point to encourage the council to work together for the rest of this year and in the future in preserving the resources that Knox has. Those resources include water, sanitation, police coverage, and fire protection. Work on economic growth and the retention of businesses and industries will also continue throughout the year.

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Knox City Council Tables Second Reading of Dumpster Ordinance

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

Knox City Attorney David Matsey will narrow the focus of the proposed dumpster ordinance before the city council approves the second reading.

The city council members last night reviewed the plan commission’s recommendations for the proposed ordinance. The commission members had issues with the definition of a dumpster and how the document would apply to the business sector of the city. They also felt that the time limits in the ordinance conflict with one another.

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Knox City Council to Discuss Dumpster Ordinance

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council will tackle the dumpster ordinance when they meet to work toward the second reading of the document tonight.

The council members wanted the opinion of the members of the plan commission before they approved the second reading of the ordinance. When the plan commission members met last week, they came up with several issues. Among the comments included the definition of dumpsters which they felt is too broad. They also thought the original purpose of the ordinance may have been for roll-off containers on public property and not all dumpsters. Location restrictions and time limits were additional concerns. The council will go through the plan commission’s comments when that agenda item comes up for discussion.

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Knox City Plan Commission Members Voice Concerns over Dumpster Ordinance

The Knox City Plan Commission members last night looked at the city council’s proposed ordinance pertaining to the placement of dumpsters and had several concerns.

Steve Dodge made a comment that the definition of dumpster is too broad as it would pertain to all dumpsters in the city and not a specific type of receptacle. In his opinion, recycling containers, trash containers, trash bins, and dumpsters would all qualify as a dumpster per the definition outlined in the document.

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Past Due Utility Bills Results in Liens

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

Knox Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston informed the city council members last week that he sent 11 lien notices to the Starke County Treasurer’s office. He stated that those residents were behind in paying utility bills. Those liens will be collected when property taxes are collected in May.

Mayor Rick Chambers noted that he’s talked with John Julian with Umbaugh and Associates about doing an audit of the water department accounts. There are some properties that are not being billed properly. Mayor Chambers said he would talk more about the issues and bring a contract to the council for approval for Julian’s services. There was discussion about lowering the minimum amount of gallons billed and senior citizen discounts.

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Water Bond Refinancing on Hold until 2015

Umbaugh and Associates will be working on refinancing the water bonds after the first of the year.

Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston informed the Knox City Council members that John Julian said the markets should be better after the new year starts to ensure the city gets the best rate possible. Julian approached the council earlier this month to move forward with the process. The city has $1.5 million outstanding on bonds from 1988 and from 2006. Julian suggested that refinancing now could save the city up to $10,000 a year throughout the remainder of the life of the bond.

The council previously approved an ordinance to jump start the movement on the refinancing action. Houston said he should know more about the bond refinancing during the council’s second meeting in January.

Knox Officials Discuss Heaton Street Railroad Crossing

The Knox City Council discussed the rather rough railroad crossing on Heaton Street during their meeting last week.

Councilman Jeff Berg said that he was in contact with a representative of INDOT’s Railroad Safety Coordinator to discuss the crossing. He said INDOT will be making an effort to come to a solution for that crossing. Norfolk Southern representatives have also been notified of the issues that drivers are having when they advance through the crossing.

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Knox City Council Discusses Dumpster Ordinance

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council members held further discussion on a dumpster ordinance during last night’s meeting.

Knox Mayor Rick Chambers noted that he sent out notices to four residents who could be in violation if this ordinance were to be enacted. They were invited to attend the meeting to learn more about the ordinance, but they did not appear.

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Knox City Council to Meet Tonight

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council members are looking to discuss a dumpster ordinance in which they could possibly approve on second reading when they meet tonight.

The ordinance set limits on the duration a dumpster may be placed on a property and also requires registration of the receptacle. The council members previously commented that the use of dumpsters at homes as trash bins become storage bins for garbage and attract animals. That issue may be addressed by the plan commission.

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Knox Council Passes on Parkview Lot Purchase

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council is passing for now on the purchase of a property in Parkview Heights. The owner of 406 W. Giles Court, Lot 41 offered the lot and trailer and shed that sit on it to the city for $3,500. That’s $1,000 less than her last offer.

Mayor Rick Chambers says funds from the Blight Elimination Grant the city received to buy and tear down dilapidated structures cannot be used to buy or demolish mobile homes. He also notes the city only paid $1,500 for eight vacant lots in Parkview. Continue reading

Knox Council Agrees to Finance Street Department Truck

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The City of Knox will pay for a new International 4300 dump truck for the street department over a three-year period rather than completing the purchase in a single budget year. Mayor Rick Chambers says the chassis carries a price tag of nearly $64,000 plus $55,000 for the box. He told the council they can use the $30,000 remaining in the current year’s budget as a down payment on the vehicle and finance it for three years at a rate of 3.11 percent. Continue reading

Knox Council Approves Dumpster Ordinance on First Reading

City_of_Knox_LogoThe effort to regulate the placement of construction dumpsters within the Knox city limits took a step forward last night with passage of an ordinance on first reading. It sets limits on how long dumpsters can be kept on a property and establishes registration requirements for the sake of accountability and liability should an accident occur. Continue reading

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