Knox City Council Members Discuss Seed Money for Harvest Festival

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council members held a lengthy discussion Tuesday night concerning seed money for the 2015 Harvest Festival.

A request for $2,500 was made by Mayor Rick Chambers to front the organization money just to cover initial expenses. The money will be returned once revenue is received.

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Mayor Gives Update on Monday Power Outage

IMG_3651The power issue in downtown Knox on Monday morning affected 700 homes and businesses.

Knox Mayor Rick Chambers informed the council members last night that City Hall was shut down for the day until repairs were made, and MPI had to close production for the day due to lack of power.

The driver of a garbage hauler dropped off the large recycling bins at City Hall and failed to lower the rack on the truck. That rack caught the telephone lines as he was pulling away from the parking lot and snapped the pole in half. The lines were attached to City Hall.

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Knox City Council to Meet Tonight

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council will be discussing a request from the Starke County Election Board to host the Municipal Primary Election at a location in downtown Knox.

Voters in the four districts in Knox typically vote at the Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center and the request is to continue in that agreement. The Municipal Primary Election is scheduled for Tuesday, May 5. The city council will entertain the request when they meet tonight.

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Knox City Council Encourages Residents to Look at the Bright Side

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council encourages all to work hard to highlight positive aspects in Knox.

Several projects are upcoming that city council members are looking toward to help improve the city. The City of Knox is working on a comprehensive plan to improve the downtown area and blighted properties. Knox High School students are doing their part in beautifying the downtown area with a Serenity Garden project. Gazebos, benches and plants will be placed at the site for an uplifting feel for the downtown area.

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Knox Officials Continue to Move Forward with Blight Elimination Grant

Paperwork will need to be published in order for Knox officials to move along with a grant for blighted properties.

Mayor Rick Chambers explained to the city council members this week that the city purchased five properties in the recent tax sale and those properties will be included as part of the Blight Elimination grant. Chambers said Judge Kim Hall informed the city that the sale needs to be published three times in order before deeds can be issued. Certified letters were also sent.

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Grant Match Approved for Proposed Water Project in Knox

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council discussed a grant match amount for the proposed water project.

The project will replace outdated galvanized lines and repair pressure issues to fire hydrants. Water Superintendent Todd Gardner told the Board of Public Works recently that the section of line around brown circle on Delamatyr and Fisher and Adam will be replaced. The other part of the project would extend lines to Mound Street and Myrtle Court. Washington Street and Allen Drive would also be involved.  The project may also include an extension of lines from Williams Street to John Street.

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Railroad Crossing Complaints Discussed by Knox City Council

Knox Mayor Rick Chambers has been getting several complaints from motorists about the U.S 35 railroad crossing in the city.

A resident recently came into City Hall with an estimate to replace a hubcap lost as a result of the rough crossing. Mayor Chambers told the resident that the City does not maintain that crossing. The railroad crossing is under the jurisdiction of Norfolk Southern and the Indiana Department of Transportation. Those experiencing damage need to contact those two entities to submit a claim or report a complaint.

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Knox Public Hearing Held for Proposed Grant Application for Water Line Upgrades

The Knox City Council held a public hearing Monday night to gather opinions on a proposed grant application for a water line project this summer.

K-IPRC Executive Director Edwin Buswell said the City of Knox will be applying for an Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) grant in the amount of $350,000 for the project. The local match will be 20 percent or $70,000.

Mayor Rick Chambers explained that Water Superintendent Todd Gardner and the engineers are looking to improve water flow in areas of the city.

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Dumpster Ordinance Reaches Final Hurdle

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council members held further discussion on the proposed dumpster ordinance.

Councilman Don Kring commented that he would like to see the ordinance without the residential provision in it. The ordinance restricts a dumpster in areas zoned R-1. A dumpster could be allowed in an R-1 zone if a building permit is acquired. A dumpster is allowed in any 10-day period out of a month one time a year for cleaning projects or a roofing project. A dumpster may also be included in R-1 if a variance is granted by the Board of Public Works. Otherwise, a dumpster is not allowed.

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Dumpster Ordinance on Tonight’s Knox City Council Agenda

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council members will be meeting tonight rather than their regular meeting night that occurs on the second and fourth Tuesdays.

The council will attempt to pass the third and final reading of the dumpster ordinance. There was a lengthy discussion about the proposed ordinance at the last meeting where the revised document included the requirement to have a building permit to place a dumpster on a property zoned R-1. A dumpster is allowed in any 10-day period out of a month one time a year for cleaning projects or a roofing project, or appear before the Board of Public Works for a variance.

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Blight Elimination Grant Public Hearing Scheduled

Another public hearing for the Blight Elimination Grant will be held Wednesday, March 18 at 1 p.m. CT at Knox City Hall.

A list of homes included in the grant will be advertised, and a representative from the state will address questions or concerns. An inspection is be conducted in the homes proposed in the grant to determine what can and cannot be recycled from these homes.

Four or five homes were added to the list in case others aren’t accepted.

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Knox City Council Reviews Facility Expenses

Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center

Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center

Knox Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston gave the city council an update on the income and expenses at the girl scout cabin, the Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center and the Gateway property.

The Gateway gathers income from the Starke County Chamber of Commerce, Starke County Tourism Commission, Starke County Economic Development Foundation, and the city. The fund stayed in the black in 2014. The girl scout cabin revenue was less than $100 short of the fund balance.

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Contract Approved for Fireworks Celebration

 The Knox City Council approved a contract for the annual Fourth of July Fireworks celebration at the Starke County Airport.

The celebration will be held on Friday, July 3. The contract with Mad Bomber is for $8,000 which is an increase of $200 from last year. The contract in 2013 was $7,500, so the price has steadily increased. The other contract terms are the same as in previous years.

A copy of the city’s insurance and the contractor’s insurance will be provided to the Starke County Aviation Board.

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Knox Residents Asked to Clear Sidewalks of Snow

 It’s important to clear sidewalks of snow for public safety. That’s the opinion of the Knox City Council members after receiving complaints from residents after the last snow storm.

Several council members received complaints of residents having to walk in the street in order to get to their destination. They were especially concerned when they saw citizens walking on U.S. 35 because the sidewalks were not cleared by property owners.

Mayor Rick Chambers said he received complaints about snow piled up on street corners. The street department was sent out to clear sidewalks and corners where private contractors piled the snow too high. Several mailboxes will be repaired by the city. They were knocked down to due to the heavy, wet snow.

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Knox City Council Discusses Dumpster Ordinance

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council held discussion on the dumpster ordinance last night.

Mayor Rick Chambers explained that at the last meeting they discussed allowing dumpsters in the residential districts if certain criteria are met. However, the mayor said he and City Attorney David Matsey looked over the ordinance, and the original intent was not to allow dumpsters in the areas zoned R-1 and on the public right of way. The way the ordinance is amended for the second reading, in order to have a dumpster in R-1 a building permit is needed. A dumpster is allowed in any ten-day period out of a month one time a year for cleaning projects or a roofing project, or appear before the Board of Public Works for a variance.

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Knox City Council to Meet Tonight

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council members will review another revised dumpster ordinance for approval on the second reading when they meet tonight.

City Attorney David Matsey had slimmed down the ordinance after receiving comments from the Knox Plan Commission members. The ordinance only restricts the use of dumpsters zoned R-1, R-2, R-3 and R-4 on the public right of way. It also includes a restriction of dumpsters on private property. The revised version that the council will look at tonight will include wording that dumpsters are allowed on private property as long as they are behind the front of the house in a fenced area and they are permitted to be there by a building permit. A dumpster may also be placed on the property for 10 days out of a 30 day period once a year. It was also suggested to include the ordinance bureau guidelines for fines.

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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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