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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

City of Knox Moving Forward with Blight Elimination Program

City_of_Knox_LogoKnox Mayor Rick Chambers updated the city council last week on the Blight Elimination Program.

The city received a grant for $187,000 that will aid in the cost of removing blighted,vacant and abandoned homes in the city. A majority of the homes on the list are in the Parkview Heights area.

Mayor Chambers explained that the state does not want the purchased properties for demolition under this grant in the name of the city. They want a holding company that is not associated with the city. Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver said the city could use the development foundation as a holding company. City Attorney David Matsey will draft a Memorandum of Understanding with the development foundation to hold those properties for three years.

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Knox City Council Approves Ordinance to Refinance Water Bonds

The Knox City Council approved an ordinance to refinance the water bonds.

John Julian from Umbaugh and Associates explained to the Knox City Council members last week that the city has $1.5 million outstanding on bonds from 1988 and from 2006 and refinancing now could save the city up to $10,000 a year throughout the remainder of the life of the bond.

Julian said it depends on where the interest rates are but he hopes that he can close on this refinancing by the end of the year.

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Knox City Council Approves Funds for Shell Building

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

Money has been earmarked for the construction of a shell building in the Knox Industrial Park.

Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver told the Knox City Council members last night that companies are looking for existing structures to move right into to start up their businesses. Weaver said companies don’t want to have to go through the process of building the site with infrastructure, permitting and zoning issues. They want to have a building that they can customize to their needs and begin their business right away.

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Knox City Council to Meet Tonight

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council will meet tonight where more discussion will be held regarding a dumpster ordinance.

When the council members last met, City Attorney David Matsey issued policy copies from other municipalities and to choose specific options that would pertain to city. He noted that the main goal is to restrict the time in which dumpsters can be placed at a site where a project is in progress. More information will be sorted out during tonight’s meeting.

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Knox City Council Blesses Downtown Project

Downtown Park

The Knox City Council has blessed the development of the vacant lot at Main and Lake Streets into a Serenity Garden.

A Knox Community High School class has the city council’s enthusiastic blessing to beautify the vacant lot at the corner of Lake and Main Streets. English Department Chair John Poindexter says 33 of his senior students are taking part in the career readiness curriculum and want to put the paperwork and planning into action.

“What we’d like to do is go in and put up either a gazebo or a pergola, one of the two, and have two picnic tables or benches for people to sit in, do some landscaping and put in a brick walkway,” Poindexter told the city council. Continue reading

Church Meals at Dembowski Center on Hold

Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center

Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center

The Knox City Council is prepared to sign a memorandum of understanding for free use by local churches of the Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center to serve weekly community meals there. However the person spearheading that effort is still seeking commitments from churches to do so. Deb McIntire told City Attorney David Matsey she wants to have at least eight churches on board before proceeding.

Knox City Council May Finalize Dembowski Center Use Agreement

City_of_Knox_Logo

The Knox City Council may finalize an agreement withe area churches for use of the Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center when they meet tonight.  The churches have asked to use the facility for free once a week to serve free meals to area residents. Tonight’s agenda includes the signing of a memorandum of understanding as to the details of that arrangement. Continue reading

Mayor Chambers Voices Concerns over SWAT Mutual Aid Agreement

City_of_Knox_LogoKnox Mayor Rick Chambers told the Knox City Council members last week about some concerns he has with a proposed SWAT mutual aid agreement between Knox City Police Department officer Chad Dulin and Pulaski County.

Chambers noted that SWAT is a worthwhile program and would be great training for the rest of the city officers. It would also benefit to the community when there is a need. However, Mayor Chambers does have concerns with personnel availability and shift coverage if Dulin is called to active assignment.  He’s working on those issues before an agreement is brought before the council for final approval.

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Knox City Council to Consider Dumpster Ordinance

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council members will soon be putting together a dumpster ordinance.

Several complaints have been received concerning the placement and longevity of dumpsters at a locations throughout the city. The council members will fashion an ordinance that is suited to the needs of the city to regulate the use of the containers.

City Attorney David Matsey gave the council members a comprehensive draft of an ordinance that he put together using information from several different ordinances from different municipalities. He urged all of the members to look through the document and select items that may be relevant to the city. They will look at paring down the language at the council’s next meeting on Monday, Nov. 10.

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Knox City Council Discusses 2015 Budget

 The Knox City Council members discussed the 2015 budget during their meeting Tuesday night.

Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston explained that the budget reflects a 2.44 percent increase in appropriations. He said he hopes that it comes within the maximum levy which is the maximum amount that can be raised through property taxes.

Houston said the council members will need to make cuts to the budget in 2015.

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City of Knox Receives Blight Elimination Program Grant

City_of_Knox_LogoThe City of Knox is the recipient of a grant from the Indiana’s Hardest Hit Fund Blight Elimination Program. Eleven applicants in Division Six were awarded grants totaling $3.7 million.

The City of Knox will receive $187,000.

The Blight Elimination Program provides an opportunity for local units of government to compete for money available to prevent avoidable foreclosures through the removal of blighted, vacant and abandoned homes. In February of this year, the U.S. Department of Treasury approved the use of $75 million of Indiana’s Hardest Hit Funds by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority for successful Blight Elimination Program applicants.

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Knox City Council to Meet Tonight

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council will meet tonight where the members will continue in a discussion with the usage of the Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center in Knox by area churches.

At the last city council meeting, the members discussed drafting a memorandum of understanding for Deb McIntire and the churches to sign to make sure that all entities are on the same page regarding the intention and use of the building. That document is expected to be presented tonight. All churches involved would need to provide a certificate of insurance to the city.

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Knox High School Students Plan Community Project

Forty Knox High School senior English students have decided to pool their dreams in a unique project using the skills learned in their classrooms, such as research, writing, construction, marketing, and computer knowledge to develop a vacant Knox downtown lot into an inviting, landscaped, park-like area.

Hoping to coordinate those dreams with the Knox City Council and the Park Board, the enterprising kids are planning a gazebo, maybe a pergola, benches, a picnic table or two, and other improvements.

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Knox City Council Discusses Budget Pilot Program Analysis

 The Knox City Council members received information about the budget this week from Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston.

The city, along with all other taxing entities in Starke County, is part of a pilot program with the state this year. A meeting was held on Oct. 6 where a state analysis was reviewed. Houston said the county then provided the city with a non-binding recommendation. The city could face a huge cut in 2015.

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Knox Officer Requests Mutual Aid Agreement to Join Pulaski County SWAT Team

The Knox City Council members considered a request to add an officer from the Knox City Police Department to the Pulaski County SWAT team.

Officer Chad Dulin explained to the council members Tuesday night that he is interested in being a part of the team to help with response time in the case of a call out and for the training he can gain. He can share any tactical information with his fellow officers and it can be a refresher course at the same time.

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Knox City Council Discusses Community Center Use for Community Meals

Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center

Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center

The Knox City Council members discussed the use of the Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center for free community meals to be prepared and served by church members without paying the rental fee.

Deb McIntire proposed the idea where she explained that it is her goal to get members from eight churches on board to prepare the meals at home and to serve them at the community center. Volunteers will be setting up the room, serving food for a couple of hours and then clean the room used.

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