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Today's News

Knox City Council to Move Forward with Refinancing Water Bonds

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council will be considering refinancing the water bonds to save money over the life of the bonds.

Mayor Rick Chambers explained how much the city could save each year of the life of the bonds.

“We’re currently paying on two water bonds. The first one will be paid off in 2025 and we owe about $650,000 on that one. The second one will be paid off three years later in 2028 and we owe about $950,000 on that one – so, about $1.6 million. Right now we’re paying 4.75 percent interest on one and almost five on the other. Umbaugh believes we re-bond in the low threes. Over the life of 14 years, we could save about $150,000,” explained Chambers.

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Knox City Council Tables Community Center Use Request

Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center

Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center

The Knox City Council members held discussion on the use of the Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center by area church groups.

The request was to use the facility free of charge once a week to provide enough space to serve meals to community members in need. The great room or executive room would be used along with the kitchen in order to prepare the meals for service. A different church group would use the facility once a week to host the meals and four hours would be set aside for preparation, service and clean-up.

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Fire Marshal to Investigate Factory Fire, City Council Praise Efforts of Firefighters

An investigator from the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office will be in Knox tomorrow to determine the cause of the fire at Standard Pallet on 300 East on Friday. Firefighters from four different fire departments were on the scene for nine hours to ensure that the fire was extinguished.

On Tuesday night, the Knox City Council members expressed their gratitude to the firefighters for their dedication to the safety of the citizens of Knox. It was noted that the firefighters are volunteers and it’s their life and time they put on the line to respond to a fire and to assist the needs of residents. Some firefighters made sure to notify employers of the situation last week and stayed on the scene to make sure that the area was secure before leaving.

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Knox City Council Approves Grant Match for Blight Elimination Program Grant

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council approved a 10 percent match to attempt to get a grant to rid the city of some unsafe homes.

It’s part of the Blight Elimination Program which would assist the city in purchasing homes that are listed as unsafe and blighted and demolish them. The majority of the homes that would be considered for this grant are in the Parkview Heights area.

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Knox City Council to Meet Tonight

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council will discuss a 10 percent match from the city to go toward a $180,000 grant in the Blight Elimination Program.

A match and commitment letter will be considered by the council tonight.

The grant will assist the city with identifying unsafe or abandoned properties to be acquired by the city, estimating the costs of any project, and preparation of the application for funding and developing a strategy.

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Harvest Festival to be Revived in 2015

The Harvest Festival in Knox has an organizer for 2015.

Paula Voss approached the Knox City Council last week and offered to take on the popular festival. She noted that it will be held the same weekend as in the past and she’s already in contact with vendors to revive the three-day event in downtown Knox.

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Knox City Council to Review Budget

 The Knox City Council members were presented with the 2015 budget and the budget calendar during Tuesday night’s meeting.

Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston explained that the budget process has been pushed back a bit due to a pilot program with which the county is involved.

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Knox Park Department Completing Projects

Knox Park Superintendent George Byer gave an update to the Knox City Council members last night on the state of the city’s parks.

Byer said since the vandalism has tapered off a bit, the park crews have been able to work in Heritage Park. They’ve installed a bench, a swing set, teeter-totter, and rehabilitated the monkey bars. Water Superintendent Todd Gardner will be helping the park department with running a line for a water fountain at the park. The board has plans to build a shelter at the park next year.

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Knox City Council to Meet Tonight

The Knox City Council members will meet tonight at 7 p.m. CT at Knox City Hall.

The council will move forward with the 2015 budget calendar and discuss the 2015 budget tonight in a public session. Mayor Rick Chambers and Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston will have a report and members of the public are welcome to share comments during this meeting.

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Knox Mayor Gives Update to City Council

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

Knox Mayor Rick Chambers informed the city council this week that a new crossing guard is needed for the new school year. It’s a part time position and the candidate will be required to assist children in the morning and in the afternoon at the intersection at Main Street and Culver Road all school year. Any interested candidates can call the mayor’s office at 772-4553.

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Knox City Council Discusses 2015 Salary Ordinance

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council held more discussion on the 2015 salary ordinance during their meeting this week.

Councilman Don Kring had concerns about the budget and making cuts to the budget. He expressed that he wants to see a raise for the employees but he would hate to see things in the budget that would have to be cut because of the raise.

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Knox City Council Approves Tall Grass Ordinance

 The tall grass ordinance was approved on the third and final reading by the Knox City Council members Tuesday night.

There was no further discussion. The minimum height any grass or rank vegetation may reach before being subject to an ordinance violation is eight inches. If there is a violation, the penalty will be $75. Any ignorance of the warnings given will result in a contractor mowing the property and a tax lien filed against the property owner.

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Knox City Council to Discuss Ordinances

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council will meet tonight where more discussion will be held concerning two ordinances.

The tall grass ordinance is expected to be passed on third and final reading. At the last council meeting, the council members agreed to change the height from six to eight inches as the benchmark for needing to mow grass or rank vegetation. The other change the council members approved was an additional penalty. The current ordinance has a fine of $25 for any person who violates the ordinance. The members approved an increase to $75 for the violation.

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Fireworks Show a Success in Starke County

 The fireworks show at the Starke County Airport held one week ago today was well attended, according to Knox Mayor Rick Chambers.

Chambers told the Knox City Council members this week that with the fireworks committee’s fundraisers, gate collections, donations from the three county commissioners, several monetary donations from businesses and individuals, the town of Hamlet and a generous donation from the town of North Judson, the only loss the city of Knox will realize is $767. The show was $8,550 and $7,783 was collected.

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Knox City Council Concerned over Vandalism at Wythogan Park

Wythogan Park

Wythogan Park

The Knox City Council learned this week of ongoing vandalism at Wythogan Park.

Park Superintendent George Byer has informed authorities that there is some form of vandalism at the park on a constant basis. Recently a picnic table was thrown into the river, a toilet was blown up by a firecracker, two fountains were destroyed and the cannon in the park has also suffered damage from vandals.

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Knox City Council Discusses Salary Ordinance

 The Knox City Council members discussed, at length, the 2015 salary ordinance during their regular meeting on Tuesday night.

As promised, Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston provided the city council members with a total cost of what a three percent salary increase would look like. The cost came to $43,642 for all employees. Houston explained that the cost of living increase was determined to be 1.5 percent and a 6.5 increase in insurance is expected for next year. The proposed salary increase would likely cover those statistics.

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Knox City Council Approves Tall Grass Ordinance on Second Reading

 The Knox City Council approved the second reading of an ordinance regarding the removal of weeds and other rank vegetation but not before approving some changes.

The issue of how tall grass and rank vegetation has to be before a notice is sent to the property owner was discussed. The previously discussed height was six inches, but the council members ultimately increased the height requirement to eight inches. If a property is not maintained with this mandate, the city will send a notice and if it is not taken care of within five days the city will send a contractor to the home and mow the property. A bill will be sent to the property owner for the cost of the maintenance. If the bill is not paid, a lien will be placed on the owner’s property taxes to recoup the cost. An additional administrative cost of $15 will be assessed.

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Knox City Council to Meet Tonight

The Knox City Council will meet tonight to talk more about two ordinances that were approved on the first reading during their last meeting.

The council members will discuss the tall grass ordinance. They had a question about the penalties involved with the non-removal of rank vegetation so that issue will be tackled tonight. Another issue will be the number of days that would be allowed before the city would go in and mow the property. The second reading on that ordinance is on the agenda tonight.

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Knox Mayor Gets Questions about Golf Cart Ordinance

Knox Mayor Rick Chambers told the city council members in a recent meeting that he has been approached about driving gators, an off-road vehicle, in the city limits.

He said the city’s ordinance is pretty clear, although more research will be done to see if it needs updated.

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