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

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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