Starke County EMA Director to Plan Training

Local officials will soon receive training in case of a train accident.

Starke County Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Bombagetti is gathering information to present to firefighters, police officers, and department heads. The material presented will help those officials identify what is in the cars and how to react.

Mayor Rick Chambers told the Knox City Council this week that he and Bombagetti were discussing the issue as a train rolled through the city. Many trains make their way through Knox on a daily basis, and it’s not always known what materials are contained in tankers.

A session will be scheduled soon to help prepare officials in the instance of an accident.

Inspections Conducted on Homes Set for Demolition

Inspections have been conducted on the Knox homes included in the grant from the Indiana’s Hardest Hit Fund Blight Elimination Program.

Mayor Rick Chambers said that the inspectors from the state checked for oil containers, paint, round fluorescent bulbs, and newer thermostats. Those items need to be removed from the homes before they are demolished.

Continue reading

Circuit Breaker Law Means Less Money for City of Knox Budget

 The Knox City Council was faced with a tough decision last night to approve budget reductions made by departments due to the circuit breaker law.

Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston explained the reductions made to the budget to the council members.

“The circuit breaker credits equal $261,249.27,” said Houston. “That is 16.39 percent of the certified levy. The certified levy is the maximum amount of money that you can collect from property taxes. You’ll see the General Fund was cut 18.36 percent, and each one of them was cut about 18.36 percent other than our two debt funds, and they were cut .06 percent.”

Circuit breaker credits amount to less money coming into the city’s budget from the tax distribution. More money is required to be cut this year than last year.

Houston said that he went to each department head to ask them to reduce their budget by a certain percentage.

Now that the process is complete, a resolution to transfer funds was drafted. Houston said he checked with the Department of Local Government Finance, and the process he’s recommending includes putting money into a circuit breaker line item within a department’s budget.

“We still want to be able to get our maximum levy. We don’t want to do a budget reduction. We just want to move these appropriations down into an unappropriated area or circuit breaker area so that we don’t spend more money than we have coming in.”

Houston said about $261,000 is the circuit breaker, and that means the city council will need to watch all spending.

“It’s cutting it right to the bone. There’s no doubt about it. We’ll have to be very frugal. We have to do what we have to do.”

In addition to tax caps, the reduction of the assessed valuation of property can be attributed to some of the loss of tax money coming into the city.

The council members agreed that they have no other choice but to approve the resolution presented to them by Houston. The council approved the resolution for the transfer of funds with a unanimous vote.

Knox City Council to Consider Budget Cuts

 The Knox City Council members are expected to act on a recommendation by the clerk-treasurer on cuts that are to be considered due to the circuit breaker law.

Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston explained that caps have been placed on the amount of property taxes residents are required to pay which means less money into the city’s budget. Houston said $261,000 needs to be cut, and every department has made those cuts. Those cuts will be presented in a resolution tonight for the council’s approval.

Continue reading

Thousands Saved in Refinancing Water Bonds

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council’s decision to refinance water works bonds will save the city quite a bit of money over the remainder of the life of the bonds.

Umbaugh and Associates representative John Julian approached the city council members in December to recommend refinancing $1.5 million on water bonds from 1988 and 2006. At the time, Julian said the action could save the city up to $10,000 a year.

Continue reading

Knox City Council Approves Toll Brothers Tax Abatement

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council reviewed paperwork this week for tax abatement purposes for Toll Brothers in Knox.

General Manager Brian Trapp presented the council with the documents to show their requirements to be granted tax abatement. The company first sought tax abatement eight years ago. They are up nine employees since last year.

Continue reading

Knox City Council Approves Purchase of New Stop Light

 The stop light at Main and Culver Roads in Knox will be replaced.

A proposal was given to the city council that will include labor, wiring, installation, control box, for a brand-new stop light with LED lighting at a cost of $5,250. Other estimates given to the city for the past several years have been over ten times that amount.

Continue reading

Knox City Council Approves Resolution for Proposed Water Project

  The Knox City Council approved a resolution to apply for a $350,000 grant from the state Office of Community and Rural Affairs for a proposed water project. The city has earmarked a 25 percent match of $87,500 for the project. It could include the replacement of water lines around brown circle on Delamatyr, Fisher and Adam. 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.

Continue reading

Knox City Council Members Approve Donation Toward Serenity Garden Project

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council agreed to donate funds to build a gazebo for the Serenity Garden project.

Knox High School students will be planting trees, flowers, and other plants in the green space at the corner of Lake and Main Streets in the downtown area. Don White, who is a member of the Starke County Economic Development Board of Directors, presented the council members with an idea for a sturdier structure for a gazebo at that location.

Continue reading

Knox City Council to Review Comprehensive Plan Tonight

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council members will discuss progress on the Serenity Garden project when they meet tonight.

Knox High School students are working hard to get things ready for the project at the corner of Lake and Main Streets in downtown Knox. The students are planning to plant donated vegetation and flowers at the location as well as install purchased benches and bricks in the allotted space. The project is expected to get underway soon.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading