Today's News

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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Local Official Attends Economic Development Course

City officials, Ball State students, chamber of commerce, and economic development representatives from across the state of Indiana recently attended the Indiana Economic Development course at Ball State University which focused on the theory and practice of economic development.

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Starke County Seeking Convention and Visitors Bureau Board Members

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Commissioners are struggling to fill out the county’s Convention and Visitors Commission Board of Directors. The nine-member panel was established according to state guidelines, which outline the political balance and other qualifications to serve.

Knox Mayor Rick Chambers is the city’s lone representative. The other eight members are appointed by the Starke County Commissioners. State law requires a simple majority, in this case 5 members, be engaged in convention, visitor or tourism business or be involved in promoting conventions, visitors or tourism. If available and willing to serve, at least two members must be engaged in the business of renting or furnishing rooms, lodging or accommodations as described in state law. Additionally, not more than one member may be affiliated with the same business entity, and no more than a simple majority of members may be affiliated with the same political party. Also, each board member must live in Starke County. Continue reading

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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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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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 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 Mayor Announces Reelection Bid

Knox Mayor Rick Chambers

Knox Mayor Rick Chambers

Knox Mayor Rick Chambers is running for reelection. He notes much progress has been made in the city during his seven years in office and adds a process is under way to develop a long-range plan with citizen input to continue growth and prosperity.

Chambers also cites his experience running the city on a reduced budget due to state funding cuts. During his tenure as mayor, Knox has been awarded nearly $2 million in grants. 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 Officials Still Researching Dumpster Regulations

City_of_Knox_LogoThe Knox City Council is still gathering information about dumpster regulations before drafting an ordinance to govern their placement within the city limits. City attorney David Matsey gave the council copies of policies from other communities to review. He says the goal is to keep dumpsters from being placed indefinitely in front of homes or other structures. 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 Discusses Agreement for Use of the Community Center

Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center

Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center

Knox City Attorney David Matsey is working on a Memorandum of Understanding between the city and Deb McIntire and between the city and the area churches that will be a part of serving free meals out of the Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center in Knox once a week beginning next year.

There will no rental fee associated with this endeavor.

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City of Knox to Draw New Comprehensive Plan

Officials met last week to look into composing a new five-year comprehensive plan for the city of Knox.

Knox Mayor Rick Chambers said a company will be hired to design a plan.

“We have hired a company from Indianapolis called Green Three and this company will be hired from a grant that we have obtained from the State of Indiana from OCRA (Office of Community and Rural Affairs) to update Knox’s five-year plan and give us a direction of where we want to go,” stated Chambers.

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Contractors Needed for Home Repairs for City Grant Project

The City of Knox is looking for contractors to bid on repairs on homes through the Area 5 program.

Five roofing jobs were awarded to companies in LaPorte and Logansport and now local contractors are urged to bid on homes that need electrical repairs, plumbing repairs and general contracting repairs. The city has secured grant money and are waiting for companies to bid on the projects.

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Knox Board of Public Works Discusses Drug Testing Policy

The Knox Board of Public Works approved a change in the drug testing policy for employees.

Knox Mayor Rick Chambers explained that the policy is outdated. The current policy requires all employees to be drug tested when the state only requires employees with a CDL to be tested. The requirement for all employees to be tested takes time away from their daily duties and the mayor suggested that it’s “overkill”.

Mayor Chambers suggested to the board that an ordinance be drawn up by City Attorney David Matsey that requires prospective employees be drug tested and those with a CDL to be randomly drug tested throughout the year.

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Knox Park Board to Consider Safety Suggestions

City of Knox logoThe Knox Park Board will consider suggestions offered recently to curb vandalism at Wythogan Park when they meet this evening. Mayor Rick Chambers recently hosted a community discussion to gather thoughts on the issue. Afterward he said several good suggestions were offered, including a stronger police presence and writing more curfew tickets to juveniles who are in the park after hours. Continue reading

Mayor Chambers Clears an Issue with Outdoor Storage Ordinance Confusion

Knox Mayor Rick Chambers informed the city council members last week that a fundraising concept has been nixed at a few businesses in the city because there is some confusion with the outdoor storage ordinance.

Mayor Chambers explained that a non-profit organization attempted to have a port-a-pit chicken sale at a business but the organization members were told it couldn’t be held at the location because it conflicted with the outdoor storage ordinance.

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