Pumpkin mask

RENSSELAER — The Rensselaer City Council made it so that kids in the community can enjoy trick-or-treat this Halloween.

The council approved trick-or-treat hours for 5-7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31, during its meeting Monday night.

Council members had discussed the possibility of canceling trick-or-treat due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but felt since it is an outdoor activity and people can choose to participate or not, it should be offered.

“Just don’t have your light on if you don’t want to participate,” councilman George Cover said.

It is also recommended that those who do participate should hand out wrapped candy and not anything homemade, such as cookies or popcorn balls.

The council received word two months ago that the Safe Halloween committee’s trick-or-trunk event at the fairgrounds was canceled. Organizers were fearful of the number of people crammed into the fairgrounds at a time when social distancing must be adhered.

The town of Remington recently approved trick-or-treat hours for Halloween night from 5-8 p.m., CST.

Earlier in the meeting, the council approved first reading of the proposed rates for trash pick-up, sewage and water. Rates will be phased in over three years.

See a story on the proposed rates in Saturday’s Republican.

The council also opened bids from financial services for the city’s proposed aerial fire truck. Alliance Bank, US Bank Corp and First Merchants Bank all provided rates to help with financing of the new truck.

US Bank Corp, or the Indiana Bond Bank, appeared to come in with the lowest rate of 1.379 percent for seven years and 1.625 for 10 years.

The council appointed a committee — which includes fire chief Kenny Haun, clerk/treasurer Frieda Bretzinger and council members Russ Overton and Cover — to research the rates and make a recommendation to council members.

An amendment to the salary ordinance was also approved by council. An employee who puts in 40 years or more will now receive a $400 bonus plus a jacket with the city of Rensselaer emblem stitched on it.

The council also approved the gas utility’s request to purchase of a new gas truck at a cost of over $77,000. Funding is already available for the purchase of a new truck, said gas utility superintendent Carol Lockridge.

Lockridge said the old gas truck, a 2005 Ford model, has over $150,000 miles on it. The department will continue to use that truck until the new one is delivered next year.

“Fingers crossed we can keep it on the road until the new one arrives,” Lockridge said.