resident and Democrat William “Bill” Lopez will admit he does not have the
benefit of currently holding the seat for Ward 3 on the Porter Town Council
as his Republican opponent Rob Pomeroy has for the last four years, but he
says he has the right qualifications to effectively run the town.
A fiscal background
Lopez, 57, will be
a newcomer to the five-member Town Council if elected on Nov. 3. What he
intends to bring with him is his expertise in budgeting for large projects
with the skills he’s gained as a past member and president of the
Boilermakers Union Local 374.
Lopez said he
served on the Union’s executive board for nine years, starting in 2003 to
2011, and acted as Union president for three of those years. With the Union,
Lopez said he gained experience in budgeting, preparing bids and contracts
and seeing those projects through completion working within set costs.
“It all falls along
with running a town,” he said in an interview with the Chesterton Tribune.
“Most roles I’ve been in have depended on me to be fiscally responsible. I
look at the funds as if they were my own and I strive to make the correct
In addition, Lopez
has two years’ experience as treasurer of the Porter Cove Property Owners
Association and has attended every one of its annual meetings since becoming
a resident 11 years ago. He’s also been a precinct committeeman for
Westchester precinct 5 for seven years.
also owned a small business which he ran successfully for five years and
works for the Town of Chesterton’s Utility Department and said he now has
time to get into town government.
One of the main
priorities on the Council would be the budget for Lopez. Although the
shortfall isn’t as dire as it was some years ago, Lopez said he would want
to make sure that the Town has been diligent and that “everything that can
be done is being done.”
The 3 percent
raises the Council approved for town employees for 2016 is something Lopez
said he would agree with, believing that the raises motivate employees to
provide good service.
Lopez added that
“it’s always a priority for a town to take care of its residents,” whether
it comes to safety or in development planning. When it comes to drainage
matters, that falls under the auspices of the Town’s Storm Water Board, but
the Council has a responsibility to find funding, he said. If drainage
problems occur, the Council can ask planners and developers if there is
anything they can do to fix problems before the town decides to use its own
revenues to fix the issues, he said.
“We should first
exhaust all the other options before we consider using the Town’s money. It
must first be justified,” Lopez said.
On safety, Lopez
said he hopes more roads can be repaired in town. He also hopes to see
traffic improvements on U.S. 20. This past year has been dangerous because
of the construction on I-94 and routing of motorists onto U.S. 20. If the
Town can come up with a way to make travel safer, Lopez said he would
of life matters, Lopez said he agrees with the Council’s decision to keep
the ban on dogs and pets on the east side of State St. at Porter Beach. That
part of the beach gets pretty crowded in parts of the summer and, Lopez
said, he personally likes going to the beach with his family as one of the
pleasures of living here.
Looking toward the
town’s future, Lopez said he would advocate just about any economic
development as long as it didn’t negatively impact residents in any way. He
feels the best kind of development would be light industrial or hotels that
would get people visiting the Dunes area to stay here and spend some money
businesses or shops would appeal to him if it’s something residents want.
A voice to the
As a candidate for
Council Lopez said his goal, if he were to join the Council, would be “to
bring a voice to the people.” He wants to hear what is on residents’ minds
and address any issue, major or minor.
“Let’s look at the
problems together and see what the solution is,” he said.
the past several weeks, Lopez said he’s gathered from most residents he’s
talked to that they are happy with the services in town and their concerns
are mostly confined to their own neighborhoods.
One issue he’s
heard about in his own neighborhood is the need for new playground equipment
at Kids Cove, which he agrees with and hopes will happen in the
Lopez said he
wishes to make the Council more open with residents and try to make town
government more transparent.
“People want to see
what’s going on,” Lopez said.
Town residents who
are registered to vote can make their choice between Rob Pomeroy and William
“Bill” Lopez on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3. Early voting is going on now
from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Chesterton Town Hall, the Porter County
Administration Building, and the North County Complex in Portage.