Chesterton Tribune

Kenneth Timm vs. William Cantrell in Porter Town Council race

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By PAULENE POPARAD

Incumbent first-term Porter Town Council member Todd Martin didn’t survive a Republican primary battle, clearing the way for a new face to represent Ward 1.

Hoping to succeed him are Republican Kenneth Timm, president of Sleepy Hollow Leather/Sleepy Hollow Lock and Key, and Democrat William R. Cantrell, who questions whether he’s really retired because he serves as president of the Porter Stormwater Board, a church deacon, secretary/treasurer of Porter County Triad, area coordinator of SOAR, and a Democratic precinct committeeman.

Both men support a more cautious approach to developing the vacant Brickyard property at Beam Street and Sexton Avenue, for which the Porter Redevelopment Commission paid $350,000 in 2009. Since then state environmental officials have required additional testing to determine the extent of contamination on a portion of the site.

Below are the candidates’ responses to a Chesterton Tribune questionnaire.

 

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WILLIAM R. CANTRELL

 

KENNETH TIMM

Age: 64

Years lived in Porter: I have been coming to Porter all my life. I moved our business to Duneland 31 years ago. My wife Lori and I moved to Porter 19 years ago.

What qualifications/experience do you have that makes you the best candidate for your office? Served on the Town of Porter Plan Commission for 7 1/2 years and I am now a member of the Porter Board of Zoning Appeals. I am up to date with current issues the Town is facing now and in the next four years. I also think that 30-plus years of business experience in Porter and Chesterton will bring a fresh perspective to the Porter Town Council.

If elected, what three projects, changes or policies would you like to see implemented for Porter? Finish the repair or replacement of sewer infrastructure, encourage economic development in Porter, and most of all listen to what the people of Porter have to say.

Should Town Council members be eligible to receive health insurance coverage for themselves and their families on the Town’s employee policy? I think all town employees should be treated fairly no matter what job they have, and decide for themself if they want any benefit that is offered by the Town. As for myself, I have my own insurance at this time and will be eligible for Medicare Nov. 1 of this year and will be changing to a supplemental policy in November.

To what extent should the Town assist developers (such as purchase land, give tax abatement, install infrastructure, fund feasibility studies) when implementing the Gateway plan? The Town should use any and all of the tools listed above to promote, market and implement the Gateway Plan but only to the benefit of the Town.

Should Porter designate land within the Gateway project boundaries as a tax-increment financing or TIF district, reserving future property taxes on new development there for the Town alone? I think the Town Council will need to designate some of the land as a TIF district. But not being a fan of TIF districts we will need to be very careful designating where or what land we target as a TIF district. I prefer tax dollars going to the normal taxing units (schools, etc.).

How would you proceed regarding the 32-acre Brickyard redevelopment project? At this time I think we need to step back from the Brickyard project, on hold for a bit at least till we have a better grasp of the costs.

It has been Town policy to have the Porter building commissioner be a member of the Porter Plan Commission. In addition to a base salary, the building commissioner also is paid 10% of the building permit fees collected; these quarterly checks totaled $4,972 in 2010 and $3,025 as of Oct. 5 this year. By voting yes on any petition (subdivision, PUD) that will result in the issuance of one or more building permits, isn’t that a conflict of interest since the building commissioner will benefit financially from his/her vote? You may have a point. I looked up the rules and after reading Article V, Section 3 there may be a conflict with the building commissioner being a voting member. It is something to be looked into.

What will be your main priority as a member of the Porter Town Council? To do the best job I can to benefit the Town and have the Town run smooth.

 

WILLIAM R. CANTRELL

Age: 69

Years lived in Porter: No answer given

What qualifications/experience do you have that makes you the best candidate for your office? I have held office on the Westchester Township Board and the Union Township School Board (Wheeler). I have a proven record of openness, integrity and non-partisan leadership. I have attended most every Town Council meeting the last ten years being a community watchdog.

If elected, what three projects changes or policies would you like to see implemented for Porter? 1) Since 2006 I have supported the Marquette Plan to turn the Dunes tourism into an economic engine for this area. Porter calls its part of this plan “The Gateway Plan.” I will work to expand the present version to include the whole Rt. 20 corridor, and for the betterment of downtown Porter. 2) I will work to enact a policy that no appointed board can levy taxes, fees, take on debt or property without the approval of the elected Town Council. 3) Rolling door to door listening to the residents’ concerns about the impact of tourism, bike trail security and our Town’s way of life. I will work with all council members to make these problems one of our top concerns.

Should Town Council members be eligible to receive health insurance coverage for themselves and their families on the Town’s employee policy? Councilmen are part-time employees and should not receive insurance paid for by the Town. If they want to join the Town’s insurance program they can have the cost deducted from their councilman’s pay.

To what extent should the Town assist developers (such as purchase land, give tax abatement, install infrastructure, fund feasibility studies) when implementing the Gateway plan? Right now almost every ear mark dollar on this project has been spent in this manner. There is time to review the Gateway project. As for other projects in the future, you must be very careful in giving into these blackmail schemes to make sure your town will ever get any positive returns.

Should Porter designate land within the Gateway project boundaries as a tax-increment financing or TIF district, reserving future property taxes on new development there for the Town alone? This Gateway Plan is still in flux and the Town needs to be open about implementing TIF Districts to help its financial future.

How would you proceed regarding the 32-acre Brickyard redevelopment project? I publicly criticized the Redevelopment Board about not having any open public discussion on the Brickyard project. I said they were rolling the dice and buying a pig in a poke in purchasing this untested property. Now we need to review the contract and see if we can recover the taxpayer’s money.

It has been Town policy to have the Porter building commissioner be a member of the Porter Plan Commission. In addition to a base salary, the building commissioner also is paid 10% of the building permit fees collected; these quarterly checks totaled $4972 in 2010 and $3,025 as of Oct. 5 this year. By voting yes on any petition (subdivision, PUD) that will result in the issuance of one or more building permits, isn’t that a conflict of interest since the building commissioner will benefit financially from his/her vote? One of the Indiana Commission on Local Government Reform recommendations was to eliminate this practice. I feel the Building Commissioner should attend the Plan Commission meeting for updates and input but not as a voting member.

What will be your main priority as a member of the Porter Town Council? I will work to cut the lines that have divided our Town by using openness, public respect and non-partisanship to rebuild public trust so that the council can return to serving all the people.

 

Posted 10/27/2011