Chesterton Tribune

Porter voters have clear choices in three races Tuesday

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By PAULENE POPARAD

Republicans Carol Pomeroy, Jeanine Virtue and Rob Pomeroy are all unopposed in the Town of Porterís general election Tuesday.

Pomeroy seeks another term as Clerk-treasurer, Virtue the Ward 2 Town Council seat and Pomeroy the same in Ward 3.

Republican incumbents in those wards --- Jon Granat and Dave Babcock, respectively --- didnít seek a second term, and current Ward 1 Republican councilman Todd Martin lost his re-election bid in the primary.

That leaves three Democrats in contested races hoping to break the current all-GOP hold on Porter town government, and Republicans hoping to fend off the takeover attempt.

Kenneth Timm is carrying the GOP banner in Ward 1 after defeating Martin in May; Democrat William Cantrell also wants to claim that Town Council seat. Timm had sought being appointed to the council in the 2008 GOP caucus that chose Martin. Cantrell previously served as an elected member of the Westchester Township Board and of the Union Township School Board in Wheeler.

Timm has been a member of the Porter Plan Commission for almost eight years and recently was named to the town Board of Zoning Appeals. Cantrell is a member of the Porter Stormwater Management Board.

Timm wants to finish the repair/replacement of Porterís sewer infrastructure, encourage economic development in Porter and, most of all, listen to what the people of Porter have to say. His main priority will be to do the best job he can to benefit the town and have it run smoothly, said Timm.

Cantrell supports and would expand the Gateway plan to include more areas along U.S. 20; work to enact a policy that no appointed board can levy taxes, fees, take on debt or property without Town Council approval; and listen to residentsí concerns, especially regarding the impact of tourism, bike trail security and Porterís way of life.

He would use openness, public respect and non-partisanship to rebuild public trust so the Town Council can return to serving all the people, added Cantrell.

In Ward 4, Republican incumbent Trevin Fowler is seeking his first full term after being appointed by a GOP caucus to the Town Council 15 months ago although Fowler has been a member of the Porter Redevelopment Commission since 2008.

Heís opposed by current Porter Board of Zoning Appeals member Elka Nelson, a Democrat. She and Fowler offer voters a clear choice regarding their respective positions on several issues including the ongoing Gateway and Brickyard economic-development initiatives.

Fowler said those two projects and vibrant development of Porterís downtown Hawthorne Park, coupled with planned town hike/bike trails, are all important to the townís future to create jobs, lower taxes and increase revenue. With the town owning the 32-acre Brickyard site, he noted, Porterís perfectly positioned to seek grants and approvals for the environmental remediation needed there.

His main priority in a full term, Fowler added, is to ensure basic services are sustained for residents while continuing to champion the Gateway and Brickyard to move Porter forward.

Nelson said sheíd encourage a complete review and possible revision of the Porter town code; seek public input and fully research matters prior to any decision; retain qualified advisors on how to proceed with the Brickyard project; and foster a policy of responsive, respectful, reliable town services from all Porter boards, departments and council members.

Additionally, according to Nelson, the town should negotiate to provide the least amount of assistance to Gateway developers, and her main priority is to gain the confidence and trust of residents by working together to return the Town of Porter to its citizens.

The contest to represent Ward 5 on the Town Council has one-term Republican incumbent Michele Bollinger challenged by Democrat Greg Stinson. Sheís served on the town Redevelopment Commission and Plan Commission as well as being the townís appointee to various regional boards/committees; Stinsonís been a member of the Porter Plan Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals for seven years.

One of several differences between the candidatesí positions is Bollinger said she would designate land within the Gateway project boundaries as a tax-increment financing or TIF district to assure Porter has the money needed for areas of growth; Stinson said a careful analysis should be done first because overuse of TIF can have negative effects on Porterís general budget.

Bollinger said she wants to continue the focus on developing the Gateway and the Brickyard to create sustainable jobs and lower property taxes; she would continue the current $5.1 million program to rehabilitate Porterís aging sewer system and continue to examine and make the necessary changes and updates to the town code, especially the current building code.

Her entire reason for seeking a second term, she explained, is to finish what her council has started and to see many of those projects, including the Gateway, the Brickyard, the Dunes Kankakee Trail and the Orchard Pedestrian Trail, come to fruition.

Stinson called for developing a Porter strategic plan that would allow the town to plan, prioritize and organize its organizational structure, development efforts and spending. He also wants to review/revise the town code, have all eligible reports, documents and minutes posted on the townís website, and have a meaningful question-and-answer session for residents at each council meeting.

His main priority, said Stinson, will be to quickly change the tone in the town hall by constructively engaging residents and being a responsible representative who will work in their best interests.

All contested candidates responded to a more detailed Chesterton Tribune questionnaire addressing specific campaign issues. The answers in the Timm/Cantrell race were published Oct. 27, and both the Fowler/Nelson and Bollinger/Stinson races on Oct. 26. All can be found at www.chestertontribune.com

 

Posted 11/7/2011