Commissioner Jim Biggs, R-North, voted no the first time on creating a fund
to receive grant money from the Indiana Lake Michigan Coastal Program to
purchase 15 additional acres at Brincka-Cross Gardens Park, but switched h*
is vote to yes at the fund’s second reading on Tuesday.
Biggs at the Jan.
31 Commissioner’s meeting voiced his concern about the County’s financial
ability to maintain and insure its properties as they grow.
Superintendent Walter Lenckos said then that his maintenance budget would
stay the same with the 15 additional acres. He told Biggs that his
department is one of the most underfunded in the state per capita and he and
the Park Board would “relish” having more funding.
The grant is for a
$58,125 match to acquire the land. One of the features planned would be
expansion of the parking area for Brincka-Cross Gardens, located on Furness
Rd. in Pine Twp.
Tuesday’s meeting told the Chesterton Tribune that he supported
second reading for the ordinance creating the fund because he knew it was
going to pass with votes from Commissioners Jeff Good, R-Center, and Laura
Shurr Blaney, D-South, and “voting no would serve no purpose.” He said he
voted against it on first reading “to send the right message to the parks”
that there is a limit to what County Government can afford.
“They need to
understand where the tipping point is at,” Biggs told the Tribune.
Since his vote on
first reading, Biggs said he has talked to park board members and supporters
who have told him he “has a point.”
that if the Parks Department wishes to have increased funding, it needs to
have a discussion with the County Council which serves as the County’s
“If they truly
believe there is an issue, they need to address it with the County Council,”
Biggs said he
agrees that having parks is a benefit for the environment and quality of
life for citizens, but wonders where funding is going to come from to
develop park land like Brookdale in Liberty Twp. and Aukiki Park in Pleasant
In other business,
the Commissioners entered into an agreement with Revelation Waste Partners
of Valparaiso to find ways to reduce the costs of handling refuse.
Office Manager for
Revelation Waste Partners Jason Roe said that his company will evaluate how
the County is billed for waste services and suggest ways to streamline and
cut down on costs. One plan is to take the food waste from the Jail and
Juvenile Detention Center and sell it to local farmers instead of having it
end up in a landfill.
Good said this will
help the Commissioners get contracts on file. Biggs said there have been
some agreements on automatic renewal that go back to the late 1990s.
will be informed about the changes and Revelation Waste Partners will be the
one company to call to take care of refuse.
“We are effectively
getting out of the trash business. We will be saving some money by doing
this the right way,” Good said.
The agreement is to
pay Revelation Waste Partners based on the amount of savings it provides to
the County with no upfront cost. Biggs said he hopes this will reduce trash
costs by about 20 percent.
New tax system
Commissioners voted in favor of upgrading the County Treasurer’s taxes
website to a program that will be compatible with most computers.
Michelle Clancy said the current tax site is becoming antiquated “very
quickly” and most users have problems accessing it.
The new program is
with LOW Associates, which the County has hired for many projects related to
taxes. Clancy said anyone can use the site, including mortgage and title
Vicki Urbanik said she is in complete support as complaints about the
current system have been made to her office.
In other matters,
the Commissioners approved the sixth payout to Larson Danielson Construction
for the new County Animal Shelter in the amount of $455,202. Stephen
Kromkowski of DLZ Indiana said this completes about 80 percent of
The County also has
$40,000 in credit in an allowance that hasn’t been touched yet, he added.
“Getting credit and
still ahead of schedule. That’s a pretty good deal,” Biggs said.
Commissioners approved a service agreement with Gertzen Water Management
Company of Valparaiso for the new sewer screen system at the jail for $4,800