Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Commissioners seek $2.25 million in hospital funds for animal shelter

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

The job of building the new Porter County Animal Shelter has been officially given to Larson-Danielson Construction.

The Porter County Commissioners voted 3-0 Tuesday to award the contract to the LaPorte-based firm with two contingencies -- that County Attorney Scott McClure has final review of the contract and that the County Council allocate the funds needed for construction.

The Commissioners then voted unanimously to ask the County Council to tap into $2,250,000 of the $10 million in proceeds from the Porter Memorial Hospital sale principal set aside for capital projects.

That is not including the $1 million donation from Valparaiso resident and Shelter benefactor Jacki Stutzman. Her donation will allow additional amenities such as an area where dogs and cats could be spayed or neutered to be built.

Commissioner Jeff Good, R-Center, told the Chesterton Tribune he believes the final cost could be close to $2.5 million, but it’s hard to say at this point.

“We’re basically getting a $3 million building for $2 million is how I see it (with the donation),” Good said after the meeting.

The Commissioners talked of putting Stutzman’s donation in a sub-fund instead of being mixed in with the Shelter’s regular donation fund.

Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, suggested part of the Shelter be named for Stutzman in appreciation for her generosity. Commissioner Laura Shurr Blaney, D-South, who is Stutzman’s niece, said she “did not ask for that” but “she would appreciate it very much.”

The County Council will meet on Tuesday, June 28, to decide whether to support the $2.25 million amount. Under home rule, unanimous votes from both the Commissioners and the Council are required to spend any of the hospital principal.

The $10 million for capital projects represents the amount of hospital money that was not invested into a foundation endowment fund created by the County.

In a related matter, the Commissioners also voted 3-0 to accept a bid of $45,665 from Olson Construction to build a new offsite access road for the Shelter, which was about $10,000 less than a bid submitted by a second firm, Walsh & Kelly.

McClure said he is in discussions with the Indiana Department of Transportation on getting a right-of-way permit for the road extension and mentioned “they are willing to process it.” The Shelter will sit off of Ind. 49 near the County Expo Center and Fairgrounds on Division Rd.

Mike Jabo of DLZ Indiana said bids have also been collected to extend sewer and waterlines from the fairgrounds but advised to wait until July to select one so it will not interfere with the County Fair’s run.

Good said that the proper permitting will be acquired before construction officially begins. “We are holding ourselves to the same standards as everyone else,” he said.

 

Posted 6/15/2016

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

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