Government will soon have the resources to remove hazardous buildings in the
unincorporated areas as the Board of Commissioners voted favorably to enact
an ordinance for an unsafe building fund.
President John Evans, R-North, said he’s “as pleased as punch” for the
County to have the find, jesting that it has needed one “for 100 years” as
it has always been a fight to clear out those structures.
“We’re now going to
have a way to pay for it,” he said.
Commissioners Laura Shurr Blaney, D-South, and Jeff Good, R-Center, voted
for the ordinance at their meeting Tuesday as well as an ordinance listing
the plan commission and building fees that will be collected for the fund.
“We’ve asked why
can’t we do something about this but we’ve never had the funding. This
couldn’t have come at a better time,” Good said.
Director of the
County’s Development and Stormwater Management Department Robert Thompson
said an administrative judge will be able to determine whether a structure
should be removed.
Evans said no
buildings will be removed until a year after the fund has had time to
collect funds. “It’s not cheap.”
According to the
proposed ordinance for building permit fees, up to $150 on an open frame
porch on a single-family residence, up to $250 on an enclosed frame porch,
up to $100 for an open deck and up to $150 on residential demolition will be
allocated to the unsafe building fund. Building fees for homes are $500 plus
20 cents for each square foot.
fees will also go to support the unsafe building fund as will those for
pools and fences for residences.
properties will have higher fees that will go to the fund, up to $900 for
outdoor advertising structures, and up to $1,500 for solar conversion and
wind energy conversion systems.
The ordinances, if
passed on second reading, would take effect on Jan. 1, 2017.
voted in favor of a third ordinance Thompson presented that would require
developers of any building more than five stories to have a good connection
for radio communication for E-911 in that building.
matters, the Commissioners agreed to purchase four new domestic boilers at
the Porter County Jail for a total package of $25,845.
Director Matt Stechly said only two of the four boilers are operating. The
Commissioners awarded the lowest bidder which was Mechanical Concepts of
Gary. Two competing bidders were Precision Control Systems and Circle R
also voted to pay $46,000 in maintenance costs for backup batteries by
Mitsubishi Electric for the Porter County Jail and E-911 Center.
Good said the
County does have a back-up generator but it takes 15 to 20 seconds for it to
kick in should the power go out. The batteries will activate during that
time to keep the equipment operating until the generator comes on.
“It’s very vital
and could save somebody’s life,” he said.
Jail medical bids
In other Jail
business, the Commissioners received proposals submitted for round-the-clock
medical services at the Jail as the current contract with Correctional Care
Solutions is expiring this year.
CCS was one of two
respondents for the new Request for Proposals. The other was Quality
Correctional Health Care.
“A very complicated
and significant contract,” according to County Attorney Scott McClure, the
Sheriff’s Office will review the two proposals and make a recommendation at
the next Commissioner meeting on Dec. 20.
also approved the compensation agreement for the County Sheriff for 2017 and
retroactive 2016 with the new salary information.
Vicki Urbanik told the Commissioners that her department has worked to
monitor and will be making monthly reports on compensatory time accrued in
the County Government offices.
Evans said the comp
time reports will be part of the Commissioners meeting from now on like
payroll and claims.
approved Porter County Museum Director Kevin Pazour’s request to contract
with Americorps to have another member help out at the Museum, at 153
Franklin St. in Valparaiso.
Pazour said the
Museum has seen many visitors this year, about 10,000 total, and his crew
have been busy. The new Americorps worker would facilitate the Museum’s
education goals of having every 4th grader in the County experience the
Museum in some way, either by welcoming them on field trips or by bring
artifacts to the classroom, Pazour said.
With the agreement,
Pazour said there is a stipend of under $10,000 which the Commissioners
agreed to pay.
In other business,
the Commissioners received and opened bids for Highway Department supplies
for 2017, approved catering contracts for the Expo Center next year and a
list of artistic services agreements for the Memorial Opera House.
They also approved
worker longevity pay for the second half of 2016 and the 2017 holiday
schedule for County workers. There are ten holidays on the calendar next
year when County facilities will be closed for observances.
Next Sunday, Dec.
11 will be known as Indiana Statehood Day in Porter County.
approved a proclamation commemorating the 200th anniversary of Indiana’s
statehood on Sunday. The bicentennial celebration will be a time to honor
the Indiana’s past, set the course for the future and prepare a path for its
youth, according to the proclamation read aloud by Evans.
Indiana was the
19th state admitted to the nation by an act signed by President James
Madison on December 11, 1816.