The Porter County
Board of Commissioners voted 3-0 Tuesday in favor of a suggestion made last
month by the County Council to take $441,500 of interest money from the
Porter Memorial Hospital sale to help sustain the Sheriff’s Police Pension
fund for this year.
Department made a request to the County Council at its March 22 meeting for
an additional appropriation of $883,000 to PERF in its general fund budget.
However, County Auditor Vicki Urbanik advised that there was not enough
general fund money to cover it.
Scott McClure had said there are two other funding sources available --
unallocated county economic development business tax dollars (CEDIT) or
hospital sale interest money. He said it may be best to appropriate half of
the funds now and half later once the County receives its tax draws from the
Reynolds said the general fund budget had a line item for the pension in his
previous term as sheriff, but it had been removed. He said the money coming
in from the Sheriff’s processing fees is there but is working on a way to
fix the accounting with the auditor and clerk’s office for next year’s
Reynolds also asked
the County to have their financial advisor make a recommendation.
Dan Whitten, D-at large, said the Council will make sure it gets a line
item. He asked McClure to put a request before the commissioners for the
first half of the payout -- $441,500 -- using hospital interest.
Under the County’s
home rule, it takes majority votes from both the Commissioner and the
Council to spend any interest money from the hospital sale.
The request will go
to the Council’s next meeting for its approval.
trees will be coming down soon at the site of the future County Animal
Shelter between the Expo Center and Porter County Jail on Ind. 49.
Director Matthew Stechly said three bids received, ranging from $19,500 to
$28,000. He recommended the Commissioners accept the $20,000 bid from Glover
Tree Service as opposed to the $19,500 bid from Area Tree Service due to
some “red flags” and “hearsay” about multiple change orders.
Stechly asked the
Commissioners to pay the extra $500 to go with Glover.
John Evans, R-North, did not believe Stechly’s concerns about Area Tree
Service justify rejecting the bid that met the requirements.
“Our charge is to
pay the lowest and most responsive bidder,” said Evans. “Our hands are kind
of tied.” McClure agreed with Evans.
ended up voting 3-0 to accept the bid from Area Tree Service, on a motion
made by Commissioner Jeff Good, R-Center, not exceed $19,500.
Stechly said the
tree removal is the last thing that needs to be done before the County
Highway Department can finish demolition. “After that, we can break ground,”
Commissioners approved $15,654 for LionHeart Engineering to troubleshoot the
generator serving the Jail and 911 Communications Center that is having
Stechly said the
process will involve two 30- to 45-minute periods when the power will be cut
so LionHeart can make the repairs.
The 911 center will
be powered by back-up batteries during that time but 911 Director C.J.
Wittmer told the Commissioners the batteries are older and are only at 60
The batteries at
full capacity can last for three to four hours, but Mitsubishi would not
certify that they will be strong enough for the maximum time of the
shutdown, Wittmer said.
Stechley said he
will be bringing in a portable generator. The Commissioners told Wittmer
they will need to be looking into getting the batteries replaced.
meanwhile approved some amended language in their county employee health
plan documents to include 3D mammograms, among other things. The language
does not change the policy the Commissioners have already approved, said
Leigh Westergren, employee benefits specialist with Anton Insurance.
also renewed the workman’s compensation policy with Bituminous Insurance
Company for rates that will be lower than the expiring ones, Jim Anton said.
there will be an added health screening program at the County Administration
Building on May 19 and May 20. She provided the Commissioners with health
data that will be given to each department to encourage more workers to use
the available wellness programs.
In other business:
-- A contract with
ACI was approved to produce a trifold document to educate the public about
the new stormwater management department, practices and fees. The
information will be sent out to residents paying the new stormwater fee in
the unincorporated areas of the county a few days before the spring tax
bills reach mail boxes, McClure said.
-- Second reading
for the St. Andrews rezoning of 4.4-acres for a proposed assisted living and
memory care center in Porter Business Park next to Porter Regional Hospital
in Liberty Twp. was approved 3-0.
-- A bid from
Holley’s Landscaping of $2,375 was chosen for landscape improvements at the
Porter County Expo Center grounds to backfill large divots made by vehicles.
-- April 24 to May
1 has been proclaimed as Soil and Water Stewardship Week in Porter County to
promote conservation efforts.