Chesterton Tribune



County Commissioners favor ordinance to regulate tattoo parlors

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The County Health Department could get some authority over regulating tattoo and body piercing parlors in Porter County by next year.

Keith Letta, administrator for the health department, told the County Commissioners Tuesday his board has been in talks with County Attorney Betty Knight about creating an ordinance that would regulate safety controls at tattoo parlors, such as ensuring the cleanliness and sterility of equipment.

The number of operating parlors has increased in Porter County and an increasing number of complaints have been lodged concerning safety and underage customers making their way in.

Stepping in for health board attorney Dave Hollenbeck, attorney Nathan Vis said there is a Indiana Department of Health code regarding tattoo parlors, but there is no agency to regulate it at the county level.

“We’re asking the Commissioners to be proactive,” said Vis.

Letta and Vis said the department will meet with owners of these businesses to gain input on what needs to be in the ordinance. Letta said he hopes to have the ordinance ready for approval by fall with enforcement starting Jan. 1, 2014.

All three Commissioners supported creation of the ordinance.

Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, inquired how often inspections would be performed. Letta said he thinks the parlors should be inspected at least twice a year, similar to food service operations.

The inspections will look at whether tattoo artists have received the proper education and training and see that infectious waste and pathogens are disposed of properly, Letta added. Tattoo parlors will be required to post the ordinance.

Vis said about a third of the counties in Indiana have ordinances in place to regulate tattoo parlors.

Sports study approved

In other business, the Commissioners gave unanimous approval to the County Convention, Recreation and Visitor’s Commission’s request to combine the proposed Expo Center feasibility study with an additional study on sports facilities in the county.

The study will be done by Conventions, Sports and Leisure International (CSL), a Minneapolis-based firm specializing in convention, entertainment, sport and visitor industries, approved by the Commissioners in February to evaluate the potential of the Expo Center and fairgrounds at a cost of $91,000.

Since one of CSL’s specialties is sports development, PCCRVC Executive Director Lorelei Weimer said the newly established sports cabinet at the tourism bureau would like to see the firm complete a comprehensive report to be a guide on ways the county can build the presence of amateur sports.

“It would be a roadmap for developing sports in the future of Porter County,” Weimer said. What the study will look for, she added, are the demand and supply for certain sports. She said it will include a financial analysis and maintenance and operations plan.

The sports portion will cost $43,000, Weimer said, and coupled with the Expo Center study, there is a $10,000 savings to the county.

The total price tag comes to $134,000, which the Commissioners approved to be paid out of County Economic Development Income Tax (CEDIT) funds.

“I think this is going to be a wonderful, wonderful project,” said Evans.

County Commissioner Laura Blaney, D-South, said she’s “on board” after discussing the matter with her PCCRVC board appointee Jesse Harper.

Safe Schools director

In other business, the Porter County Safe Schools Commission has named Pat Swanson as director and coordinator to help keep communication flowing between the 100+ members.

All three Commissioners said yes to a Memorandum of Understanding, agreeing to pay Swanson $15,000, to cover her salary for the rest of the year.

A month after members of the commission made a presentation about the goals and objectives of the commission, Juvenile Services Director Alison Cox requested approval of the MOU. She said Swanson will work on grants to aid in creating a comprehensive safety plan for all schools so response teams will know what procedures to follow in case of an emergency.

The director will also create a website in the upcoming months for the Commission, which can be a hub of information.

“There is a lot for her to do,” said Cox.

Swanson has been working with the Safe School Commission while being housed at the Valparaiso Police Department and will continue to do so.

New storage for election machines

Meanwhile, Mike Jabo of DLZ Indiana got permission from the Commissioners to put out a Request for Bids to build out an existing area in the bottom level of the administration center parking garage which will be used for holding election equipment.

Bids will be collected on June 14 and 21 and will be received by the Commissioners at their July 2 meeting.

The voters registration office has requested numerous times for more space and Evans said the new location in the garage will make it easier for the machines to be loaded and unloaded.

He said the storage area will not interfere with vehicles entering and leaving the main entrance of the garage.

In another action, the Commissioners approved $9,905 of CEDIT to purchase a printing machine for the Porter County Museum of History to allow it to create its own banners and materials for exhibits.

Museum Director Kevin Pazour thanked the board for its support over the years.

“We’re ranked as one of the top small museums in the state and this will help us continue on that path,” Pazour said.



Posted 6/5/2013





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