At the end of
Tuesday’s Porter County Council meeting, the Council unanimously decided to
select Harold Harper to take over for Scott McClure as its attorney.
Harper is a lawyer
at Harper & Harper Attorneys At Law in South Haven, a practice he shares
with his dad, former County Commissioner Bob Harper. He received his law
degree from Valparaiso University in 1997.
McClure served as
the Council’s attorney since 2009 and was hired earlier this year as County
Attorney by a split 2-1 vote of the County Commissioners. He has continued
to act as attorney for the Council until a replacement could be appointed.
Council members all
expressed gratitude to McClure.
knowledge of County government, it’s not going to be easy to replace him,”
said Jim Biggs, R-1st.
Attempting to make
amends with Portage City officials over the investment of the sale proceeds
of Porter Memorial Hospital, Council President Dan Whitten, D-at large,
informed his peers that he has reached out to Portage Council President Mark
Oprisko and member Patrick Clem.
“I want to have a
handle on what their concerns are,” Whitten said.
The Council jointly
issued a statement with the Commissioners on April 8 decrying assertions
made by Portage Mayor James Snyder that the County is unwilling to help
municipalities with infrastructure when it has a large sum of money from the
sale of the publically owned hospital.
The City is
considering passing a wheel tax that would match state funds set aside for
Whitten said he
intends to keep the lines of communication open with Portage which is also
asking the County to consider upgrading the North County Complex on
A committee was
formed Tuesday consisting of Whitten and Council members Sylvia Graham, D-at
large, and Jeremy Rivas, D-2nd, whose district represents Portage.
matters, the Council approved the additional amounts of innkeepers tax money
in the budgets for the Memorial Opera House and the Expo Center of $19,000
Expo Center Manager
Lori Daly told the Council the money will be used for expanding the
facility’s website and mailing out a quarterly newsletter.
Rivas thought it
might be a good idea for Porter County Government to mail out a newsletter
of its own and inform the public on what the different departments are
Whitten and Biggs
said “it’s a good idea” but cautioned it would also be a costly one.
approved all other requests 7-0, including staff adjustments for the
Maintenance Department, the Parks Department and the County Surveyor’s
Facilities Director Matt Stechly proposed to eliminate a custodial services
manager position and replace it with a fourth custodian, for a total savings
Department will hire a programming coordinator with the unused salary money
for a parks planner position budgeted this year saving $2,000, and the job
title for drainage construction in the Surveyor’s office has been changed to
The Council agreed
to pay for two outstanding invoices for veterinarian services left over from
2014 at the Animal Shelter totaling $1,868. Shelter Director Toni Bianchi
said this will be the Shelter current on all its outstanding vet bills. The
two remaining bills were discovered in January, she said.
A $317,197 total in
Major Moves funds was approved by the Council for the local match of the
grant to refurbish the runway at the County Regional Airport. The amount was
originally approved out of hospital interest funds but the Commissioners
agreed to draw it from Major Moves instead.
The Council agreed
to pay out $441,500 in hospital interest to cover the first installment of
the Sheriff’s Pension fund. Council member Robert Poparad, D-at large, asked
his colleagues to consider paying the second half, too. The Council plans to
discuss it at its May meeting.