A group of
residents from South Haven implored Porter County officials to remediate
flooding conditions in their community last August. On Tuesday residents
from Wheeler and Pleasant Twp. made a plea for some help at the County
But County Drainage
Board President David Burrus warned fixing these problems won’t be a quick
or low-cost process.
rains over the last two to three weeks has put the drainage board on high
alert as land close by the Kankakee River has seen washouts, with the river
close to peaking at Dunn’s Bridge County Park and the Shelby area in the
next few days.
“There’s no system
we have that could handle it,” Burrus said.
resident Rob Stewart who resides close to roads CR 950 South and CR 500 East
said there is over 1,000 acres of farmland underwater currently and asked
that the County look at clearing ditches to get the water moving down the
Good, R-Center, who is a member of the Drainage Board, said he was out
inspecting the drain with other board members and said the problem he saw
was that “people are plugging things” into the drain. He said no-till
farming has also contributed to the woes as corn stalks have clogged
The drainage board
will help work towards the solution, possibly widening one of the ditches,
but where the problem is located is on a private drain, Good added, and said
residents need to share in the responsibility of protecting the lands. He
acknowledged however that this is “a very unnatural circumstance.”
resident Anna Taylor, whose property on State St. sits on an open ditch
which she said is flooding due to two clogged culverts, asserted the
problems could be taken care of if the County would remove the debris.
Burrus advised that
action would not fix the situation and the drainage board is considering
eight different recommendations for improvements and will need to determine
which option would “be the best combination for the most people.”
about having the culvert cleared, but Commissioner President John Evans,
R-North, advised that the best course of action would be to follow the
He assured Taylor
and other neighbors that the drainage board knows of their concerns and is
working toward improvements, putting faith in Burrus’ leadership.
“We are going to
get you some relief. It might not be overnight. It’s going to take some
time,” Evans said.
Burrus advised that
whatever the County does, “it would take a king’s ransom, millions and
millions of dollars” to fix all the drainage issues, as illustrated in the
comprehensive drainage study done in 2010.
In other business,
the Commissioners voted 3-0 to approve a proposed amendment to the County’s
contract with the Town of Chesterton for the sanitary sewer upgrades to
provide service to properties in unincorporated Liberty Twp., south of the
Indiana 49 Toll Road entrance.
Attorney Chuck Lukmann said that looking at the agreement from 2012, what
wasn’t included was that the Town would provide the County’s unincorporated
area of the corridor with 204,000 gallons of water per day.
Lukmann said he
checked with County Plan Commission Executive Director Robert Thompson who
corroborated that would be the correct capacity for that area.
embarrassment,” Lukmann said it was also discovered by Chesterton that the
figure agreed to by the County in 2012 -- $740,409 -- exceeded what should
have been the true amount.
The Town wishes to
reimburse the County at $14,086.50, Lukmann said and hopes to get the amount
approved at the next Town Council meeting.
will likely see their first installment of longevity pay this year as the
Commissioners voted 3-0 to use $176,000 of unallocated county income tax
dollars, as well as $19,712 for PERF and $13,464 for FICA insurance.
Longevity pay is
awarded to workers who have been employed by the County for three or more
Until two years
ago, the County paid longevity with funds received from the state’s casino
funds but the fund has since dwindled to the point where CEDIT funds have
been tapped instead. County Auditor Vicki Urbanik said the County has yet to
receive its share of casino funds this year and those may go toward the fall
Now that the
Commissioners have approved the CEDIT amounts, it will go to the County
Council for a vote.
In other business:
-- The HVAC
equipment replacement project at the Courthouse, County Administration
building and the Jail was awarded to Mechanical Concepts of Gary who
submitted a bid of $491,000.
Commissioners agreed 3-0 on a letter of agreement with Porter Regional
Hospital with this year’s new County employee health plan. Evans said he
counted “36 or 37 different changes, all of which are a benefit to (the
-- A second reading
to establish a fund to hold fees collected for animal control services from
municipalities was approved 3-0. Urbanik said the fund is ready to receive
funds with half going to the Sheriff’s Department and the other half going
to the Animal Shelter. The County is currently negotiating rates with cities