Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, said he would like to find out,
at the behest of many residents, if Enbridge Energy intends to pay for the
fuel costs associated with Sheriff’s Department vehicles securing the work
sites as Enbridge lays its new pipeline.
Evans asked County
Sheriff David Lain during Tuesday’s County Commissioner meeting if he knew
if Enbridge would reimburse those costs to the County.
“We should receive
some kind of stipend for the fuel,” Evans said.
Lain said that
Enbridge is paying off-duty officers out of pocket for security so no public
tax dollars are being spent in that regard. He said he has not heard
officially if there will be some form of compensation for the fuel but said
he will look into the matter.
Lain told the
Chesterton Tribune after the meeting that someone from his department
will be negotiating with Enbridge about compensation. He said he is
confident an agreement will be made.
ACA costs hefty
In other business,
the Commissioners were surprised to hear from Mike Anton of Anton Insurance
that they can expect a bill of $81,000 in November for a “reinsurance fee”
mandated by the Affordable Care Act.
Anton said that
there is a fee of $63 per person in a group insurance plan that will go to a
“national pot” that insurance providers can draw from to cover high risk
individuals with pre-existing conditions. The County would also have to pay
the fee again in 2015 and 2016, he said.
“Can we do an
executive order like the President and exempt ourselves?” Evans asked.
Anton, but he suggested the Commissioners talk to their congressman.
Anton also told the
Commissioners they need to pay another cost associated with ACA but this one
not quite as large.
The ACA is also
collecting a fee for research, which will be $1 per individual on a group
plan, totaling $1,281 for the County, assessed for the number of
participants on the County’s plan for 2013.
The research fee
will double this year, Anton said.
voted 3-0 to pay the $1,281 fee.
They also paid out
$2,550 for fees related to the former smoking cessation program.
employee benefits specialist for Anton Insurance, said a new smoking
cessation plan is being developed by Porter Health with whom the County has
contracted for clinical services and wellness programs.
In the ongoing
effort to open the third pod of the County Jail, Mike Jabo of DLZ Indiana
reported that there are further costs regarding work needed to improve the
plumbing such as replacing valves and other equipment.
He recommended a
not to exceed limit of $68,326 which the Commissioners approved 3-0 and will
be paid on time and material rather than in a lump sum. The work is
currently being done by Bergland Construction of Chesterton.
Improvements to the
B-Pod are being funded with the money received from the refinancing of the
Jail Building Bonds in 2012 and not out of the general fund budget.
Sheriff-related matter, Lain and PCSP Capt. George Gonzalez discussed a plan
to purchase three new SUV’s and six new Ford Interceptor vehicles from
Lakeshore Ford, which would cost roughly $325,000.
Evans voiced his
support for the request and added that the Sheriff Department is not
expanding their fleet but replacing older cars. Some of those older cars can
be salvaged and used by other agencies in the county as a cost savings
measure, he said.
At the start of the
meeting, Evans gave gratitude to the County Highway Department for its hard
work in the “winter that never quits” which saw several more inches of snow
dumped on the county on Monday.
Al Hoagland joked that this is like an episode of TV’s “The Walking Dead”
and said crews have been working 11 weekends in a row getting the roads
In other matters
Commissioners named David Fagan, a Chicago Union official and former Portage
City Council member, to the Gary/Chicago Airport Board.
Commissioners approved the purchase of two new commercial strength washing
machines for the Juvenile Detention Center for $1,474. Other expenditures
include repairs for the heating system of the Memorial Opera House and the
A/C maintenance for IT server rooms and County print shop, both around
-- Plan Commission
Executive Director Bob Thompson took under advisement three submissions for
the Request for Quotes for the construction/inspection of the Calumet Trail
restoration project. The firms include Hasse Construction of Hammond, SEH of
Munster, and Primera of Chicago. Thompson said the goal is to let bids for
construction in July once the Indiana Department of Transportation has
approved the plans. The work will be funded with the approximately $2
million the County received from a federal transportation grant.