Chesterton Tribune

 

 

New fines approved for heavy vehicles in county

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

At Tuesday’s Porter County Commissioner meeting Tuesday, the board voted 3-0 on first reading to beef up fines for heavy trucks traveling through unincorporated areas.

Sheriff David Lain said the ordinance on restrictions and fines is in need of an update after a few recent problems where heavy trucks have damaged the roadways and to be in line with state regulations.

According to the amendment, vehicles on the roadway must not have any tandem axle group weighing over 34,000 lbs. and no individual axle that weighs more than 20,000 pounds. Vehicle must also not have a maximum wheel weight, unladen or with a load, of 800 lbs. per inch of tire width, unless a special permit is obtained from the County Highway Department.

Axle weight limits would not apply to vehicles carrying farm commodities from place of production to place of delivery.

Vehicles in violation would face fines of $100 if they go over the limit and with an additional increment of $100 for every five hundred pounds overweight. The fine per axle is not to exceed $500.

A second ordinance would allow the fines to be collected into a special fund disbursed to the Sheriff’s Police and the County Highway Department. The Sheriff’s Department will be able to use portable scales to weigh the vehicles.

County Commissioner President John Evans said the revamped fines will bring some needed revenue to the departments. Lain added, “it’s also the right thing to do.”

Since the ordinance deals with fines, a second reading will be given at the Commissioners’ next meeting.

MOU for trolley study

The Commissioners had voted in favor of gifting $4,300 from their CEDIT project funds last month to be one of the four partners in footing an impact study outlining the costs and options for a historical trolley line.

As the plan envisions Vintage South Shore cars would carry guests from the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center to Dunes State Park, to Chesterton, to Porter and back to the Visitor Center.

Steps have been made to split the costs between the Town of Chesterton, the Town of Porter and the County Tourism Board but in case the plan falls through, the Commissioners approved a Memorandum of Understanding that they would get their money back.

“If they don’t participate, we don’t either,” Evans said.

Parks grant

An ordinance passed on first reading which would create a fund for the $9,900 in grant money the Porter County Parks Department has received from the Porter County Community Foundation.

Parks Superintendent Walter Lenckos said the grant will be used to initiate a pilot program to instill pro-social behavior and leadership skills for middle school students around the county in a program that would use the same model as the Parks to Schools program. Students will be able to visit the parks and learn in the natural environment how to be a positive force in the community. The program will start in the fall and run during the school year, Lenckos said. Sessions will be held indoors during the winter months, he said.

A second reading for the ordinance will take place at the next Commissioner meeting on June 17.

PTABOA contract

The Commissioners also renewed the contract with Valparaiso attorney Chris Buckley to provide legal consultation for the Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals. The firm, paid as an independent contractor, will receive $120 per hour and will continue to be paid out of the County Auditor’s non-reverting fund.

 

 

Posted 6/5/2014