Council member Andy Bozak is getting his feet wet as the new first district
representative and held his first town hall meeting at the Thomas Library on
“I’m doing this to
get more input. You got to get out there if you want to help your
community,” Bozak told the audience.
The meeting brought
out some residents and a few officials including Burns Harbor
Clerk-Treasurer Jane Jordan, County Recorder Jon Miller, County Plan
Commission President and former County Council member Bob Poparad and
Chesterton Town Council member Emerson DeLaney.
Once Bozak opened
the meeting take questions, DeLaney asked about how the County plans to fund
its new Animal Shelter. He said he agrees with the County’s decision to
build a new facility as “it is long overdue,” but brought up his frustration
about the way the County charges fees to municipalities for animal control.
The Animal Shelter
will be paid with tax dollars, adoption fees and fees collected from
municipalities, Poparad answered as he was on the County Council when the
Shelter’s 2017 budget was approved last fall.
Commissioners in 2015 approved an ordinance revamping its animal control
procedures. That included the fee charged to municipalities that was
determined based on the number of calls to animal control from 2010-2014.
Chesterton had been
paying its animal control fee for years while other municipalities were said
to have not been, Emerson said.
The fee had been
$6,076, but when the County came to Chesterton Town Council to present the
new contract, they said the costs would now be $31,120. That was a
correction from the first estimate that the Town was going to pay only
$3,120. Porter County Sheriff Chief Deputy Jeff Biggs apologized then for
the initial mistake.
The cost is
Chesterton’s 7.8 percent share of the County’s $400,000 projected animal
control costs, half of which will go to maintain the Sheriff Police’s Animal
Control and half for the County Animal Shelter.
DeLaney said he
didn’t like the County saying they wouldn’t come get the animals if the fee
isn’t paid. Poparad added that he believes the County is not obligated to
pick up animals but they are required by law to have an animal control
As for basing the
fee on phone calls, DeLaney said he would like to see the fee based on a
more equal criteria, possibly by population, even if that means a slight
increase in taxes, $3 maybe, for residents.
“It’s a very
contentious topic on my part,” DeLaney said. “I’m trying not to cause a
problem but I’d like to see a solution on a level playing field.”
Bozak said that he
was not in office at the time the County Commissioners made the changes but
told DeLaney he would look into his concern.
“I will follow up
with you on that,” he said.
Bozak, a former
Burns Harbor Town Councilman, was elected to the County Council by a
Republican caucus in January to take Jim Biggs’ seat after Biggs resigned to
assume the office of County Commissioner for the North District.
Bozak shared that
he is representing the County Council on the Northern Indiana Commuter
Transportation District board and was also appointed to the Juvenile Justice
Advisory Board. He is the Council liaison for the County Courts, the
Juvenile Detention Center, Juvenile Probation, the County Print Shop and the
He also expressed
enthusiasm for being part of the board for the Porter County Government
Nonprofit Charitable Foundation that is earning returns on the $132 million
investment of the principal from the sale of Porter Memorial Hospital. The
interest earned so far was about $6 million as of last quarter. “We’re going
to do some great things for the county with this money,” he said.
Bozak asks that any
resident with a concern contact him by phone, 219-508-7152, or email, email@example.com.
Bozak will hold his
town hall discussion meetings on a quarterly basis.