Bringing the Porter
County Animal Shelter into a new era, the County Board of Commissioners on
Tuesday voted in favor of amendments to the Animal Control ordinance.
The Animal Shelter
director will now be responsible for overseeing animal control officers,
said County Attorney Scott McClure.
had revamped Animal Control procedures and fees in May 2015. Since then,
Animal Control has been overseen by the Sheriff’s Police.
McClure said there
are some other minor revisions in the ordinance on the County’s process to
hold dogs and how they get back to owners, to clarify who gets paid when
dogs get impounded.
Biggs, R-North, said he spoke with Shelter Director Toni Bianchi about a
complaint about the fees and was surprised to find out that citations issued
for animal control violations are not being collected.
“There seems to be
no enforcement mechanism to force those who have been cited to pay their
tickets,” Biggs said. When cases are brought to the Prosecutor’s Office,
there also is an issue of those cases not being prosecuted because there is
not a way to enforce them, Biggs said, and people are ignoring the
McClure said this
may be because there is no threat to pay the fines unlike traffic citations
where people would have to pay the fee or have their license suspended, but
ultimately what happens is they end up with a judgment lien.
Biggs asked if
judgment leans are being handed down by the Prosecutor, to which McClure
replied each one is but there is no more enforcement beyond that.
President Jeff Good, R-Center, said Biggs should pull a meeting together
with Bianchi, animal control and the prosecutor’s office
“Let’s go rework
though these procedures and get everyone on the same page,” said Good.
Biggs agreed. “If
we can put together cases that they can prosecute, our people need to
understand what elements are critical for a prosecution.”
approved the eighth allocation for the new Animal Shelter construction at
$58,833 to Larson-Danielson.
The new shelter
located north of the County Fairgrounds at Ind. 49 and Division Rd. is
scheduled to open in June. Commissioner Laura Shurr Blaney, D-South, said
there will be a public open house scheduled soon.
Employees of the
County Health Department will be holding a collection drive between June 1
and June 14 to coincide with the opening of the Shelter. Collection bins
will be place inside county buildings for the public and County employees to
donate animal items.
Vicki Urbanik said that the final data pull conversion of the County’s new
payroll and financial accounting system will be next week.
in August signed a contract with LOW Associates at under $160,000 to replace
the antiquated DOS based system. Urbanik said if all goes well with the
final test, the payroll after May 30 will all be done with the LOW software.
The new formats
will be rolled out to County Departments systematically, with training.
Urbanik said she is
also looking into the Commissioners’ request for a time and attendance
system. She said the cost for that would be between $75,000 to $90,000 for a
one-time fee and $36,000 annually after that.
Development and Stormwater Management Robert Thompson introduced interns who
will be working with the department over the summer. Six will be civil
engineering interns and two will be GIS interns, representing Valparaiso
University, Purdue University and St. Mary’s College/Notre Dame.
“The whole idea is
to get stormwater features on the County’s GIS system,” Thompson said. “They
are going to be going around the watersheds and inspecting all the
infrastructure that we have and gather the data for us as far as the size of
the structure, the stream it’s on, the location of it. They are going to
provide some real-time data for our GIS system.”
Good said he hopes
this will bring more attention to the County’s actions of improving its
stormwater management system, as well as making the GIS system more relevant
and allow access by the public online.
Thompson said this
is first time the County has had engineering interns in over 20 years and
there are more women in the program now.
-- County ITS
Director Don Wellsand said he will approach the County Council in June to
restore $20,000 that was cut in the consultants line item from the
department’s budget about three years ago. The funding is needed to keep the
County’s data and phones safe from security breaches. Good and Biggs agreed
with the request. “With the phones for the Sheriff’s Department, there is no
way around it,” Biggs said.
-- The Memorial
Opera House will be a rider on the same liquor liability plan as the Expo
Center. Good said this will be done as a savings to the County. MOH will
save more on printing this year by purchasing a copy machine for playbills.
Commissioners voted 3-0 for the Election Board to renew their legal services
agreement with attorney Ethan Lowe for 2017. Board President David Bengs
said the cost will not change this year.
-- A bid from Riggs
Mowers was approved to add three lawn mowers to the County’s maintenance
department that will also be used to remove snow in the winter.
Director Matt Stechly said the Porter County Master Gardeners did a
“fantastic job” on planting plants and flowers in front of the courthouse.
“We want to give thanks to them. It’s going to look really good,” he said.