The new Porter
County Animal Shelter northwest of the County Fairgrounds on Ind. 49 is
nearly two-thirds complete and officials say it could possibly open before
its target date of June 1.
At Tuesday’s County
Commissioners’ meeting, DLZ Indiana representatives Mike Jabo and Stephen
Kromkowski said that the project is 65 percent finished as the Commissioners
approved Certificate #5 for contractor Larson-Danielson at about $445,000.
for the estimated $3.25 million Shelter took place in September. Exterior
walls are up and work has started on the interior.
The 14,000 sq. ft.
facility will have more kennels than the current 4,000 sq. ft. facility on
Ind. 2. Plans shown to the County Council last year indicated a larger
public entrance and areas where dogs and cats can meet with their
“I drove by it
yesterday and it’s a very solid building,” said Commissioner Jim Biggs,
President Jeff Good, R-Center, and Commissioner Laura Shurr Blaney, D-South,
said soon the materials and animals from the current facility will need to
Good boasted about
how impressed he thinks people will be when they see the finished building.
“I think people are
going to be very pleased with this building and what it’s all about,” said
Good. “It’s still trending under budget. Everything is going swimmingly.”
had planned to show pictures of the building at Tuesday’s meeting but the
slide show got put off until next meeting due to a computer error.
DLZ Indiana had its
general services agreement renewed by a 3-0 vote of the Commissioners
Commissioners asked Extension Office Director Annetta Jones if the Porter
County Master Gardeners Association would be willing to help the County in
landscaping the proposed improvements to the County Administration Building
“We wanted to make
a change there and make it beautiful so we thought we could talk to the
Master Gardeners. They know what they are doing,” Blaney said. She said the
Commissioners are looking to have native plants.
Jones said it
should be “no problem.” The group performed some landscaping around the
building about ten years ago, she said.
“We’re looking to
save some money and encourage that program,” Biggs told Jones.
“I think they’ll do
us proud,” she replied.
announced earlier this month that they are seeking to rehab the entrance at
about a $1 million cost. There will be a central walkway with railings
leading up to the building and it will be ADA compliant.
For Jones, the
Commissioners approved the 2017 agreement with Purdue University to have the
extension program with four educators leading the 4-H Youth Development,
Family/Health and Human Sciences, Community Development, and Agriculture and
Natural Resources programs.
Also, Good asked
Jones if the programs for the 4-H Celebration Sale printed each year at the
County Fair could mention that County Government donated the funds to have
them printed. Jones said her office could do that.
In other business,
the Commissioners approved a contract to accept juvenile delinquents from
Newton County at the Porter County Juvenile Services center.
JDC Director Alison
Cox said the per diem has been increased from $110 to $140, at the request
of the County Council last year, for 100 bed days. That would mean the
County would receive $14,000 from Newton County.
Cox said Newton
officials approached her late last year after a center they used for
juveniles was closed. She mentioned another county is interested in using
the facility as well.
Commissioners hired HR Unlimited Resources to look over the changes needed
in the County Employee Government Handbook.
vice-president for HR Unlimited Resources, said her team will make sure all
state requirements are included and then meet with County department heads
to create a draft of the handbook. Once complete, it will be delivered to
the Commissioners to review.
The intention is to
make the handbook easy to read, Bass said.
Good said the
handbook has not been updated in some time and it operates as a working
document. The County will benchmark its handbook against other counties in
Indiana, he said.
plan to include information on health care benefits in the manual and what
its goals are, Good said.
In addition, the
Commissioners approved a contract with P4 Global Consulting to put a
separate handbook together for Enhanced 911 employees.
House historic resolution
By unanimous vote,
the Commissioners approved a resolution recognizing the historic value and
core purposes of the Memorial Opera House.
Director Scot MacDonald said the resolution will make the facility eligible
for state and federal grants. More than $126,000 was received last year and
the Opera House hopes to bring in more this year. The funds help to restore
and preserve the building, he said.
Good plugged the
Opera House’s next production, “The Producers” based on the 1968 Mel Brooks
film, which will run starting Feb. 17.
“Get your tickets
because they are selling fast,” he said.
Good announced that
the Commissioners are taking applications for a citizen to fill a seat on
the Northwest Indiana Shared Ethics Commission.
will be made at the Commissioners’ Feb. 21 meeting.