Chesterton Tribune



Porter County Park board mulls funding to catch up with maintenance backlog

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The Porter County Park Board discussed funding and budget priorities at its meeting Thursday night.

Board member Drew Armstrong reported on his findings from a meeting of the building and maintenance committee. Armstrong reports that the status of the Parks Department’s equipment and the state of some of the buildings at Sunset Hill Farm Park is disconcerting. “I don’t want to be an alarmist, but some of the things kind of surprised me,” Armstrong said after he recently reviewed an equipment and structure inventory by Park Maintenance Supervisor Matt Brown.

Armstrong reported the newest mower the Parks Department has is 11 years old, and its newest truck is nine years old. “In this area, we know vehicles rot from the bottom up with plowing snow and driving in salt,” he said. He also expressed concern about the roof of the program center.

Also, he reported an interior road at Sunset Hill leading away from the program center is quickly deteriorating.

Armstrong suggested that the Board devise a plan to rotate the costs of replacing old equipment before end of life and repairing buildings before they become unusable. He suggested this be discussed further at the budget committee.

In related business, at the end of the meeting, Board President Craig Kenworthy made a proposition to the Board: “I’d like to approach the county officials about possibly enacting a food and beverage tax.” Kenworthy said that taxes from activities at restaurants, for example, could help sustain the Parks general fund. He noted that Dunes Tourism receives funding from the innkeeper’s tax, so such a system is not unprecedented in Porter County.

Big projects like the grain bin or the purchase of land for Brincka Cross, Kenworthy said, could be bonded in the future if the Board has a tax levy to work with. He noted that consistent funding could also help with Armstrong’s maintenance concerns. He continued that the County must be willing to foot the bill if it wants a first-class park department.

The Board took no further action on the matter at this time.



Posted 6/8/2018




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