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North Porter County Commissioner John Evans was elected president of the county’s three-member commissioner board for 2011 during Tuesday’s reorganizational meeting.

Evans, a Republican in the middle of his third term, told the Tribune he and the other commissioners have a long list of goals they would like to see accomplished this year and will be ready to disclose them in a statement during the next commissioner meeting January 18.

This is Evans’ first time serving as commissioner president. He takes over from former Center District County Commissioner Robert Harper, a Democrat.

Commissioner Nancy Adams, R-Center, who defeated Harper in November’s election will be the board’s new vice-president while South County Commissioner Carole Knoblock, the board’s only Democrat, will remain as secretary.

One change Evans has already made is to switch the starting time for commissioner meetings from 6 p.m. back to 2 p.m.

Evans said the 6 p.m. meetings began under Harper’s strategy to give the public a bigger opportunity to attend the meetings, but Evans said the move did not make much impact in terms of turnout.

“I didn’t notice any difference,” he said.

He said meetings will begin at 4 p.m. when there is an item that holds significant public interest such as a plan approval or a zone change from the plan commission.

Something else new is the creation of a county Information Technologies advisory board made up of the county recorder, assessor, treasurer, auditor, and Commissioner Adams.

The board will consult the commissioners on ways to condition the county’s Web site and technology to meet the demands of an increasing electronic environment, what Evans and others referred to as “e-government.”

Commissioners Slim Down PTABOA Board

At the request of newly elected County Assessor Jon Snyder, the commissioners unanimously approved cutting down the Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals to three members as opposed to five.

Snyder told the commissioners the state statute allows for three members on the PTABOA as long as there is a Republican/Democrat split and at least one member has a Level II certification.

Snyder believes the three-member option will prove “more effective and efficient” since fewer members will have to be paid per meeting.

The move, Snyder said, would allow the PTABOA to meet three times a month instead of two.

Evans gave his nod, but not without a touch of hesitancy.

“If it fails, we can go back to (five members), but I think it deserves a try,” said Evans.

The commissioners will now make two appointments instead of three, while the council will make one.

On Tuesday, the commissioners appointed Republicans Jeff Sederberg and Joseph Wszolek to the PTABOA. The council’s appointment, Evans said, would need to be a Democrat.

Other Board Appointments

The commissioners, now controlled by the Republicans, revealed their picks for various county board and commission members. Applications for all positions were due on Dec. 27.

Ralph Levi, who was Sheriff Democrat David Lain’s Republican challenger in last year’s county election, was selected to serve on the Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

Board of Health appointees include Marian Dick, Dr. Alfred Kobak, and Martin Moeller.

Dave Burrus will be retained on the county drainage board where he currently serves as president. Chesterton resident Richard Maxey will be the commissioners’ new appointee to the county plan commission board, replacing member Robert Detert.

For their own appointments, Knoblock will continue to sit on drainage board while Adams will be a newcomer on the plan commission, filling Harper’s seat.

Patricia Jackson was renamed as Knoblock’s appointee to the Porter County Convention, Recreation and Visitors Commission.

Dr. John Johnson will serve on the PCCRVC as Adams’ pick.

The county Redevelopment Advisory Committee will see Dave Burrus, Ric Frataccia, and Heather Klein as this year’s appointments. Linda Radinsky is the appointee for the West Porter Twp. Fire District. The six appointments for the Wildlife Management Advisory Board include Mary Ann Gregg, Robert Gregg, Robert Helmick, James Lamb, Mark Scales, and Jenny Shebesh.

Russell Pumroy of Kouts will continue to be on the Kankakee River Basin Committee. County Clerk Karen Martin will serve on the Common Wage Construction Rate Committee, held previously by former county clerk Pam Mishler-Fish.

The commissioner’s will retain Richard Burns on the Board of Zoning Appeals after originally appointing David Collins. Plan Commission Director Robert Thompson informed the commissioners the appointment needed to be a citizen who sits on the plan commission. Burns was the only commission member to submit an application.

As far as commissioner appointments go, Adams will serve on the Northern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, the Center of Workforce Innovations, Community Corrections, and the Child Protection Team. Evans will sit on the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District board and the Emergency Management Advisory Council.

Gary Airport Board Seat Open

Evans also announced he is stepping down from the Gary/Chicago Airport Board after serving on it since its inception in 2005 and seeks to appoint a citizen to take his place. Because it had not yet been advertised, the commissioners’ office is currently taking applications now through January 24.

Those interested should contact the commissioner’s office or find an application on the county’s Web site,

The appointment will be announced at the Feb. 1 commissioners meeting.

Expo Center Sign

In other matters, the commissioners would like to see a change in policy regarding use of the digital sign outside of the Porter County Expo Center on Ind. 49.

The change would prohibit displaying political ads which drew concern last year when both county sheriff candidates used the sign asking for votes.

“I don’t believe that is the place for political advertising,” said Evans.

Also, the commissioners gave the go-ahead to Juvenile Center Director Alison Cox to apply for a grant with the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.

The grant would help the juvenile center enhance information sharing with other departments involving youth, such as juvenile probation, juvenile courts, Porter-Starke, schools, and the sheriff’s police. Cox told the commissioners her department has been successful with receiving grants from the state agency.

Finally, the commissioners approved the route for the 17th annual “Ringing in Spring” 5k race which will take place on Saturday, April 2 starting at the Valparaiso YMCA.



Posted 1/5/2011




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