Chesterton Tribune

Commissioners to (re)create animal control and shelter boards

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After a summer full of issues with the animal shelter, the Porter County commissioners are taking further steps to solidify the department.

In response to some public concern about how the shelter has been operating, the commissioners announced Tuesday that they will be bringing back two separate advisory boards to assist in running the shelter and animal control.

The boards haven’t existed for two to three years, commissioner Nancy Adams said, but the commissioners felt it was an appropriate step to get the public re-involved in the process. The two, eight-member boards will be made up of both appointees and community members with experience in the care of animals.

“With everything that has been going on out at the shelter, we felt it would be a good thing to get the community involved,” Adams said. “We are looking for people who can help make things better for the animals.”

Members of the community who wish to be part of the animal control board are encouraged to fill out a form available online on the county’s web site or in the county government building and direct it to Sheriff David Lane. People with interest in the animal shelter board should follow the same procedure but direct their completed application to the county commissioners.

In other shelter news, the commissioners plan to raise the adoption fee for both cats and dogs $25. The increase will help to defray the costs the shelter incurs when it gives the animals vaccinations and offers a credit for the adopter to get the pet spayed or neutered.

Adams also said that the shelter’s new director Kristina Montgomery will begin on Aug. 22, which will be greatly beneficial to a staff that has been operating the facility woefully understaffed. Currently, the shelter has just two full-time and one part time employee. Soon the numbers will be back to the normal, four full-time and one part-time employee.

Even before that though, Adams and Montgomery will be doing a thorough assessment of the facility on Friday to prioritize a list of improvements necessary to the shelter and its operations.

Raise the Barn update

Porter County Parks superintendent Walter Lenckos addressed the commissioners Tuesday to give them an update on the “Raise the Barn” project for Sunset Hill Park.

Lenckos said the park board and its builder have come up with a preliminary design that will accommodate 200-250 children and the park administrative offices in a 9,000 square foot building.

The “barn” which will be built in the existing footprint of the original actual barn on the property is being designed to keep the tradition look of the property, but provide a modern education center to visitors. Included in this will be “intelligent and sustainable” green components that will be designed to both save money and educate.

Lenckos said the building has become a higher priority since park visits have been up recently and the park system’s summer camp saw a more than 100 percent increase, from 150 kids to more than 400, in attendance this past summer.

“The parks have had great success recently which has made the need for a building more clear,” Lenckos said. “This can serve as a community gathering place.”

The next step in the process will be to finalize the construction plans so the department can begin to seek construction bids and permits with the hope being to break ground this fall.

Lenckos also said that the project is pursuing donors to help cover the estimated $3.5 million price tag on the completed product. He said there is about $1 million in funds for the project currently.

“We wish you much success with this project and we support it,” Evans said.

South Haven sewer project

In other meeting news, county drainage board president Dave Burrus recommended HydroMax USA to do the video inspection of South Haven’s Storm Water Project.

Burrus said the board sought bids from four companies equipped to handle the videotaping, but received just two with HydroMax being the “most qualified and responsive.”

The commissioners approved the recommendation at $3,500 a day of filming, not to exceed $52,500 in total. Those figures are in line with the consultant’s estimated cost of this part of the project.

Burrus said with the South Haven project now officially in the engineering stages, all 10 of the areas the county identified as the worst drainage situations last year are in the process of being addressed.

Meeting moved

The regular commissioners meeting scheduled for Sept. 20 has been moved back a week to Tuesday, Sept. 27.



Posted 8/17/2011