The first public step in creating the 2012 budget for Porter County took
place in just a few smooth minutes Monday night.
The remainder of the process is unlikely to be as easy.
The County Council held the required first public hearing on the estimated
$46.4 million budget, up about $6 million from this year, with the only
public comments coming from animal shelter volunteers. The shelter’s request
for an additional $33,000 in funding over this year is partially to hire a
master planner to help the ailing facility. “There are firms out there who
can give us input and bring us into the 21st century,” shelter volunteer
Julie Sausman said.
Any measures to improve the shelter will be strongly considered, councilman
Jim Biggs said. The first step the council took was to push back the second
reading of the shelter budget from next week to Oct. 3 to give it more time
to gather information. The shelter has become a priority for council
president Dan Whitten as he has made several impassioned pleas for changes
after seeing what he has labeled “government sponsored animal cruelty”
during a visit to the aging building this summer.
“We have to approach this like we’ve never approached it before,” he said.
“We have to figure out where we need to go.”
New shelter director Kristina Montgomery also said she plans to aggressively
expand the shelter’s donation fund.
Aside from the discussion on the shelter, the county auditor simply laid out
the proposed expenditures for next year. Most of the figures closely
resemble the current budget’s numbers, but there will be plenty of
discussion in the series of meeting scheduled to finalize the budget.
The areas receiving the most discussion are likely to be the E911 budget and
the ambulance service tax subsidy, which has an expiring contract in
The next step in the budgeting process is a series of four meetings breaking
out specific aspects of the budget for discussion. The first of those will
take place on Thursday with the rest of the dates being Sept. 22, Oct. 3 and
The final reading of the finalized 2012 budget will be held Thursday, Oct.
A legal notice detailing the county’s proposed budget appeared in the
Chesterton Tribune on Friday, September 2 and Friday, September 9. It
can be found at: