Chesterton Tribune

County Council to mull using $1 million of hospital interest for radio systems

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The Porter County Council on Tuesday will be asked to draw money from the interest accumulated from the sale of Porter Hospital.

Since 2007, the fund has grown close to $10 million and $985,520 of that was tagged by the county board of commissioners last Tuesday for the purpose of purchasing upgrades to the radio and pager systems for 17 of the county fire departments.

Tapping into the fund would require majority votes from both the board of commissioners and the council.

All three commissioners approved the measure at their June 19 meeting when E-911 Communications Director John Jokantas and representatives from Motorola Solutions advised that the purchase was necessary to comply with federal requirements placed on bandwidth for communication channels. All public safety response systems will need to be operating at 12.5 kHz by 2013.

This is the first time the county has considered an amount of this size from the interest fund. Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, called for his board to make the request to the council feeling public safety would be appropriate use of the money.

Next on the agenda in a related matter is for the council to consider an ordinance to transfer unallocated county economic development income tax (CEDIT) funds to rainy day funds for E-911 to cover budget shortfalls.

From the commissioners, the council will also hear a request for an addition of $50,000 to its unemployment fund to cover expenses for the remainder of the year. A transfer of $4,258 to cover Worker’s Comp audit premium invoices.

Also, the council will hear a trio of requests for additional expenditures for the County Animal Shelter. To purchase more cleaning supplies, the Shelter requests an additional of $7,000. An additional of $3,000 is to cover additional education costs for the Shelter director, assistant director and animal caretaker and another additional of $6,000 is being sought for legal services. The Shelter and Animal Control advisory boards are represented by local attorney Chris Buckley.

Another request for attorney services is being made by the County Drainage Board which requests a transfer of $1,332 for additional fees due to a lawsuit involving the board.

The county parks department requests an additional of $15,000 to its equipment fund for the purchase of an additional tractor for mowing, maintenance and activities.

County Assessor Jon Snyder requests the council approve a job description to appoint one of his staff to be the group leader for his personal property division.

The County Convention, Recreation and Visitors Commission requests an additional of $100,000 to contractual services for a 100 percent reimbursable grant from the Department of Transportation to purchase signage for the regional trail network. Communities will pay the PCCRVC for signage which will then pay the vendors and then is reimbursed by INDOT. The communities will then be reimbursed by the tourism commission.

Also on the agenda is a report from council attorney Scott McClure.

The council will meet at 5:30 p.m. inside the commissioners’ chambers (Room 205) of the county administration building located at 155 Indiana Ave. in Valparaiso.


Posted 6/25/2012