Chesterton Tribune


John Evans remains Porter County Commissioner president

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Beginning his fourth consecutive term as North County Commissioner on Tuesday, Republican John Evans was chosen by his board to lead as president for this year.

Vice-president will be newly elected County Commissioner Laura Shurr Blaney, D-South, and County Commissioner Nancy Adams, R-Center, will be board secretary.

Blaney succeeds former Commissioner Carole Knoblock and will also take her spot on the County’s Drainage Board.

“We are happy to welcome Laura. We think she is going to be a definite asset to our board (of Commissioners),” Evans said.

Evans will continue as the commissioner representative on the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District. Adams will remain the commissioner appointee on the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission, the Porter County Plan Commission, and the Center for Workforce Development.

Blaney will also be the appointee for the Child Protection Services.

Read replaced

on Plan Commission

A few changes were made in the Commissioners’ citizen appointments.

The Commissioners chose not to reappoint lifelong environmentalist Herb Read as their Democratic appointee to the nine-member county plan commission. Instead, Chesterton resident and attorney Mitch Peters will take the seat.

Peters is also the current County Council appointee and board president of the Porter County Convention, Recreation and Visitors Commission.

Evans said Read had served two straight terms, starting in 2005, and the board wanted to appoint someone new. Other Democrats who applied for the spot included Robert Cotton, Thomas Kopko, Ned Kovachevich, Debora Porter and Kenneth Williams.

There will also be a replacement on the PCCRVC for the South County Commissioner pick. Blaney appointed Jesse Harper who will take over for Pat Jackson. Adams kept Dr. John Johnson as her PCCRVC appointee.

Other appointments

For the Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the Commissioners named Ralph Levi as their Republican appointee.

Reappointed to the board of health are physician John Forchetti and registered nurse Kathryn Lemmon. The Commissioners will retain Joe Wszolek and Nicholas Sommer as their appointments for the Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals, and Harvey Nix and Russell Pumroy for the Drainage Board.

The two members of the West Porter Twp. Fire District board selected by the Commissioners are Pat Dragash and Jack Weber.

The Commissioners also filled all seven spots on the Wildlife Management Advisory Board. Members will be Jenny Ault, Shellie Barron, Robert Gregg, Robert Helmick, James Lamb, Mark Scales, Mary Ann Zona-Gregg, and ex-officio member Dottie Kostka.

No changes were made to department heads under the auspices of the County Commissioners with the exception of Michelle Smith who was promoted to permanent business director of the Memorial Opera House. Smith had been the facility’s interim director since August.

Evans said the Commissioners will announce their appointment for the Gary/Chicago International Airport board at a later date.

PACT purchase backed

During the business portion of the meeting, the Commissioners unanimously supported the County Council’s decision to use $600,000 of hospital interest for Porter County PACT to purchase the Legacy Banquet Center in Valparaiso as its new headquarters.

As was told the County Council on Monday, PACT Executive Director Sharon Mortensen said that $485,000 will go to the purchase of the building while the rest will be used for renovations. The two residences PACT owns in Valparaiso will be sold and the money will go back to the agency’s operating budget.

With the new building, it will be possible for more non-violent offenders to be released from Porter County Jail and into PACT home monitoring programs.

Evans said the Commissioners would consider giving $139,000 in county economic development income tax revenue to PACT’s monitoring programs but he added that the County Council has not yet allocated any funds for CEDIT projects this year and the Commissioners and their departments cannot use the funds at this time.

The County Council meets in two weeks on Jan. 22.

In other business, after a request from Russ Shirley, director of the Emergency Management Authority, the Commissioners agreed to continue a maintenance contract with Bartronics LLC in Chesterton to test the 50 or so sirens in the county for $22,500.

The Commissioners also approved catering contracts for the Expo Center this year.

Time change

Evans announced that starting with its next meeting the Board of Commissioners will meet at 1 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays, instead of at 2 p.m.

Reason being, he said, is that many of the consultants who come to the meetings often drive long distances from Indianapolis or somewhere else down state and many of them “miss their dinner times” because they are an hour ahead. Also, the earlier starting time is more accommodating for meeting attendees who have to pick their kids up from school, Evans said.



Posted 1/9/2013