Departing South County Commissioner Carole Knoblock knew she might receive
some sort of recognition for her eight years as part of the board during
Tuesday’s Porter County Commissioner meeting, but she never thought it would
come from Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.
Fellow Commissioner Nancy Adams, R-Center, surprised Knoblock with a letter
from Daniels announcing her as a recipient of the Governor’s Distinguished
Service Medal for her sacrifice and commitment to her County.
Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, remarked that Knoblock has held
public office beginning in 1983 as the Porter Twp. Trustee/Assessor. She is
also a former member of the County Council, a past treasurer for the Indiana
Township Association, and volunteer for the 4-H program.
Knoblock graduated from Boone Grove High School in 1951. She and her late
husband Bob had four children.
Evans added that his peer “although small in physical stature” was a
“fierce” voice against urban sprawl and tax increases. Other accomplishments
include her commitment to preventing drainage and flooding troubles.
“Because you have served, Porter County is a better place to live,” Evans
Laura Shurr Blaney who replaced Knoblock on the County Council in 2004 will
do so again for her Commissioner seat in January.
“I’m looking forward to retirement,” Knoblock said with a laugh. “There have
been ups and downs but that’s normal. Thank you for everything.”
In business matters, the commissioners opted to sign with Porter Health Care
System as its clinical service provider with the County’s new health
The commissioners terminated their three-year contract with HealtheACCESS
Clinics earlier this year ,which later was one of the firms considered for
the new plan. Evans said the County had a good relationship with
HealtheACCESS but the wellness programs were underutilized at 20 percent.
What is preferable about Porter’s plan, according to Evans, is that its
contract would charge per visit instead of charging a flat fee as the other
firms submitted in their proposals, providing more cost efficiency. It also
had capped rates and no contractual obligations for how long the contract
Employees will not need to pay when they use the clinic. Services include
lab and x-ray. Wellness programs will be offered at a later time.
Porter has clinics open at its Valparaiso and Chesterton locations. Another
will be opening in Portage sometime next year.
In a related matter, the Commissioners approved the monthly COBRA rates in
the employee health insurance at $486 for individuals and $1,173 for
Support for PACT
Just as they approached the County Council earlier this week, Sharon
Mortensen and Tammy O’Neill from Porter County PACT requested support from
the Commissioners in a matter to purchase the Legacy Banquet Center building
located at 1356 Lincolnway in Valparaiso for $600,000 using interest monies
generated from the hospital sale fund.
PACT, a non-profit which does not receive traditional funding by the County,
is looking to sell its two current residences at 254 S. Morgan Blvd. and 207
Brown St. in Valparaiso and expand its monitoring services which could lower
the number of inmates at the County Jail.
Like the Council which had a 5-1 straw vote on Monday in support of the
matter, the Commissioners took a preliminary vote of 3-0 and will take an
official vote next month.
Commissioners approved the purchase of one new video camera which will be
placed at the back of the Commissioners Chambers to capture feed of meetings
which will be later uploaded to the County website.
The camera will
be purchased for $1,136 from Video Tech out of the Commissioners’ CCD funds.
Sharon Lippens said the camera should be installed later next month but it
won’t be until the County launches its new website in July before meetings
not be streamed live over the website but will be put on file and made
available for viewing later, Lippens said.
In a second IT
matter, the Commissioners agreed to increase bandwidth for the County
website. A new contract with internet service provider Northwest Indiana
Telephone Company (NITCO) will be $1,400 a month which will be paid out of
the Commissioner’s telephone fund.
• The Memorial
Opera House was given $18,000 for consultant Luke Bouman to help launch a
capital campaign for the 119-year-old facility. Interim Business Director
Michelle Smith said the campaign looks to raise up to $4 million in a span
of two years.
repairs will be made to the Sheriff’s garage. Sheriff David Lain and Captain
George Gonzalez said extensive rusting from steel beams has caused interior
damage. The Commissioners approved up to $12,000 in economic development
income tax money for the work. Also approved was $11,400 in CEDIT for x-ray
machines at the County Courthouse. Evans cautioned that CEDIT funds for 2013
have not been budgeted or even entertained for a vote by the County Council
in wake of an ongoing dispute surrounding next year’s County budget.
• Job positions
at the E-911 Communications Center were adjusted. Two current employees will
take on additional responsibilities, one as an accreditation manager and the
other as a quality insurance manager, with a small adjustment in pay.
Commissioners are amending the County’s policy manual for next year. Evans
said one amendment will reflect that no part-time employee will be paid more
than $35 an hour.
Commission Executive Director Robert Thompson presented an agreement with
the Indiana Department of Transportation for the $1.6 million enhancement to
the Calumet Trail. The agency will work with the County on a Request for
Qualifications when it comes time to find a construction firm later next