Chesterton Tribune


BH park waterline okayed; apartments prompt connector road, South Boo extension

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Meeting Tuesday, the Burns Harbor Town Council accepted the proposal of R.V. Sutton to bring a waterline into Bolinger Park so a memorial drinking fountain can be installed.

The park, located in Harbor Trails subdivision, is named after the late Richard Bolinger, a long-time council member and community volunteer.

Sutton’s base proposal of $4,200 was increased by the council not to exceed $500 to include installation of a hose spigot. The money will be taken from the Cumulative Capital Development Fund.

Earlier in the night the council voted 4-0 with member Jeff Freeze absent to use CCDF money to buy a new police car for just under $21,000. Police equipment will be stripped from the high-mileage older car not in use.

Town marshal Mike Heckman said he can take the money out of his department budget, but council president Jim McGee said it’s too early in the year not knowing what expenses will be.

In other business, the council authorized clerk-treasurer Jane Jordan to transfer $148,000 from the General Fund into the Rainy Day Fund. The motion initially was to transfer $100,000 but Jordan said the town has enough money in the General Fund to operate until the spring tax-draw distribution.

Park Board member Marcus Rogala presented that department’s request to purchase a John Deere mower --- if the dealer will hold its price a while.

An additional-appropriation hearing will be advertised for the March or April council meeting before spending the money. Disposal of the Dixie Chopper mower the council formerly bought for the park wasn’t determined; Rogala said it doesn’t work well on Lakeland Park’s hills.

He also said the park still is trying to find a way to remove a pile of debris left after demolition of the former Lakeland tennis court.

Building commissioner Bill Arney said a new owner has purchased the derelict 1252 Westport Rd. property and plans to demolish the structure. The owner has been given until early spring to complete the work or the town will renew efforts to have the structure cited under the Unsafe Buildings Act, said Arney.

He reported he soon will release permits for construction of Phase 2 of the Traditions apartments south of Insterstate 94 in The Village subdivision. Ten buildings totalling 75 apartments were completed last year. Six additional buildings will be built and a separate clubhouse.

Phase 2 includes completion of a connector road between The Village and Harbor Trails, and extension of South Boo Road to the north on the east side of the apartment complex.

The council approved two ordinances under suspension of the rules Tuesday.

Pending approval of the State Fire Marshal’s Office, OK’d was requiring that certain buildings (including multi-family structures, businesses that use/store hazardous wastes, public buildings) install a secure, exterior lock box containing access keys and other vital information about the site. Arney said the goal is to permit rapid entry by emergency personnel when needed.

All buildings covered under the new rule will have one year to comply. Violations carry a $300 fine, each day being a separate offense.

The second ordinance establishes a uniform allowance for full-time, active sworn members of the Police Department after one year of service. The policy is retroactive to Dec. 1, 2012. In most cases officers will receive $1,500 per year for new clothing. Heckman was given authority to authorize purchases in special cases like at the time of hiring.

The marshal said in February his department handled 321 incidents including six crashes, all resulting in property damage, and made ten arrests on misdemeanor charges and three on felonies. Arney said last month firefighters responded to 27 calls spending 19 hours on emergency scenes, and they devoted a total 148 man-hours to training and on-station duty. The department’s EMS ambulances responded to 21 calls.

This spring Arney said firefighters will host a child-safety day to educate youth what to do in an emergency, especially if they need to call 911.

Council member Mike Perrine asked that when the separate firefighters’ incorporation spends money to benefit the department, the council be made aware so it can be noted and appreciation given.

Despite the freezing temperatures, Street superintendent Randy Skalku said his department is beginning to get the warm-season equipment in working order. The council voted 4-0 to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Porter County Recycling and Waste Reduction District to keep its recycling drop-off bins at the Street Department facility.

The council agreed to postpone action on proposals previously opened to provide the town with engineering services.




Posted 2.20.2013