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Burns Harbor continues to waive late fees for sewer bills

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By LILY REX

The Burns Harbor Town Council will continue to waive late fees for late payments on wastewater bills, the Council decided at a meeting last week.

Wastewater payments are still due, but residents will not be charged late fees if they are late paying their bills in May or June. Utility shut-offs remain unlawful under Gov. Eric Holcomb’s emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Council met in a meeting broadcast on Facebook live with all members and Clerk-treasurer Jane Jordan present in the Council chamber, distanced about six feet apart from each other and wearing masks. Town Attorney Clay Patton and department heads joined the meeting virtually.

Patton said a related Town ordinance doesn’t allow the Council to suspend wastewater late fees, but Jordan said other Towns are taking similar emergency measures, and the thought is since the waived late fees are part of emergency responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, documents about the emergency response should be enough to explain waived fees in the case of an audit.

In other business, the Council tabled a discussion of whether or not to order mosquito fogging. The Council questions the effectiveness of the fogging and has opted in the past to wait for a certain number of residents to request it before ordering an application. Jordan reported last year the Town ordered two applications, one before the Footloose 5K and one before the Town Rummage Sale. She added that some residents have already asked for it this year. Fogging costs $850 per application. The Council opted to discuss it again in June.

Shadyside Park Status

The Town is in talks with Arcelor Mittal about Shadyside Park, which is maintained by the Town but sits on Arcelor Mittal property, per a decades-old lease. Council President Nick Loving said he’ll have more to report in June about whether or not the Town will continue a long-term lease of the land or may receive it as a donation.

The Council approved the removal of unsafe equipment, including a climbing dome and old slides, from the Park earlier this year and authorized the purchase of two new slides at its April meeting. The two open-top slides, from New Toys, cost $4,570, and New Toys will install them for $2,500 for a total cost of $7,070.

In other Park business, Council member Roseann Bozak noted that the Footloose 5K is canceled, but the Park Department hopes to open Lakeland Park and the playground equipment there by the end of the month.

Scholarship Reminder

The Council members made a reminder that the Town of Burns Harbor Scholarship application is due May 31. The only eligibility requirements are that applicants be current residents of Burns Harbor who are enrolled in or planning to enroll to pursue higher education. Students returning to school later in life or pursuing trade school or training programs are welcome to apply.

Loving was one of the first recipients of the Burns Harbor Town Scholarship when it began, and Council Vice-president Eric Hull was awarded some funds to pursue continued education just last year.

Applicants must provide a short essay detailing their career goals, a letter of acceptance to an educational program or institution, and one letter of recommendation, as well as a list of extracurricular activities, community service, and awards/honors.

The application can be found on the town’s website.

Other Business

In other business, the Council discussed scheduling the Town Rummage Sale, which usually takes place in late July or early August. That matter was tabled after Council member Toni Biancardi suggested the Council wait and see what the public health situation is like in June before scheduling or canceling it.

Loving reported he’s working with Police Chief Mike Heckman and the Village subdivision homeowner’s association board about painting crosswalks in the Village to help with traffic issues where residents have complained of speeding motorists and those who don’t stop for stop signs. Painting crosswalks would come from the Street Department budget, and the new paint job would hopefully serve as an added visual queue alerting drivers to slow down.

The Council also renewed its contract with CivicPlus to host the Town’s website and tabled a discussion of whether or not to renew the Town’s membership in the advocacy group AIM. The cost of CivicPlus increased $128 to $2,682.22 in 2020 up from $2,554.49 in 2019.

 

Posted 5/20/2020

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

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