Chesterton Tribune



Burns Harbor hires new police officer, plans road paving

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Law enforcement in Burns Harbor has a new addition to the force.

Kyle Poracky was sworn in as deputy marshal for the BHPD after Wednesday’s Town Council meeting where Council members approved Town Marshal Mike Heckman’s recommendation to hire him as a full-time officer.

Poracky, a Portage resident, has had four years of police experience. His first day with BHPD will be Thursday with a starting pay rate of $20 per hour.

Heckman in September asked the Council to add a new employee to his department, saying he could use more help.

The Council also approved hiring Richard Fradeland as a full-time laborer for the Street Department at $23.11 per hour and bringing Randall Lopez up to 30 hours a week part-time as the Town’s building commissioner and inspector.

Fradeland has helped when the street department has needed extra help and Lopez has been handling building inspections for a few hours per week.

Lopez will be kept at his same rate for the rest of the year as it is in the current budget. A salary adjustment may be considered in the Town’s 2017 employee salary ordinance which the Council discuss at its next meeting in December.

Lopez will take over Town Building Commissioner Bill Arney’s duties who, as Council President Ray Poparad said, has “worn too many hats.” Arney is also the Town’s fire chief and head of the Sanitation Department.

Next, the Council voted to set a hearing for a resolution proposing a 10-year tax abatement requested by Masterlink Concrete Pumping and real estate holding company 347 Melton, LLC at the former Auto Care building at 347 Melton Rd.

Masterlink owner Steve Slater said the abatement is for the development of the vacant building and accompanying real estate. According to the statement of benefits submitted by 347 Melton, LLC, the improvements to the building and access drives will be approximately $500,000.

Slater said his company hopes to develop in the future the two lots the access drives will connect.

The abatement request is for a full 100 percent tax abatement for ten years, Slater said. Town Clerk-Treasurer Jane Jordan said that level of abatement would be possible under state law if an Economic Revitalization Area is created for the redevelopment of abandoned buildings. The consideration of the ERA is what the hearing in December would be for, Jordan said.

Once the building is rehabbed, Masterlink will bring eight to ten full-time positions to the business which includes operating engineers and support staff, Slater said in a letter to the Council.

Road paving

Also in the meeting, the Council authorized advertising to bid road projects with the funds they have for the State’s paving grant program. Poparad said the Town plans to do nearly $200,000 in paving next year with the $96,000 in funds it will match with the grant.

The Council will look at bids at its December meeting and intends to start paving early next year.

Projects slated with the grant funds include .3 miles of Westport Rd. from Navajo Trail to Riverside Dr., .20 miles of North Salt Creek Rd. from North Boo Rd. to the southern limit, and .17 miles of Navajo Trail from the western limit to Ind. 149.

From the audience, resident Gayle VanLoon asked if there was any way that Boo Road to the west where she lives would be worked on, saying there have been problems there for a long time.

Poparad said that only the projects that could be done are the ones in the plans for bids because they’re to be done with the grant money. Other projects would have to separate.

Board positions

Poparad announced the boards that have expiring terms at the end of this year. Residents are encouraged to submit applications for the boards they would be interested in serving on.

Board positions open include two seats on the Board of Zoning Appeals, all three members of the Plat Committee, one seat on the Park Board, a seat on the Sanitation Board and a few seats on the Redevelopment Commission.

Those who are serving on those seats now should let the Town officials know if they are still interested in serving, Poparad said. Appointments may be made at the December meeting or later in January.

Playground equipment

Park Board member Kylane Tumblin reported that the playground equipment the Town agreed to purchase a few months ago will be installed by the end of this month at Lakeland Park. She thanked the Street Department for removing the older equipment and debris, as well as putting in pea gravel.

The annual Santa 3k Dash will be Saturday, Dec. 10 starting at 1 p.m. with festivities at Lakeland Park followed by the race at 3 p.m., Tumblin said. The race is free but runners are encouraged to bring a donation for the Toys for Tots Drive or for Westchester Neighbors Food Pantry.

The Lego Club for ages 4+ meets this Sunday, Nov. 13 at Lakeland Park from 2 to 4 p.m., she said.

In other business:

-- Arney thanked all residents who came to the Fire Department’s annual spaghetti dinner on Saturday, Oct. 15. Plans are also underway for the Shop with a Firefighter to help needy families. If anyone knows a family who could use some help, Arney said to let the fire department know.

-- Jordan shared with the Council that she was recently designated as a Certified Public Funds Investment Manager by the Association of Public Treasurers of the United States and Canada. She is one of only three Clerk-Treasurers in Indiana who has the designation.

-- The Council unanimously approved a series of budget transfer resolutions for this year by the police, board of zoning appeals, park department, redevelopment commission and building department for a variety of items.

-- The Council approved upgrading Jordan’s software that she uses for budgeting at $5,750. She said upgrading would be cheaper than switching to a new software system.




Posted 11/10/2016




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