Chesterton Tribune


Burns Harbor passes hydrant fee

Back to Front Page





Burns Harbor is no longer one of the few communities in the state that has the town pay for its fire hydrant fees.

Residents will see a new charge of $4.12 on their monthly water bills as the Town Council took a 5-0 vote on Wednesday in support of the measure following a public hearing.

Clerk-Treasurer Jane Jordan said the town pays more than $70,000 per year on hydrant costs to the Indiana American Water Company, or $61 per month on its 89 hydrants. Residents could see the fee increase a few cents for every hydrant that is added as the town continues to develop.

Councilman Mike Perrine said the charge is a “relatively small amount per household” and said the Town of Porter is the only other municipality in the county which does not pass hydrant costs on to residents.

The revenue will free up some operating funds for the town’s new advanced-life-support ambulance service.

No one from the audience expressed opposition to the fee. Former town council member Cliff Fleming said he welcomes the new revenue source adding that it would benefit the town, which is struggling with operating expenses. He commended the Council and said residents must realize “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

Since it is an ordinance, attorney Julie Paulson, who sat in for town counsel Bob Welsh, said a second reading is required which will be held at the next Council meeting.

Fire Chief Bill Arney mentioned the ALS ambulance will kick off the morning of Saturday, Nov. 3 with an opening ceremony at the fire department and invited the Council members and the donors to attend.

The contract with the hospital has been signed and the ambulance will be inspected next Monday.

“Everything’s ready to start protecting the town,” Arney said.

Fifty part-time EMS and paramedic workers have been hired for ALS ambulance staff, a mix of those already currently working for the fire department and fresh hires.

The ALS ambulance received about $50,000 from local town businesses to purchase equipment and other related expenses.

“It couldn’t have gone smoother,” Councilman Greg Miller said.

In another matter, Arney, who is also the town’s building commissioner, said a decrepit residential structure near the area of Meadowbrook Road and Westport Road has had many folks calling in asking if something can be done to eliminate the hazard.

“The house is in horrible shape,” Arney said.

The Council mulled taking steps to condemn the property citing safety concerns. According to Jordan, the property is bank owned and it has been listed on the Sheriff’s Sale multiple times.

Stepping in to demolish the building could mean an expense for the town both legally and physically, Arney said. Perrine asked Arney to get estimates for a firm to do the razing.

Paulson said the town could put a lien on the property to recoup the costs.

ADA Transition project

finds consultant

Meanwhile, Councilman Jeff Freeze said he has been contacted by a consultant willing to help with getting the town in line with the federal government requirements to have a plan to make all of the town’s buildings, sidewalks and roads handicap accessible.

The Council was told by the Northern Indiana Regional Planning Commission’s transit compliance officer earlier this month that the town, like all other municipalities, has until Dec. 31 to show a commitment to meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act or risk losing its eligibility for funding from the Federal Highway Department.

Freeze said Desila Rossetti offered to get the town’s transition plan organized just as she had helped in LaPorte County. The Council agreed on a motion to compensate Rossetti up to $1,000 to work with the different town departments. A lot of the assessment work will be done by the town as Arney has been actively taking pictures for the packet that will be submitted to NIRPC.

More Trees for Bollinger Park

Jordan said besides the six trees the town thought it would be getting to be planted at Bollinger Park in Harbor Trails, Great Oaks Nursery was generous enough to throw in a few more trees.

The town thought it would be getting one more tree in addition to the six with the $100 donation made by Amy and Greg Poparad. Once the donation was made, Great Oaks ended up doubling the amount for a total of 14 trees.

Spaghetti Dinner Nov. 3

It’s time once again to get hungry for some Italian cuisine and support the Burns Harbor Fire Department. Arney said the annual dinner will be Saturday, Nov. 3 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Fire Dept. Tickets are $6 at the door or can be purchased ahead of time. For carry out meals, it’s $1 extra.

“It’s always a good time,” Arney said.

In more community event news, Perrine invited the public to attend the Burns Harbor Lions Club annual Halloween costume sale which will take place this Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Westport Community Club.

2013 budget approved

In other matters, the board voted unanimously to pass the proposed 2013 budget. Total estimates for all budgets came in at $2,982,937 with a $1.75 million General Fund. The estimated maximum levy is $2,483,210 based on an assessed value of $508 million. A public hearing took place on Sept. 19.

Also, it was announced by the Council that Janice Hines of the Plan Commission has resigned her position. Council President Jim McGee said they will wait until January to replace her. That’s also when the Council will make its other board appointments.

Fire and Police

During September, Arney said the Fire Department responded to 24 calls spending 8 hours and 39 minutes on emergency scenes, nine assists to EMS, one water rescue and two vehicle fires. Firefighters spent 97.5 hours training and 64 duty hours on station, and fire vehicles traveled 488 miles.

Town marshal Mike Heckman said in September the police department saw 338 incidents, investigated five vehicle crashes with three resulting in personal injury and two in property damage, made 12 arrests (two felonies, ten misdemeanors), wrote 86 tickets, gave 220 verbal and written warnings, and police vehicles traveled 8,152 miles.


Trick-or-Treat time for Burns Harbor will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 31, Heckman reported.



Posted 10/18/2012