Chesterton Tribune



Burns Harbor promotes firefighter; BHFD open house Sunday

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Burns Harbor Fire Chief Bill Arney promoted one of his Firefighters at Wednesday’s Burns Harbor Town Council Meeting.

Arney said BHFD Firefighter Matthew Wesley went through rigorous testing procedures in order to be promoted to Engineer. Engineers have to log a certain amount of driving hours, be certified to operate every piece of equipment the Department uses, and pass a written test, according to Arney.

In other Fire Department business, Arney made a reminder the BHFD will host a public safety open house Sunday, June 9, from 1 to 5 p.m. There will be food, a bounce house for kids, vendors, and BHFD vehicles will be on display.


Kylane Tumblin reported the Park Department’s annual Fishing Derby at Lakeland Park is Saturday, June 8 from 10 a.m. to noon. Kids can compete in two age divisions:one for six to 10-year-olds and one for 10 to 14-year-olds. Movie night at the Park is June 14. The Footloose 5K is June 22. Registration for the 5K begins at 3:30 p.m. that day.

Street Superintendent Pat Melton said a new waste site on U.S. 12 in Portage is open to all residents of Porter County. Melton said County residents who live outside of Portage can take leaves and brush, but not grass clippings to the site. Council member Kevin Tracy added that all County residents can also pick-up free compost and mulch at the site.

Building Commissioner Rob Wesley reported he issued 12 permits, conducted 52 inspections, and responded to several complaints in May.

Salary Ordinance

Clerk-treasurer Jane Jordan brought an amendment to the salary ordinance to the Council after Melton asked to raise the salary cap for one of his employees last month.

Melton wanted to give the employee a 39-cent per hour raise to correct an error. Melton said he should have raised the employee to the top of his position’s range before lump-sum raises for all Town employees were factored into hourly wages at the beginning of 2019.

At the May meeting, Council members expressed concern over giving a raise mid-year and giving an extra raise to only one employee. Wednesday, the amendment failed 3-1 when Council Vice-president Eric Hull, member Toni Biancardi, and Tracy all voted no. Council member Ray Poparad voted yes. Council President Nick Loving was absent.

Trail Creek PUD

The Council approved the Trail Creek phase II planned unit development (PUD) after the Plan Commission sent it down with a favorable recommendation.

Hull said the Plan Commission worked on the PUD for months. It went through two public hearings and changes were negotiated with the developer in response to resident concerns. Hull also noted that the PUD went through the same process as subdivision approval, though there are only four lots and some wetland property within it.

Town Attorney Clay Patton added that the developer has agreed to sign a written private road and drainage commitment.


The Council received correspondence from the Family 4th Fest planning committee and the Duneland Chamber of Commerce about donating money and services for Independence Day events.

The Council approved a $300 donation to the Family 4th Fest and approved a $2,500 cash donation, with fire and police services in-kind, to the Chamber for this year’s Lakefront Fireworks.


Council member Ray Poparad reported paving, funded by Burn Harbor’s $1 million Community Crossings matching grant, is scheduled to begin Friday. Poparad said the paving will start with Rainbow Drive, weather permitting.

The 2019 priority roads are as follows: Babcock from Haglund to Rainbow, Rainbow Drive from Babcock to West Dead End, Castle Street from Haglund to North Dead End, Coan Street from Haglund to North Dead End, Stanley Street from Haglund to North Dead End, Westport Road from Haglund to Navajo Trail, Riverside from Westport to East Dead End, Shadyside Road from Hickory to McCool Road, and McCool Road from U.S. 12 to Shadyside.

Hull and Poparad said they have gotten some emails after the Town decided not to order mosquito fogging at its last meeting. Poparad said he thinks the Council’s decision should stand unless a lot of residents complain. “We decided not to do it because it’s not effective, plain and simple,” Poparad said. “I think that needs to stand until we hear from them or they show up in force.”

The Council recognized two staff anniversaries. Arney has been with the Town for 11 years, and Police Chief Mike Heckman has been with the Town for 12 years.

Other Approvals

The Council voted to rename Lillian Lane in the Village subdivision to Bolinger Lane. Patton will notify the required agencies, such as the U.S. Postal Service, of the rename.

The Council passed an ordinance establishing vendor fees for Food Truck Square. The ordinance formalizes the new, lowered fees that were approved for this season. The vendor fee is $15 per day, down from $45 last year, with $10 per day for tent rental, and $5 for electric.

The Council approved two resolutions to approve transfers within the Fire Department budget and for the Building Department. The Fire Department transfers were to cover a final few expenses from the addition to the Fire Department building. The Building Department transfers were to cover the cost of electric services to put a hydraulic lift at the Street Department back in service.

The Council approved a resolution donating its old 1996 model fire truck to the San Pierre Volunteer Fire Department in Railroad Township and decommissioning the truck upon the receipt of proper paperwork.

The Council approved a permitted facilities agreement with BP that allows the Town to build over BP’s easement surrounding a pipeline that runs through the Westport site. Negotiations about the easement had been stalling design and construction at the site of Food Truck Square.


Posted 6/7/2019




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