residents were eager to have their voices heard at the Burns Harbor Town
Council’s meeting Wednesday night where several people took advantage of the
Council allowing members of the public to attend in-person.
The meeting was
also broadcast over Facebook live, where concerned residents commented as
the meeting progressed. Council member Toni Biancardi reported every
socially-distanced seat set out in the Town Hall was full.
commenters were most interested in mosquito fogging. Some in-person
attendees voiced concerns about drainage issues in the Village subdivision
and speeding drivers in Trail Creek. One woman spoke up to ask about safe
policing in Burns Harbor following recent protests against police brutality
that have swept the nation.
The Town Council
approved mosquito fogging at a rate of one application every three weeks
through August. There will be four applications for a cost of $850 each, or
$3,400 total. Council Vice-president Eric Hull said he still doesn’t believe
the fogging works, but he can’t say no when so many people ask for it.
The Council was
less able to immediately help those who complained about drainage in the
Village, since the problem originates on privately owned as-of-yet
Hull did report,
however, that Global Engineering will provide some oversight in the form of
requiring a professional engineer or surveyor to approve future site plans.
Hull said the Town
doesn’t have right-of-way to add infrastructure to help solve the problem,
and the issue is between property owners. Expertise from the Town’s
sanitation and building departments is available for residents who are
working with their neighbors on solutions, he said.
As for speeding,
discussions continue about freshening the paint on crosswalks and the
legality of installing speed humps to deter speeders. Town Attorney Clay
Patton said he’s looking into the issue of speed humps, which are less
obtrusive than speed bumps. The Town received a quote of $6,000 for
crosswalk painting on up to 40 crosswalks, but they held off on approval
last night in order to finalize a list of crosswalks because adding more
after a list has been submitted would incur an extra $1,000 mobilization
fee, Biancardi said.
The resident who
asked about safe policing said she came to the meeting “because of the
affairs of the world and to know how we can make our community safer.”
“I’m not scared.
I’m feeling empathy,” she said. “We’ve got a great neighborhood. I really
love the diversity, and I want everyone to feel welcome.”
She suggested the
BHPD could put out resources telling people their rights and explaining how
complaints are dealt with. She also suggested a meet and greet with
The resident said
she wasn’t quite sure how to start the conversation, but thought it should
be had. She also said it’s a conversation not just about discrimination, but
also about preventing false accusations and providing adequate resources.
Police Chief Mike
Heckman said he’s more than willing to sit down with people who have
questions and is open to a meet and greet. Heckman says when he receives a
complaint, an internal investigation is conducted, and accusations found to
have merit are turned over to Indiana State Police.
Biancardi liked the
meet and greet idea and suggested the annual Town Picnic be a venue for it.
“I’ve grown up here, and I love it, I love what you’re here to say,”
Biancardi said. “I bet a lot of others care as well.”
Heckman for his
part, said BHPD officers wear body cameras, and he doesn’t tolerate their
misuse, “If they’re turned off, we’ve got a problem.”
Heckman said he
also tries to epitomize community policing by making sure his officers are
friendly and recognizable faces. The overwhelming majority of people BHPD
make contact with are white, Heckman said.
business, and following the resignation last week of a Chesterton Town
Council member who commented, “Get the snowplows out!” about a video of a
Hammond protest, Council President Nick Loving took a moment to say
inappropriate social media activity from Burns Harbor officials and
employees, including posting, sharing, liking, and commenting, will not be
“It will be dealt
with swiftly and harshly. This is the one warning people are going to get.
There are no second chances, and no appeals will even be considered,” Loving
said. He urged department heads to make this “abundantly clear” to their
In other business,
Parks Director Kim Burton reported Burns Harbor’s playgrounds are expected
to open Friday in line with Gov. Eric Holcomb’s Back on Track Indiana plan.
The beach at Lakeland Park will open, and the park will start charging gate
fees, Saturday. All summer camps are canceled, but a youth archery event is
tentatively scheduled for July 18.
Large item trash
pickup is June 25.
The Council voted
to stay a member of AIM in 2020 and pay $3,833 in annual dues.
someone from the Town would reach out to Walsh and Kelly, the company doing
Burns Harbor’s 2020 paving projects, in response to them leaving their
grindings on a vacant property on North Salt Creek Road.
The Council asked
Patton to contact Chesterton about a proposed first-right-of-refusal
agreement related to Chesterton’s donation of its old mobile command center
to the BHFD. The agreement would require that the Town offer the donated
vehicle back to Chesterton at no cost in the event it is decommissioned.