Chesterton Tribune



Burns Harbor Town Council adopts 2019 budget

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The Burns Harbor Town Council adopted its 2019 budget at its meeting last week.

Burns Harbor plans to operate on a total of $5,718,309 next year. Clerk-Treasurer Jane Jordan made two important notes. Jordan said she estimated the local road and bridge fund 2019 expenses at about $1.3 million in anticipation that the 2019 Community Crossing grant will reimburse $1 million of that, if approved.

Jeff Oltmanns of Global Engineering reported that the Town’s Community Crossing grant application is in and awards, which are a 75/25 match for paving in a town the side of Burns Harbor, will be announced in November.

Jordan also noted that Burns Harbor is set to acquire a new fire engine and pay in cash to save about $200,000 in interest on a loan. The fire engine purchase will be funded from the cumulative capital development fund.

Ambulance Service

The Council also approved resolution 2019-10 to finalize an additional appropriation of $50,000 to fund ambulance service run by the Town through the end of the year. The council then approved an amendment to the salary ordinance concerning paramedics and approved on second reading an ordinance establishing ambulance fees. The new fees for ambulance service take effect once advertised.

Fire Chief Bill Arney also reported that a new ambulance cot will be funded with some of the money the Redevelopment Commission put up for repairs on the existing fire station roof and the new addition to the fire station.


Jim Metros, Municipal Services Manager for Republic Services, gave a presentation on how the recycling market has changed as of late.

Metros reported that profits in the recycling industry have all but disappeared due to changes in the Chinese market. China used to accept shipments of recyclables with up to a five percent contamination rate, according to Metros, but they recently announced a requirement that recycled material brought into the country have a contamination rate below half of one percent as part of a new effort to reduce pollution. China has also opted not to take “mixed paper” anymore, which include the waxy ads in the Sunday paper. Metros said mixed paper has historically been up to 20% of the stream of materials sent.

Metros said the market hit a severe downturn in July 2017, but noted that all materials recycled through Republic since have been handled properly and recycled because “We think to do any less than that is fraud.” He did say, however, that Republic has reached a breaking point. “As we speak today, for all recyclables, we are paying $57.50 a ton to get rid of recyclables.”

The impact on Burns Harbor residents: nothing right now. Burns Harbor is under contract with Republic, and nothing will change unless a change is proposed when the contract is up. Metros just wanted to keep the Council in the loop. He said one solution Republic is approaching with other municipalities is the addition of a $1.30 processing fee to the regular collection charge for residents, so that could be in Burns Harbor’s future once the current contract is up. Metros assured the amount of the fee could be reduced if the market changes for the better.

Council President Ray Poparad said the possible addition of another fee was hard to swallow, since Burns Harbor just began to offer recycling. Metros said the key to helping change the market is also in educating residents about what can and can’t go in the recycle bin to lower contamination rates, and Republic is looking to help with those outreach efforts. Council member Toni Biancardi suggested a flyer could go out in residents sewer bills explaining what’s going on, suggesting resources, or providing guidelines.


Police Chief Mike Heckman announced the hiring of Austin Haynes, Burns Harbor PD’s newest officer. Heckman also reported that Trick or Treat time for Burns Harbor will be the same as the surrounding Diuneland communities--5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 31.

Street Superintendent Pat Melton reported organized brush pick-up ends Oct. 31. Leaf pick-up begins Monday, Oct. 22.



Posted 10/19/2018




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