Chesterton Tribune



Burns Harbor Town Council splits lake cleaning with Parks

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The Burns Harbor Town Council voted 4-1 Wednesday to share half the cost of getting the weeds out of the lake at Lakeland Park with the Parks Department.

The lake has not been treated in seven years, said Council member and parks liaison Marcus Rogala. The park board received a bid of $3,500 from Aquatic Weed Control of Goshen, Ind. for vegetation management.

The board would be willing to pay half the cost from its non-reverting fund, Rogala said, hoping the Council could find some place in its budget to cover the other $1,750.

Clerk-Treasurer Jane Jordan said there are funds available in the line item for miscellaneous services that would be best suited for this kind of expenditure.

Aquatic Weed Control’s chemicals would be strong enough to kill off weed vegetation but would be harmless to fish and swimmers, Rogala said.

Council member Andy Bozak voted no on the bid, contending that the contract should have a guarantee that the treatment will work as intended, something that hadn’t happened the last time the lake was treated.

Council President Ray Poparad said he is confident the company will do “a great job” now knowing how much chemicals to use and if there is an issue it’s something the park board can “take care of.”

Easter Egg volunteers

In other park news, Rogala and Park Board member Amanda Sucku said this Saturday morning will be the annual Easter Egg hunt in Lakeland Park.

This year will feature egg hunts specifically for special needs children starting at 9:30 a.m. There will be separate hunts for children who are blind, wheelchair bound or autistic.

The general hunt will follow at 10:30 a.m. More than 2,000 eggs will be used this year.

Rogala said the park department would like to have volunteers to help out with the special needs hunts and encouraged the public to help provide this experience in the children’s lives.

“If anyone would like to come out and make it special for these kids, it will be highly appreciated,” he said.

Interested volunteers should call Parks Director Kim Burton at 219-405-4019.

The Council also filled the open Republican seat on the park board by appointing Chuck Tutor with a vote of 5-0.

Salary ordinances

But the Council tabled an amendment to the salary ordinance for the Parks Department which proposed giving Burton $50 extra per month to attend department head meetings.

The Council felt it would be beneficial to meet with department heads on a regular monthly basis to keep moving forward with projects. Burton is not salaried like directors in the other departments so a stipend is being considered.

Talking with the department heads, the Council decided to set the meetings on the third Friday of every month at 9 a.m. Rogala said he would need to check with Burton first on whether she would be available for that time before the salary ordinance is amended.

The Council did however approve amendments to the Town’s salary ordinance. One was to set the pay rate for the new full-time sanitation clerk starting at $15 per hour at 40 hours per week. The other was to pay the three members of the Town’s reorganized sanitation board which will have appointed citizens rather than Town officials. The board members will be compensated at $500 per year.

In other actions, the Council voted 5-0 to adopt new text in the Town’s sewer rate ordinance.

Police, Building and Fire

Fire Chief Bill Arney said that in February, firefighters responded to 26 calls, spent 14 hours and five minutes on scene. There were 93 hours of training and 22 duty hours for a total of 115 manned hours. Fire vehicles traveled a total of 1,074 miles.

The fire department has acquired the replacement self-contained breathing apparatuses from the Federal Emergency Management Agency grant that was received through a collaborative effort with the Portage Fire Department, Arney said.

The Town will be receiving the invoice for the local match for the $107,214 grant, which will be roughly $10,000, Arney said. The Town Council had approved the funding initially last August.

Arney added that the new SCBA’s are impressive.

“I tried one out. They’re pretty amazing,” said Rogala, who serves as a fireman.

Arney thanked community members who turned out for the fundraiser for the BHFD at Five Guys in Portage last month, braving the winter weather. The event brought in about $500 which Arney said helps fund causes like Shop with a Firefighter.

For the building department, Arney said seven permits were issued last month, two occupancy permits and three violation letters. “We’re starting to pick up. I guess it’s spring fever,” he said.

Town Marshal Mike Heckman said that police handled 360 incidents this past month, responded to seven vehicle crashes with six having property damage and one personal injury, made 10 arrests -- all misdemeanors, 20 speeding tickets were issued and 105 verbal or written warnings were given. Police vehicles traveled a total of 8,184 miles.

Brush pick up

Street Superintendent Pat Melton told the Council his department has received a number of inquiries about brush pick-up.

Pick up does not officially begin until May 1, Melton said, but since there have been recent days with strong winds, the department will start making a few rounds now.

Melton mentioned the box spreader for the Town’s snow plows will need replacing by next winter. The Council agreed to replace the spreader at a cost of $3,587 from money available in the street department budget.

Roads/Town Auction

On the subject of roads, Poparad reported that the Town of Chesterton has a bid from Reith Riley Construction Company to complete paving its part of Old Babcock Rd. and the Town of Porter is seeking bids to do its portion.

Poparad also said the auctioneer he first sought for the upcoming town auction will not be available so he is checking with two other auctioneer services. The town auction will be sometime in July, he said. Older equipment no longer being used by town departments will go on sale.


Posted 3/10/2016





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