Chesterton Tribune

Town of Burns Harbor notified hydrant fees will jump

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Indiana American Water is hiking its monthly hydrant maintenance fee, and Burns Harbor officials don’t believe the town’s $60,000 annual appropriation for that expense will be enough.

Clerk-treasurer Jane Jordan said as of June 31 a total $33,500 already has been spent. The IAW monthly cost per hydrant will increase from $52 to about $62.

Town building commissioner and fire chief Bill Arney said with all the development going on in town, additional hydrants are being added. Jordan noted Burns Harbor is one of the few communities in Indiana that doesn’t pass along the cost of the hydrant fee to its residents; the town doesn’t have a user fee for garbage collection either. In other business at the recent monthly Town Council meeting, members gave approval to Andrew Prater of Phantom Fireworks to set off a public fireworks show at Lakeland Park later this month. Prater said the event might be coupled with a fundraiser.

The 5-0 vote was contingent on Prater providing insurance coverage and liability waivers in a form approved by the town attorney, and on the town Park Board and State Fire Marshal giving the show a green light.

The Park Board also was asked to review proposals the council received for adding a waterline, drinking fountain and landscape plantings at Bolinger Park in Harbor Trails subdivision as a memorial to the late long-time Town Council member Richard Bolinger.

The council heard a presentation from Therese Davis, executive director of the Porter County Recycling & Waste Reduction District, who described its mission of education, hazardous waste collection, organic composting and electronics recycling in addition to other activities and events.

Councilman Mike Perrine asked if the RWRD is trying to secure a north-county compost site so Burns Harbor has a place to take its residents’ yard waste and leaves. Davis said it’s not on the front burner at this time, but the town can talk to Valparaiso and Portage about Burns Harbor access to their sites.

In other business:

• Jordan said no mosquito spraying has taken place this year because no one has complained about mosquitoes being a problem.

• Street Superintendent Randy Skalku said a damaged guard rail on Verplank Drive has been replaced, and the council OK’d a $1,185 proposal from Ellis Electric to locate two outdoor outlets on the town hall exterior. A telephone in the town hall front vestibule now connects to an operator who will contact Burns Harbor police after hours.

• Arney said during June the Fire Department responded to 32 calls spending 18 hours 52 minutes at emergency scenes including 15 assists to EMS, five water rescues, three open burns and two vehicle accidents. Firefighters spent 74 hours training and 20 duty hours on station last month, and fire vehicles traveled 460 miles.

• Arney also said 51 children have signed up for the department’s Fire Day Camp July 24 and 25. “We’re glad it’s a hit.”

• Town marshal Mike Heckman said his officers responded to 591 calls in June, investigated five vehicle crashes resulting in property damage, made 16 arrests (four felonies, 12 misdemeanors), wrote 72 tickets and 121 verbal and written warnings, and police vehicles traveled 7,759 miles.

• The council set a 2013 budget workshop, open to the public, for 6 p.m. July 31. Jordan said a 2.8 percent increase tentatively has been proposed by state tax officials.

Posted 7/16/2012