Chesterton Tribune

Council okays town hall for use as early voting satellite center

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The Chesterton town hall looks to become an early-voting satellite center in the primary and general elections next year.

At its meeting Monday night, the Town Council voted 5-0 to approve the use of the town hall’s meeting room during the early-voting periods in April and October of 2012.

There are already two such satellite centers in Porter County: one at the Voter Registration Office in Valparaiso, the other at the North County Annex in Portage, but as former State Rep. Ralph Ayres noted from the floor on Monday, Duneland could really use its own.

“There’s a large number of seniors and shift workers, folks who work multiple jobs, who may not be able to access the Valpo or Portage sites,” Ayres said.

The requirements would be fairly simple, Ayres added: the site would need Internet access; and it would have to be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays during early voting and on a couple of Saturdays as well.

“We have that capability,” Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th, said in response. “We are certainly centrally located in the Duneland area.”

“We’re the third largest municipality in the county,” Member Jim Ton, R-1st, observed. “It makes sense.”

New Squad Cars

In other business, members voted 5-0 to approve the lease-purchase of four new squad cars, at a total maximum price of $130,000, through an arrangement with LaPorte Savings Bank.

Police Chief Dave Cincoski made the request after noting that the fleet is currently in “crisis,” with four squads at or very nearly at 100,000 miles. “It’s costing more to maintain these cars than replace them,” he said.

The problem: the CPD can’t at the moment replace them because the Cumulative Capital Fund—exclusively dedicated to the purchase of emergency vehicles—is currently underfunded, thanks to changes in state law governing CCD tax rates. Earlier this year the council took action to fix the rate snafu but the CCD is likely to remain underfunded into next year or even 2013.

The solution: a lease-purchase arrangement through LaPorte Savings Bank, which quoted a rate of 3.15 percent, with a first payment not due until the first quarter of 2013 and no early pay-off penalties.

Cincoski should take delivery of the four new squads by February.

Vacations Approved

Meanwhile, members voted 5-0 to approve the vacation of two easements on property now owned by Cosmos Hospitality, the developer of a Holiday Inn Express in the Indian Oak planned unit development.

The vacations are necessary because the easements—a 30-foot one and a 20-foot—encroach on land needed for construction of the hotel, attorney Greg Babcock told the council. Since being platted in 1985, he said, the easements have been unused and are located in an area unlikely to be developed or built upon.

At a public hearing which preceded the vote, no one spoke in favor of the vacation and no one in opposition.



Posted 11/29/2011