The Town of Chesterton, after failing last year to secure a grant from the
Indiana Department of Natural Resources to complete the second half of a
tree inventory, was more successful this year.
So Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg reported to the Town Council at its
meeting Monday night.
The 50/50 grant, awarded by the DNR’s Division of Forestry, will allow
Schnadenberg to finish the second half of a street-tree inventory begun in
2010 as well as to plant approximately 20 new trees. The town will match the
$6,500 provided by the grant with moneys from the Tree Board Gift Fund and
in-kind services, Schnadenberg said.
An inventoried tree is first species-identified, then aged and sized, and
finally its health and condition determined and recorded. It typically costs
between $2 and $3.50 to inventory a tree.
Schnadenberg has said that the value of an up-to-date inventory—which
ideally should be conducted every five years or so—is that it gives him an
idea of which trees are in decline, which ones in need of removal as
hazards, and which in need of pruning.
Schnadenberg noted on Monday that he has two years to use the DNR grant.
Re: Squad Cars
In other business, members voted 5-0 to earmark the approximately $250,000
in Cumulative Capital Development (CCD) funds expected this year for the
outright purchase of four squad cars which Police Chief Dave Cincoski has
already ordered, the outright purchase of three to four more in the fall,
and a payment on the CFD’s ladder truck.
Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th, made the motion after noting that the CCD
fund—which a change in state law had dried up to next to nothing—has been
replenished after the council voted last year to increase its dedicated
property-tax rate. DeLaney said that the outright purchase of the squads
will prove a more economical way than lease-purchase of acquiring the cars.
Member Jim Ton, R-1st, agreed. “We avoid the time and effort to come up with
alternative financing and we save on interest,” he said.
Two of the four squads ordered last year by Cincoski have been delivered:
Dodge Chargers. A pair of Chevrolet Tahoes remain on order.
DeLaney observed that, for the last couple of years, the shortfall in the
CCD fund has forced the CPD to eke out patrols with high-mileage squads,
some of them with more than 100,000 miles on the odometer.
Meanwhile, members voted 5-0 to approve on first reading an ordinance which
vacates a portion of unimproved South 18th Street, 5-0 to suspend the rules,
then 5-0 to approve the ordinance on last reading.
The vacation was requested by Lisa Pearson, whose residence in the 500 block
of South 18th Street abuts the right-of-way. Pearson told the council that
she would like to have a bigger yard for her children and possibly to build
a new garage.
Town Engineer Mark O’Dell, while reporting that staff had no problems with
the vacation, did say that a 30-foot utility access easement runs down the
center of the right-of-way, meaning that no structure can actually be built
on 15 feet either side of the center line.
Pearson’s neighbor, Larry Foster—who will acquire the other half of the
easement—voiced no objections to the vacation.
Schnadenberg, for his part, remarked that the town has no plans ever of
improving that stretch of Jefferson Ave. and that the vacation will in no
way impede public or municipal access.