The Chesterton Town
Council is still smarting from the sticker shock it got in July 2015 when
presented with a $31,120 contract for Animal Control services from the
Porter County Sheriff’s Department.
That sticker shock
was all the worse, as it happens, because--through a typographical error on
the PCSP’s part--the council was originally under the impression it would be
paying only $3,120 for Animal Control. In fact, the $31,120 figure was five
times more than the $6,076 which the town paid in 2012 for exactly
the same services.
County Commissioner Laura Blaney, D-South, agreed at the time to phase the
contract in over three years, she also admitted that Chesterton may have
been the only municipality in the county over the previous few years
actually paying anything at all for Animal Control, on account of a
bureaucratic glitch no one was then able to explain.
That was two years
ago. Now, Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th, is seeking to revisit the contract,
given the fact that the PCSP no long administers Animal Control in Porter
County. As DeLaney noted in a prepared statement read at the end of Monday’s
council meeting, “The current contract is with the Sheriff’s Department.
This is no longer the case. There is verbiage in the contract that specifies
things (which are) under the discretion of the Sheriff.”
DeLaney wants the following from Blaney:
explanation of the fees being charged under the current contract, plus
documentation to justify those fees.
*A list of the
municipalities which have paid for Animal Control services over the last 10
years by year and amounts.
*The number of
Animal Control call-outs in unincorporated Porter County.
justify the Commissioners’ threat to deny Animal Control services to
municipalities which don’t pay the fee. “This verbiage is not specified in
“Knowing that the
new (Animal Shelter) facility was desperately needed, why have the
Commissioners not addressed a funding source to pay for the construction and
future operations that is fair and equal to all taxpayers in the county?”
“Our county has
several funding options,” he suggested. “One can be interest money from the
hospital sale. Currently there is talk of giving some of this money to
special interest groups. Why not fund such a facility as the Animal Shelter?
This is for the people of the county.”
would be to enact a leash law,” DeLaney added. “Indiana Code allows the
county to enact one. This would create a level playing field for all county
residents with pets.”
“I am by no means
against the new facility,” DeLaney concluded. “As stated earlier, it was
desperately needed. We just need to make it fair for all of the residents of
Ordinance Banning Yard Parking
In other business,
the first person yet to speak in favor of a proposed ordinance which would
forbid residents from parking vehicles in their front, side, or rear
yards--as well as in the “greenways” in front of their homes--addressed the
council from the floor.
Patty Grismer told
members that, in her view, the proposed ordinance would prove “instrumental
in keeping our neighborhoods looking nice and maintaining property values.”
President Jim Ton,
R-1st, thanked Grismer for her comments.
ordinance was not on the council’s agenda Monday night. Members heard
numerous complaints about it from the floor at their last meeting.
Thanks You from the
Ton did take a
moment at the end of the meeting to read a note fromMaura Durham of the
Duneland Chamber of Commerce expressing her gratitude to the council for its
donation to the annual lakefront fireworks extravaganza, held on June 29.
After several weeks
of balking, the council agreed to pony up $2,000, 20 percent less than the
$2,500 which Durham had originally requested but in keeping with the
20-percent slash of the town’s 2017 General Fund, inflicted by the Indiana
Department of Local Government Finance following a computational error made
last year by the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office.
In her note to the
council, Durham thanked the council for its generosity given its currently
straitened circumstances and said that she’s looking forward eagerly to next
year’s 10th anniversary extravaganza.
“We weathered a few
storms,” Durham said of this year’s edition, “but at the end of the night we
were all proud to be Americans.”