Chesterton Tribune



Ton: SB188 a 'travesty against voters'

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Chesterton Town Council Member Jim Ton, R-1st, concluded an otherwise ho hum meeting Monday night--the councils first regular meeting of the year--with a shot across the bow of State Sen. Jim Merritt, R-31st, whose SB 188 bill would require the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission to issue a three-way permit to the DNR on behalf of a state park, exempt from local ABC oversight.

Merritt told the Chesterton Tribune last week that he was “barely” aware of the ballyhoo in Northwest Indiana over Pavilion Partners LLC’s failed bid for a three-way permit at its restaurant and banquet center at Dunes State Park and said, on the contrary, that his intent is merely to simplify economic development at the DNR facility in his own district, Fort Harrison State Park.

Ton, however, without ever referring to Merritt by name, suggested that the senator was being disingenuous. “I don’t buy the rationale as stated in the papers,” he said. “I’m not fooled by the manipulation I read about.”

SB 188 is a “travesty against voters,” Ton continued. “If the bill passes, citizens in the region would be denied their right to say No to alcohol at Indiana Dunes State Park.”

Prairie-Duneland Trail Signage

In other business, members voted 5-0 to enter into a interlocal agreement with the municipalities traversed by the Prairie-Duneland Trail, under which the town will provide $2,000 toward the cost of installing uniform signage along the entire length of the trail.

As Ton noted, the Prairie-Duneland Trail is an officially designated leg of the U.S. Bicycle Route System and part of the USBRS trail between Illinois and Michigan. “The signage is so folks know where they are on the trail as they pass through Northwest Indiana,” he said.

The other signatories of the interlocal agreement, coordinated by the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission: Porter, Portage, Crown Point, Griffith, Schererville, Highland, and Merrillville.

Beginning 2016

Members also conducted some routine beginning-of-the-year business:

*  Voted 5-0 to re-appoint all department heads. “You're all back on board,” said Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th.

*  Voted 5-0 to pay four department heads for vacation time not taken in 2015: Clerk-Treasurer Stephanie Kuziela for 10 hours; Police Chief Dave Cincoski for 58 hours; Town Engineer Mark O’Dell for 80 hours (the maximum number of eligible payout hours under the town’s Personnel Policy); and Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg for 80 hours.

*  Voted 5-0 to deposit $1,000 into the health savings account of every municipal employee covered by the town’s healthcare plan. A second deposit of $500 will be made in July. The council agreed two years ago to make $1,500 HSA contributions after implementing a higher-deductible plan, “to try and soften the blow,” as Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann put it. Lukmann noted that the plan has resulted in significant savings.



Posted 11/12/2016




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