Chesterton Tribune

Town of Porter promotes building inspector to fill new position

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The Porter Town Council promoted part-time town building inspector Michael Barry to the newly created position of director of development/building commissioner.

The job will carry several of the responsibilities formerly held by the eliminated position of director of engineering and development; the former building commissioner previously resigned.

Council president Greg Stinson said the realignment will save the town about $65,000 in wages. A revised salary ordinance was adopted unanimously Tuesday authorizing Barry’s total salary of $40,190 for the balance of 2012 paid out of town hall, sewage works and Porter Redevelopment Commission funds.

Stinson also said the council is eliminating the past longstanding practice of paying the building commissioner and the building inspector each an additional 10 percent of the building permit fees collected, which amounted to about $4,500 per year.

Stinson said the policy began when the town was not able to pay the building commissioner a living wage, but that’s not the case now. Giving the percentage perk today “gave a bad impression to some of the public that they’d enforce things and basically shake the bushes to make money,” he added.

It was announced Barry is compiling a list of contractors who will be called upon to make inspections when there’s too many for his office to handle alone. The contractors will be paid $40 to $60 per inspection depending on their nature.

Commented Town Council member Jeannine Virtue, “I’m thrilled Mike is on board.” She thanked council member Elka Nelson for helping coordinate with Barry the town’s building/engineering projects while a search was on for a permanent replacement.

After the meeting Barry said, “I’m really looking forward to working for the Town of Porter in this capacity. I use common sense and like working with people. Hopefully things will be smoother and more enjoyable for people.”

He added he doesn’t plan any particular changes, and he’s currently going over the town code looking for needed corrections and amendments.

The newly adopted 2012 salary ordinance included a $5,115 increase this year for Public Works superintendent Brenda Brueckheimer, who was named MS4 director to coordinate compliance with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management for the town’s federally mandated stormwater management program.

Retaining wall approved

Voting 5-0 the Town Council OK’d entering into a encroachment consent agreement with Hugo Brandstetter to allow construction of a retaining wall north of his 2944 Glacier Tr. home to save both the structure and a Porter Beach dune.

Hesham Khalil of Global Engineering and Surveying said the block wall will be a total 13 feet high constructed in two tiers. Neither sheet piling that would impact neighboring houses nor large equipment will be used. He estimated actual construction would take place in late April.

A permit first must be obtained through the Porter Building Department.

The retaining wall will be in front of the house on public right-of-way. Nelson, a real estate attorney, said she and town attorney Gregg Sobkowski discussed Brandstetter’s request. After considering the options available Nelson felt entering into an encroachment consent agreement would be better than setting a precedent of haphazardly vacating property.

The council’s approved motion stipulates the work will be done all at the homeowner’s expense and that any legal or incidental fees involved in the granting of the agreement also be borne by Brandstetter.

On a related matter, Stinson asked that discussion regarding the emergency access road between Porter Beach and Dune Acres be tabled pending more input.

Nelson announced a recent Lake Michigan Coastal Program grant request for funding to install a Porter Beach sidewalk on the east side of Waverly Road from Duneland Drive to the beach has been denied; the project would have included a handicapped-accessible ramp and beach overlook. The town has $15,000 from a previous grant and additional funding is being sought.

Business upgrade coming

Porter Quick Stop at the northeast corner of U.S. 20 and Waverly Road was the town’s lone applicant and winner of a $4,000 Duneland Economic Development Co. facade grant. Under a policy adopted last month the Porter Town Council voted 5-0 to contribute an additional $1,000 for the work, estimated to cost about $9,000.

The upgrade will include stone veneer being installed on the lower portion of the building. An agreement will be drafted for the Quick Stop owner consistent with the town’s program guidelines.

In other business Tuesday:

• The council authorized purchase of a 2012 Dodge Charger police car for $31,679 from Connors Automotive in Chesterton. Porter police chief James Spanier also won approval to sells surplus police cars, other vehicles and equipment from three town departments by sealed bid due by 2 p.m. April 13. A list of the items will be available.

• A parade permit was approved for State Park Little League players to march in opening-day festivities April 27.

• The month of April will mark Fight Child Abuse at the request of the Duneland Exchange Club, said Stinson. An April 2 program at Thomas Park in Chesterton is planned, as is an April 21 talent show. Supporters of the effort are asked to wear blue on Mondays during April.



Posted 3/28/2012