Chesterton Tribune

An ending and a beginning for Porter Town Council

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By PAULENE POPARAD

“Our leg of the race is ending and it’s time to pass on the baton to a new council,” said Michele Bollinger, choking back tears.

With their four-year term concluding Jan. 1, she and the three other outgoing Town Council members were applauded by the audience Tuesday. Member Trevin Fowler was absent but said his good-byes two weeks ago.

The new Town Council will convene its first meeting Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. to elect officers and make appointments. A regular business meeting will take place Jan. 10. Incoming council members and clerk-treasurer Carol Pomeroy, who is about to begin a third term, are being sworn in individually, some already having done so.

Bollinger said being responsible for the future of Porter is a daunting task, but she believes her board will have left an indelible mark. “Hindsight is always 20/20 but I always tried to act in the best interest of the town.”

She urged incoming council members Bill Cantrell, Elka Nelson, Rob Pomeroy, Greg Stinson and Jeanine Virtue to serve the Town of Porter well. Chesterton Town Council member Emerson DeLaney was present Tuesday and introduced himself to the new members after the meeting.

Retiring Porter councilman Jon Granat thanked the department heads and town residents. “It’s been an eye-opening four years for me.” He said great demands will be made of their time, and he wished the new council good luck.

Dave Babcock, who like Granat did not seek re-election, also wished the incoming council well. Babcock is Public Works Department liaison and he thanked its superintendent, Brenda Brueckheimer, for her dedication prompting applause from those in attendance.

Director of engineering Matt Keiser read a statement praising the outgoing administration for its vision, leadership and commitment to getting things done like finally breaking ground on the long-delayed Brickyard hike/bike trail.

Keiser listed ten accomplishments including receiving numerous grants such as $19 million for the Gateway to the Indiana Dunes economic-development project and $380,000 in federal stimulus funding; financing $5.1 million in sanitary-sewer upgrades; and adoption of a long-discussed Porter Beach zoning overlay.

He also said the current council’s leadership strongly increased Porter’s reputation as well as extended cooperation to neighboring towns and to the National Park Service.

Bollinger said the new members of the Porter Redevelopment Commission, who are appointed by the Town Council, will have to decide whether to apply by the Jan. 23 deadline for a new Lake Michigan Coastal Program grant and redirect some of the existing $19 million grant, both for a proposed picnic pavilion and public improvements at Porter Beach.

The new Redevelopment Commission also will be tasked with deciding what to do about the $350,000 Brickyard parcel on Beam Street the current commission purchased in 2009.

Known contamination exists on the southern portion of the site and Weaver Boos Consultants LLC is working for the commission under directives from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to learn the full extent. Bollinger said Weaver Boos is writing a response letter to IDEM after the agency called for more testing, installation of monitoring wells, a risk assessment prior to development and a status update by late January.

In other business Tuesday:

• Keiser said installation of a pedestrian bridge for the Brickyard Trail over four-lane U.S. 20 at Howe Road has been delayed again but hopes are it can be erected soon. Intermittent travel delays on U.S. 20 will occur but the highway will remain open.

• A bid opening for a planned reline of downtown sanitary sewers has been rescheduled to next month, said Keiser.

• Police chief James Spanier said new general orders were adopted for the department by the Police Commission, which recently had a demonstration of Porter’s new vehicle identification system equipped on police cars.

• The council made more than 50 total year-end transfers within the town hall, police, fire, park and street department budgets to cover line-item shortfalls or enable additional purchases.

• Also adopted was an amendment to the Dec. 13 salary ordinance changing its effective date from Jan. 1, 2012 to Dec. 18, 2011 to cover days in that payroll period.

• Park superintendent Jim Miller said all the department needs is freezing weather to open a new ice-skating rink at Hawthorne Park.

• Jill Wadding of Porter Cove was named winner of the $75 first prize in Porter’s annual Christmas outdoor decorating contest. Joseph Mantich of the same subdivision won the $50 second-place award and Jean Daniels of Burwell Drive $25 for third place.

 

 

Posted 12/28/2011