Chesterton Tribune

Porter director of engineering quitting as new board takes charge

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The Town of Porter and director of engineering Matt Keiser are parting ways on good terms.

Hired in April, 2009 to supervise engineering and development matters, Keiser is moving on, announced Town Council president Greg Stinson at Tuesday's meeting.

Keiser later said he has other plans but can't elaborate at this time. He will remain in his town position until Feb. 1, at which time his contractual agreement with Porter terminates and the engineering/development position is eliminated.

After the meeting Stinson said while talking with Keiser about a realignment of responsibilities under the new council, Keiser didn't think the role of a coordinating project manager played to his strengths.

Keiser isn't a registered professional engineer although he has an engineering background. His combined positions with Porter would have paid approximately $77,000 this year.

Stinson said the council is extremely grateful to Keiser for his professionalism, his hard work on behalf of the town and for making a smooth transition possible. Keiser said, "I'm really proud of what we've done. The town is positioned well for the future and to guide its projects along." He said he hopes to stay involved.

According to council member Bill Cantrell, who served for years on the town Stormwater Management Board, "I worked with Matt on Stormwater and he's done a great job, saved the town a lot of money, and I wish him luck in his new endeavors."

Stinson said the council doesn't want to create the position of a town manager because under Indiana code, that authority becomes almost quasi-mayoral.

Department heads retained

Other incumbent Porter department heads were returned to office on unanimous votes: police chief James Spanier, fire chief and full-time firefighter Lewis Craig Sr., Public Works director Brenda Brueckheimer, building commissioner Art Elwood, and Park Department superintendent Jim Miller, the latter subject to Park Board approval.

The appointments drew favorable reaction from the audience, again a near-capacity crowd.

On 5-0 votes the Town Council renewed its service contracts with Haas & Associates and SEH, both of which provide engineering services; with town planner Jim Mandon and the law firm of Hodges & Davis for town attorney Greg Sobkowski.

A 3-2 vote with Cantrell and Elka Nelson dissenting narrowly led to renewal of a contract for financial services with Cender & Company.

Last month principal Karl Cender said it was financially feasible for the Porter Redevelopment Commission to refund Porter County the full $313,152 due over a successful property-tax appeal rather than negotiating installment payments; that's anticipated to take the RDC's cash down to about $459,000 until June.

In other business, Stinson named council members to serve as liaisons to town departments: Cantrell, Police; Jeanine Virtue, Fire; Nelson, Public Works; Rob Pomeroy, Parks; and town hall including building commissioner/clerk-treasurer, Stinson.

2011 improvements pay off

Elwood announced in 2011 the Building Department generated $90,101 in total fees including $51,984 in permit fees and $37,650 from contractor licenses. The value of improvements as estimated on building permits was $5,192,656 --- in part boosted by the new Bell warehouse --- for a total value the second highest in seven years.

The building commissioner also asked that the council consider pro-rating the $100 annual fee for a contractor's license. He said whether contractors obtain the license in January or September, they pay the same fee.

Craig said 4:30 p.m. Jan. 31 is the deadline for landlords to file at his office certification of working smoke detectors. The forms may be obtained at the fire station, Police Department or town hall. Craig also said the Fire Department received $7,000 from ArcelorMittal for equipment.

Brueckheimer reminded residents the Public Works complex accepts surplus electronics like old computers and televisions from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Also, Christmas trees will be picked up for disposal by calling 926-4212.

Keiser said bids for a reline of downtown sanitary sewers were to opened today with action to be taken at the Jan. 24 meeting. Porter is in the midst of a $5.1 million sewer upgrade.

With temperatures near a daytime 50 degrees, Miller said, "I've never seen the playground full in January like it was today." Ice skating is planned at Hawthorne Park when the weather turns colder in the coming days. Miller also said police are investigating a break-in at the Hawthorne community center.

Under council comments, Pomeroy thanked Porter residents for supporting him and giving him the opportunity to serve them. He also commended Brueckheimer and her department for clearing trees and underbrush, grading and cleaning the overgrown easements along Wood Street and Mineral Springs Road.



Posted 1/11/2012