Chesterton Tribune


Porter hires Umbaugh to find savings; new revenue sources also to be explored

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The Porter Town Council entered into a financial services contract Tuesday with Umbaugh & Associates to conduct studies aimed at identifying cost containment and potential revenue streams.

Council member Greg Stinson said in light of Indiana’s property-tax circuit breaker and other factors that lead to declining revenue, the town can use a fresh set of eyes to look at the situation.

“At the end of the day it will be very helpful to have an analysis,” he noted.

Porter’s financial advisor has been Cender & Company, which will continue as a consultant, Stinson said, but Umbaugh will be engaged on an hourly basis to do the cost/revenue studies. After the meeting he indicated they can be done department by department after first obtaining estimates to control spending on the project.

Also Tuesday, the council introduced but delayed final action until Feb. 26 on ordinance changes dealing with annual Porter Beach parking permits. They go on sale at the town hall March 1.

A slight increase in fees is planned but not for senior citizens. A new subsection of the ordinance addresses lost permits and how to transfer a permit if the holder purchases a different vehicle after first obtaining a permit for another. Council president Elka Nelson emphasized the permit applicant’s legal address on both a driver’s license and vehicle registration must match and specifically say Porter, not Chesterton.

A second ordinance also had first reading and is slated for Feb. 26 adoption. It would expand the Porter Park Board to five members, the new member to be named by the Duneland School Board.

The council voted 4-0 with member Rob Pomeroy absent to reappoint School Board member Ron Stone to the Porter Redevelopment Commission. State law provides for such appointments as non-voting RDC members; RDCs help establish tax-increment financing or TIF districts that can divert future revenue from schools.

New Porter director of parks Brian Bugajski was introduced. The Park Department recently changed its organizational structure and expanded responsibilities for the new job. Council liaison Jeannine Virtue told him, “It’s a huge position and we’re looking forward to see what you do with it.”

Bugajski announced dates for upcoming park festivals/events and said it appears with the warm-up ahead this week, the Hawthorne Park ice skating rink will close for the winter after being skateable for only a few days this season.

In other business the council:

• Agreed to lower the speed limit from 40 mph to 30 mph on Tremont Road between Indiana 49 and U.S. 20. That section will be rebuilt and widened this year. Police chief James Spanier recommended 30 mph. Director of Development Michael Barry said it’s anticipated some motorists will exceed 40 mph on the new roadway if the limit isn’t lowered.

• A general-services contract was approved with consultant SEH for 2013. The firm is involved in Porter’s Gateway to the Indiana Dunes project; rebuilding Tremont Road is part of that to encourage development on either side.

• Nelson announced the tri-town Indiana Dunes State Park lakefront fireworks observing Independence Day will take place July 2. She said the town wanted to move the event farther away from July 4 to ease the strain on Porter police, firefighters and Public Works employees. Porter has a July 4 fesitval in Hawthorne Park.

• Pending confirmation of insurance, Spanier presented and the Porter council approved a June 23 parade permit for the Foundation for Molecular Medicine. The group will proceed down Waverly Road north to the State Park. Spanier said Waverly will be closed during brief periods as the parade passes by an area.

• Assistant Porter fire chief Jay Craig acknowledged the donation by Westchester Township of an approximately $3,000 multi-purpose specialty saw put into service Monday by the department. He also said firefighters responded to 41 calls in January, 10 of them mutual aid, one a fire in Dune Acres, and one each for search and dive team call-outs.



Posted 2/13/2013