Chesterton Tribune



Porter named 8th safest town in state, Council credits police, citizens

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The latest list of the 20 safest cities and towns in Indiana by the home security company SafeWise ranks Porter at number eight.

Porter Town Council Greg Stinson on Tuesday said the town jumped from the 17th safest town last year and commended Police Chief Jamie Spanier and his force for their dedication. Spanier said the honor should be shared with the residents.

“Thank you very much for that but I would like to thank our citizens because they are the ones that help us do our job and we have no complaints in the Duneland area. Our citizens are great,” Spanier told the Council members.

The list, released by SafeWise on Monday, rates towns and cities based on 2015 FBI Crime Report statistics and population. Porter had .61 violent crimes and 10.23 property crimes per 1,000 in population, according of SafeWise.

“You hear so many problems going on around the community and the police around the country. Here, at least, our residents and police work together,” said Stinson.

Claiming the 13th spot on the list was Chesterton while Valparaiso was named the 17th safest community, also up from last year.

Topping the list for the second year in a row was Ligonier in Noble County.

4th of July

Safety was a recurring topic throughout reports during the Council meeting with many 4th of July holiday celebrations happening over the past two weeks. Spanier said the Lakefront Fireworks show was easier to patrol this year without having buses.

Porter Assistant Fire Chief Jay Craig said between June 29 and July 4, the PFD responded to 19 calls, as well as “other small things.”

“With two parades and three fireworks shows, we had a very busy holiday weekend,” Craig said.

Stinson applauded police and fire for keeping everyone safe and the Parks Department and the Duneland Business Initiative Group for running a successful festival at Hawthorne Park.

“I was amazed by 9:30 that the park was still clean. Everyone did a real nice job,” Stinson said.

“It was the best weekend. It was fantastic,” agreed Council member Ross LeBleu.

Public works

Good news continued with Public Works Director Brenda Brueckheimer announcing that the Town received its final termination on its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.

“We are no longer under the reorder,” Brueckheimer said, adding that the final inspections in June went well at Triangle Trail and Porter Avenue. “We have the final termination and closeout which is good and we’re moving forward.”

Brueckheimer said the Town is under law to follow standards in maintenance of the stormwater system and is a user of the Chesterton wastewater treatment plant.

Also in her report, Brueckheimer said she has been getting phone calls from residents passing on compliments for how the Town handled the MS4 Kids Fishing Derby at Indian Springs Park and the Summer Safety Fest last month.

The Public Works Department will also be acquiring on Friday the Freightliner Plow Truck that the Council agreed to purchase at last month’s meeting for $150,000 in rainy day funds.

Meanwhile, the Council voted 4-0 to approvePublic Works employee Sarah Olson’s request to roll her vacation time over to next year. Stinson said that due to “extraordinary circumstances” and taking duties over for Brueckheimer, she is not able to use her vacation days before her anniversary date in August. Town Attorney Greg Sobkowski said the law allows for Town Councils to make such a move depending on circumstances.

Change order for paving

In other business, the Council approved a change order for the $1.3 million bid it awarded to Town and Country Construction.

Presented by Director of Development Michael Barry, the change order drops the costs by $560,279 to exactly $760,000. Barry worked to get a change order so paving work could be done this year with the $802,000 allocated in the Local Road and Bridge grant.

The change order removes from the 2017 paving list West Oak Hill Rd., East Hjelm Rd. and roads in Dune Meadows and Wagner Hills.

Barry said Town and Country will start paving in about two weeks.

Land appraisal

Barry said that a new appraisal has come in for the former Porter Avenue lift station property that abuts the Little Calumet River and this time the price is what he was expecting.

An initial appraisal was done three months ago which valued the one-acre parcel at $22,000. Barry said the lot is not buildable and he felt that figure was too high. He then asked an appraisal be done based on the sale of an adjacent property. It appraised the value at $4,500. “That makes a lot more sense,” Barry told the Council. He said he would talk to Sobkowski about a sale to a neighbor who is interested in purchasing it.

Tap on fee

The Council also approved a request by Barry to allow a resident on Bielawski Dr. to spread out payments of a tap on fee into the Town’s sewer system, of $3,000, over twelve months.

Barry said the homeowner’s septic has failed and they need to tie into the sewer. To run the line to the sewer would be $12,000, before the $3,000 fee, he said.

“It’s a unique situation and a financial hardship for her. This will help with her burden,” Barry told the Council.

Absent Tuesday was Town Council member Brian Finley.


Posted 7/13/2017





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