Not only did the Porter Town Council standardize its sanitary sewer rates
for residential customers on final reading Tuesday.
Council members also voted to waive back billings for the affected
residential households --- charges that totalled $1,300 each in some cases.
The rate fix now designates 1-inch water meters as residential; under the
previous ordinance only 5/8 and 3/4-inch meters were so classified. The
shift will save homes with 1-inch meters about $25 a month on their base
A problem arose two months ago when it was learned residential customers
with 1-inch water meters had not been charged the higher commercial rate for
some time. The overdue amounts were billed and those customers were told to
propose a payment schedule to settle the debt.
A few commercial customers also were hit with back-billed sewer charges,
including $3,972 for Hageman Library in Porter.
Last night, commercial back-billings were not waived because town attorney
Gregg Sobkowski said the Indiana State Board of Accounts will allow all or a
portion of only residential back-billings to be forgiven.
Council member Dave Wodrich said it seems fair to waive the residential
back-billings since just the residential meter charge was changed in the
Vote to waive was 3-0 with members Jeannine Virtue, Rob Pomeroy and Wodrich
in favor. Greg Stinson and Elka Nelson were absent. A public hearing
preceded the council discussion. Kenny Harris said he favors the sewer-rate
change and thanked the council for making the adjustment; no one spoke in
Klein rezoning passed
In other business, the council voted 3-0 to rezone from Residential-1 to
Professional Business three parcels totalling 1.74 acres at 1190 N. State
Road 49. Petitioner is Mary Klein, who previously operated medical offices
She also is selling an additional 1.83 acres that arenít being rezoned at
this time. Hospice of the Calumet Area has expressed an interest in
acquiring both tracts to open administrative offices here. Last month the
Porter Plan Commission conducted a public hearing and forwarded a favorable
recommendation on the rezone.
A second public hearing was conducted by the council Tuesday but no one
commented on appropriating $15,000 to the Park Department. The Porter
Redevelopment Commission pays the parks on a contractual basis for
maintaining town hike/bike trails. All but $2,000 of the $15,000 will be
used for personal services.
In other business, a unanimous vote authorized town building
commissioner/director of development Mike Barry to purchase from the lowest
most responsive and responsible bidder an upgraded back-up generator for the
Police chief James Spanier said he has three proposals submitted, but two
companies quoted maximum 30 kilowatt models and the other a 35 kilowatt
unit. The current generator is 18 kilowatt and Spanier said itís undersized
so he perfers not waiting two weeks for a council decision.
Submitting proposals were Ellis Electric, NWI Generator and Mikeís Electric.
Quoted prices ranging from $21,925 to $14,935 do not include NIPSCO fees and
permits. Virtue, who chaired the meeting in Nelsonís absence, said the
council doesnít question the need for a larger generator but wants Barry to
get a better handle on the size needed first.
Porter trail, park updates
During his activity report Barry said he and Porter park director Brian
Bugajski recently participated in shooting a Porter County tourism video
highlighting town hike/bike trails and attractions. As for the Orchard
Pedestrian Way trail now under construction, sod still needs to be installed
and a final course of asphalt will be laid if the weather remains at two
consecutive days of 40 degrees or higher.
Long-delayed final work on the Brickyard Trail now wonít be done until next
At fire chief Lewis Craig Sr.ís request the council OKíd clerk-treasurer
Carol Pomeroy releasing funds to give the volunteer firefighters their
annual compensation later this month. Payment is spelled out in a contract
between the separate volunteer fire association and the town.
Pomeroy asked and the council agreed to reschedule the Dec. 24 council
meeting to Dec. 30 at 5:30 p.m.
Bugajski said the Park Departmentís annual children"s Halloween Boo Bash was
a success and he thanked all volunteers who helped and sponsors Starbucks of
Valparaiso, Family Express, Costco and Strack & Van Til for their donations.
The park is planning a Nov. 24 volunteer appreciation luncheon at the
Hawthorne community center; deadline to RSVP is Nov. 18 and volunteers not
already contacted also are invited and asked to indicate if they will
Bugajski urged residents to complete a survey seeking suggestions to update
the parkís five-year master plan. Surveys are available at the town hall,
the parkís Facebook page and Hageman Library.
It was announced 17 GPS locator signs have been installed in Porter parks
with 16 more to be installed, some along town bike trails. Once the
locations are uploaded to the Porter County 911 database, said Bugajski,
emergency personnel will be able to respond to calls more quickly.
The Town Council also approved the Oct. 15 minutes of the Porter Park Board,
which was disbanded by the council Oct. 22.
Bugajski vouched for the accuracy of the minutes.