By JEFF SCHULTZ
Residents of Porter
are encouraged to get involved in public service by serving on a Town board
President Greg Stinson announced that applications are due on Thursday, Dec.
22 for the following open seats:
-- One seat on the
Advisory Plan Commission. The applicant must not be a registered Republican.
-- One seat on the
Police Commission. Democrats or Republicans may apply.
-- Two citizen
seats on the Redevelopment Commission. Any resident may apply.
-- One seat on the
Stormwater Management Board. Democrats or Republicans may apply.
Also, anyone who is
interested in serving as the Duneland tri-town representative on the Porter
County Convention, Recreation and Visitors Commission is encouraged to
contact the Town, Stinson said, as Lisa Woodrich’s term will be expiring at
the end of this year.
applicants may contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or
Clerk-Treasurer Carol Pomeroy at email@example.com, or by
stopping in at the Town Hall, 303 Franklin St.
In comments from
the floor, resident Jennifer Klug brought up her question addressed at the
Sept. 27 Town Council meeting of whether a change should be made to the
Town’s rules on signs. Klug had a copy of an ordinance adopted over 40 years
ago, Ordinance 522, that allows the Town to collect a deposit of $25 from a
resident who wishes to put up a political sign within 30 days of an
election. The sign is to then be taken down 10 days after an election and
the town is to issue a refund of the money.
Pomeroy said the
Town still does this to make sure political signs are taken down in a timely
manner and always returns the money once the citizen complies.
Klug then referred
to a section of the town code that conflicts with Ordinance 522 that
identifies political signs as temporary signs. That section says that
candidates are responsible for taking down those signs within five days
after the election and does not mention a fee.
On Tuesday, Klug
also presented a news article that reported attorneys for Lake County say
that prohibiting placement of political signs 30 days before an election is
now unconstitutional under a new Supreme Court decision that states that
signs cannot be regulated based on content in the right to free speech. The
attorneys said that political signs can be put up anytime someone chooses.
There was also a
news article from Bedford, Ind., stating the American Civil Liberties Union
is suing city officials on behalf of a resident saying their ordinance
“infringes” on political expression.
Greg Sobkowski said he has researched the decision of Reed v. the Town of
Gilbert and it is a fact that towns cannot limit signs based on content. He
recommended that the Council make revisions in the town’s code based on the
“Let’s get aligned
with the law,” Stinson agreed.
Town Director of
Development Michael Barry commented that the Town allows for signs as long
as they are not posted in public right-of-ways or on telephone poles.
A Bird Town?
In other comments
from the audience, resident and birding enthusiast Kim Ehn said she would
like to help make Porter become a certified Indiana Bird Town by the Indiana
Audubon Society. She had submitted paperwork to the board for an
application. The effort has been supported by agencies like the County
Tourism Bureau, she said.
The town can be
certified within a three-year period, Ehn said.
FD Open House
Chief Jay Craig invited the community to attend the Fire Department’s annual
Christmas Open House on Sunday, Dec. 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the
The department will
be collecting donations for Toys for Tots then and also food for the Food
Carbon monoxide and
smoke detectors will be available for residents at the open house, Craig
Director Brenda Brueckheimer said her department will keep on picking up
leaves until the first snowfall of the season. Residents wanting to know
what their pick-up days are should contact the Public Works Department at
she also asks residents to have their cars moved to make it easier for her
workers to get to the leaves.
informed the Council that 15 sugar maple trees have been planted along
Waverly Rd. and Franklin St. by Dogwood Tree Farm of Middlebury, Ind., made
possible with a grant from NIPSCO.
Eagle Scout project
Praise and a plaque
was given to Eagle Scout Josh Guzek by Parks Director Brian Bugajski for
removing old playground equipment from Porter Cove Park as his scout
“I really enjoyed
doing it,” said Guzik, who said he had visited the park many times as a
Craig said another
Eagle Scout will be helping the fire department make improvements to the
flag pole area at the station and do some restoration work on the cannon
appreciate the Eagle Scouts who donate their time to our town,” said Stinson
thanking the scouts. “It makes you feel better about what’s going on in the
that there will be a volunteer appreciation event at Hawthorne Park this
Sunday from 2 to 3 p.m. The two new bottle-cap benches acquired with help
from the local Brownie Girl Scout troop will be presented.
During the business
portion of the meeting, the Council held first reading on two ordinances and
set them for second reading and action at its Dec. 13 meeting.
The first is an
ordinance to increase the monthly stormwater management user fee from $4 to
$6 effective Jan. 1.
The second is to
increase the rate for trash pickup to $14.98 in 2017 and $15.58 in 2018 for
each residential unit as stated in the current three-year contract with
Republic Services of Indiana. The rate for 2016 is $14.40.