Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Porter taking applications for boards for 2017

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

Residents of Porter are encouraged to get involved in public service by serving on a Town board or commission.

Town Council 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.

Stinson said applicants may contact him by email at gstinson@townofporter.com or Clerk-Treasurer Carol Pomeroy at clerktreasurer@townofporter.com, or by stopping in at the Town Hall, 303 Franklin St.

Sign discussion

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.

Council Attorney 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 ruling.

“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

Assistant Fire 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 firehouse.

The department will be collecting donations for Toys for Tots then and also food for the Food Pantry.

Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors will be available for residents at the open house, Craig said.

Leaf pick-up

Public Works 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 926-4212.

Brueckheimer said she also asks residents to have their cars moved to make it easier for her workers to get to the leaves.

Also, Brueckheimer 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 project.

“I really enjoyed doing it,” said Guzik, who said he had visited the park many times as a child.

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 displayed there.

“We really 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 country.”

Bugajski announced 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.

1st readings

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.

 

 

 

Posted 11/18/2016

 
 
 
 

 

 

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