The Porter Town
Council conducted first readings of two ordinances at its meeting Tuesday
night, one of which concerns a pay raise for Public Works employees.
Bill Lopez conducted first reading of ordinance 2020-08, an amendment to the
salary ordinance that would give employees at Public Works a raise of $1 to
$2 per hour, depending on position. Lopez then suggested the Council suspend
its rules to conduct second reading and adopt the changes in the same night.
Lopez said the
purpose of the raise is to retain employees at Public Works and make
Porter’s pay more competitive with nearby communities. Council member Greg
Stinson asked the reasoning behind suspending the rules, since the amendment
concerns taxpayer funds.
Commissioner Michael Barry said he considers the issue time sensitive
because Public Works has recently lost an employee and another has
considered leaving. Money for the raises is available in the Public Works
budget, Barry said. “We’re already short-staffed as it is, so I don’t want
to lose another person,” he added.
The motion to
suspend failed 3 to 1 when Stinson voted against it. A vote to suspend the
rules must be unanimous, according to Town Attorney Greg Sobkowski. Stinson
said he voted against because he prefers not to rush the process of
decisions regarding taxpayer money.
ordinance, 2020-09, concerned proposed amendments to employee vacation time.
There will be a second reading for both ordinances at the Council’s next
Police Chief Jamie
Spanier reported issues at the beaches continue, but he hopes they’ll get
better soon. “In addition to our traffic woes, people are starting to cause
problems,” Spanier said. “We’ve had to respond to disturbances,
fights--almost all of them are in the state park. It’s doubly taxing when
we’ve got stuff going on besides traffic.”
“We’d like to thank
the State Police,” Spanier said. The State Police presence at Porter Beach
has been helping a lot, he said, and Porter Beach isn’t seeing the same
disturbances the State Park has. Lopez and Phillips both thanked the PPD for
their hard work.
business, Porter resident Jennifer Klug suggested Duneland beaches should
close in the interest of safety against COVID-19 after locals have observed
an apparent influx of Illinois visitors. Chicago beaches remain closed in
city-wide COVID-19 precautions.
“I want to thank
Jamie and the Police Department for working their behinds off this weekend
and every weekend,” Council Vice-president Phillips said. Phillips also
noted he tested the route up to the Porter Beach during a recent weekday,
and PPD officers were directing traffic to make things run smoothly.
Stinson, the former Council President, for serving a combined seven years as
President. Stinson announced he was stepping down from that role and Lopez
was elected to replace him at the June 9 meeting.
Appointment to TIF
Allison Hultman to the Porter Redevelopment Commission. The Redevelopment
Commission, sometimes called a TIF board, manages Tax Increment Financing (TIF)
funds and the declaration of TIF areas and can grant economic incentives
such as tax abatements to promote development in Town.
Lopez thanked all
those who applied for the seat. He reported six or seven people applied.