The Porter Town
Council passed an ordinance raising pay for Public Works employees at its
gives Porter Public Works employees a raise of $1 to $2 per hour effective
July 5, depending on position. The purpose of the raise was to retain good
employees and make open positions more attractive to applicants, according
to Council President Bill Lopez and Building Commissioner Michael Barry.
Barry said the
money for the raises is available in the Public Works budget for this year,
and likely will be next year as well, depending on staffing.
In other business,
the Council also passed ordinance 2020-09, amending the employee handbook
concerning vacation time. Lopez said the change allows new police department
hires to keep vacation time accumulated at their previous departments, which
can help attract more experienced officers to the PPD.
The Council also
passed a resolution allowing department heads to make certain purchases
without the approval of the entire Town Council. The resolution releases
department heads from the requirement in state law of having to solicit
three quotes for such purchases, as state law allows for localities to adopt
their own streamlined processes for small purchases, according to Town
Attorney Greg Sobkowski.
can now make purchases under $10,000 without approval, though Council
members noted department heads always talk to their Council liaisons about
purchases anyway, and that isn’t likely to change. Department heads must get
the approval of the Town Council President for purchases between $10,000 and
$50,000. Department heads will continue to solicit three quotes for
purchases over $50,000, and such purchases will be subject to a vote of the
resident and Plan Commission member Rob Albrecht-Mallinger noted during the
public comment portion of the meeting that the Porter Beach homeowner’s
association wanted to commend Police Chief Jamie Spanier and his officers
for their work on beach traffic and rowdy visitors.
“The situation is
significantly better,” Albrecht-Mallinger said. “Thank you very much.”
“I’d like to thank
the Council,” Spanier said, “because the reason it’s better is every Friday
and Saturday, we have two extra guys.” After an influx of visitors from
Illinois, where beaches are closed due to COVID-19, worsened long-standing
issues at the beach, the Council approved Spanier to spend more than he’s
budgeted for on overtime. “Without that we wouldn’t be able to do what we’re
doing,” Spanier said. The extra overtime pay has been costing the Town about
$1,500 a week, he reported, and it may continue all summer.
business, Spanier reported INDOT has communicated they are willing to put up
‘No Parking’ and ‘No U-Turn’ signs in problem areas along Ind. 49, U.S. 12,
and U.S. 20. Disobeying the signs will be a towable offense, he said. “We’re
really busy. We can’t guarantee we’ll get everybody, but now we’ll have
something we can do,” Spanier added.
approved Spanier and PPD Captain John Lane carrying over a week of vacation
to next year. Spanier noted it has been difficult to get time off with the
recent beach issues.
The Council also
approved Barry to go out for quotes for sidewalk repairs of various problem
areas around Town, including in front of the Town Hall, next to the Police
Station, and a landing at Hawthorne Park. Parks Director Brian Bugajski is
also planning sidewalk work at Kids Cove Park, to be paid for from the
$830,000 General Obligation (GO) bond the Town secured for park improvements
and a new fire truck last year, Barry said.
Barry also gave a
paving update. The Hunter’s Glen subdivision and the subdivision north of it
have been paved, though restoration such as roadside seeding and regrading
is yet to be finished. Stephens, Sievert, and Hokanson are paved, but
require some shoulder work. Paving on Cedar, Ash, and Birch has been
postponed because Barry’s hoping to relocate a gas line first.