The Town of Porter
has planned for the impact of COVID-19 on its 2021 budget, according to Eric
Walsh, with the Town’s financial consultant Baker-Tilly.
Walsh reported at
last week’s Town Council meeting that no one can predict the full upcoming
economic impact of COVID-19, but some factors are predictable. The three
main areas of impact will be revenue from income taxes, gasoline taxes, and
Right now, revenue
from gasoline taxes is down five to 10 percent since people haven’t been
driving as much, and that pattern could hold true next year, Walsh said, and
since Indiana income tax is paid a year in arrears, 2021 income tax revenue
is likely to be five to 10 percent lower as well. The impact to other fees,
such as parking and beach permits, could vary, he said.
payments were deferred by a Governor’s executive order, but are coming due
now, and Towns should expect to make-up their losses from delays in the
December distribution, Walsh said. There may be more delinquencies, but
likely nothing worse than what municipalities saw in the 2008 Great
Council member Greg
Stinson also noted the Town’s taken a conservative approach to spending to
build up reserves exactly for a time like this. “Right now, we have very
healthy reserves. We could do additional appropriations in the individual
budget lines for departments in order to cover things without risk,” he
In other financial
business, the Town held a public hearing and first reading of the budget and
a public hearing on a few additional appropriations that were put on hold
earlier this year due to the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders. The funds
were from the Town’s general obligation (GO) bond and had already been
earmarked for sidewalk improvements at Porter Cove Park and the final
payment for the new fire engine. An approximately $5,000 Department of
Natural Resources grant for the Porter Firefighters to buy new bunker gear
was also appropriated so Fire Chief Jay Craig can spend it. No one spoke for
or against the additional appropriations or the budget in public hearings.
approved Craig to ask the Westchester Township Trustee to cover the cost of
maintenance on two ATVs the Trustee’s office paid for in 2011 not to exceed
$5,000. He will also ask the Trustee’s Office to pay for a new
battery-operated pressure ventilation fan to the tune of $5,160 and about
$100 shipping from Alexis Fire Equipment.
Commissioner Michael Barry reported he’s spoken with Carl Dahlin Jr. a few
times about the state of the old Johnson Inn, but hasn’t gotten an
inspection scheduled yet. Dahlin is still required to attend a hearing
before the Board of Zoning Appeals on Sept. 16 regarding the unsafe building
order Barry issued to him.
Barry also reported
he and Public Works Superintendent Sarah Olson have been looking for a dump
truck to replace one that they discovered isn’t worth the cost of repairing
last month. After searching for a good deal on a used truck that would last
at least 10 to 15 years, their recommendation is to purchase a new truck for
$149,876. “After looking for a few weeks, there’s nothing worthwhile that’s
used that would be a good investment of Town money,” Barry said.
The Council voted
to seek an additional appropriation not to exceed $150,000 from the motor
vehicle/highway fund at its next meeting to fund the purchase.
Brian Bugajski reported the Town received 30 trees from NIRPC’s tree
planting program. Parks staff will plant the trees, a mix of native hard
woods such as oaks and poplars, at Hawthorne, Indian Springs, and Porter