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The Porter Town Council approved purchase of two new police vehicles Tuesday, and one will be equipped with a $14,775 system to spot stolen vehicles.

The camera-based License Plate Recognition package constantly runs plates looking for stolen cars and wanted subjects, then alerts officers with pictures and advises which direction the vehicle is traveling, according to Porter police chief James Spanier.

He told the council the LPR system can run 100 plates per minute and will be installed on a new 2011 Dodge Charger patrol car to be purchased from Thomas Dodge for $22,782.

Also approved was the purchase of a $27,7734 Ford Escape Hybrid from Lake Shore Ford as a detective vehicle; Spanier said the flex-fuel option will save money as the cost of gasoline continues to climb. An additional $4,200 equipment package will be added.

In both cases the car vendor chosen submitted the lowest price of three quotes obtained. Spanier said Porterís application for federal grant money to purchase at least two additional hybrid vehicles is pending.

Earlier Tuesday, Porter Public Works director Brenda Brueckheimer sought and was given $25,000 from the town Redevelopment Commission toward the purchase of three electronic, portable message boards from low bidder Ver-Mac.

Public Works and the Police Department will fund the balance of the not-to-exceed $40,000 cost, she said, but any department could use the signs if available.

Brueckheimer said with the many road/sewer projects undertaken by Porter and its numerous events that take place, the signs can convey valuable information to motorists and the public as well as increase safety for town workers on the job.

She noted how the message boards currently are being used in Chesterton to divert traffic around the downtown road closures.

Also Tuesday, Brueckheimer told Porter officials the recent Waverly Road culvert replacement went well with the help of other town departments to maintain public access to Porter Beach. Downtown residents and business owners also were thanked for their patience during the manhole replacement project.

Porter director of engineering Matt Keiser said all manholes are installed and road restoration is in progress. With the nearly $300,000 project wrapping up, bids now will be solicited to reline downtown sanitary sewers this summer. The upgrades are being funded with $5 million in bonds issued last year.

In other business, the Town Council welcomed an offer from resident Tony Davern, 14, of Troop 998 to install 37 bike racks around Porter as his Eagle Scout project. The racks were delivered last fall through a 100 percent grant award. Pending final Scouting approval, Davern and volunteers would have the racks installed this spring; those interested in helping can contact the town hall.

Park director Jim Miller reminded residents the annual Porter Easter Egg Hunt will start sharply at 1 p.m. Saturday at Hawthorne Park for ages 1 through 9. The Easter Bunny will attend and refreshments will be served.

Voting 5-0 the Town Council granted a permit for State Park Little League to conduct a parade April 29 at 4:45 p.m. to start its baseball/ softball season.

Brueckheimer said spring clean-up is going well and residents can call Public Works to arrange pick-up of separated yard waste.


Posted 4/13/2011




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