Chesterton Tribune



Porter Town Council splits again on RDC appointment this time in public

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Just as it did two weeks ago, the Porter Town Council appointed Jeannine Virtue and Joe Simanski to the Redevelopment Commission, only this time it counts.

The Council were notified by Town Attorney Greg Sobkowski that the vote done by ballot at the Jan. 12 meeting was not a valid way to make appointments since it wasn’t disclosed how each Council member voted.

Attorney Laura Frost, who was at the previous meeting instead of Sobkowski, said the board could do a written vote if they wanted to, but it was overlooked that Council members needed to sign their names to their ballots.

“As we found out, we mistakenly used an improper method last time. We will now start fresh,” Council President Greg Stinson told his fellow members.

In Tuesday’s vote, Stinson voted for Virtue and Simanksi. Tim Conroy voted for Pomeroy and Virtue. Erik Wagner voted for Virtue and Simanski. Ross LeBleu voted for Pomeroy and Virtue. William Lopez voted for Simanski and Virtue.

“Now everyone knows how we voted,” Stinson said.

Simanski, Virtue and Pomeroy were all members of the RDC last year. Besides the two Council appointments, the three presidential appoints are Lopez, Wagner and LeBleu.

In other old business, Stinson named Cindy Rojas as the appointment to the Plan Commission. She will be the member filling out Wagner’s term, who had to step down when he joined the Council in January.

New signage coming

Also, the Council agreed to a resolution for an interlocal agreement between communities for the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission’s Unified Trail Wayfinding Guide. Federal aid will be received to install signage on the bike trails that connect communities throughout Northwest Indiana.

The idea is to have signs with the same design so users can easily follow the trail.

“There are plenty of people who travel great distances on these trails,” Stinson commented.

Porter’s part of the trail system is on the Prairie-Duneland Trail, which is connected to the Erie-Lackawanna Trail.

On a similar note, the Council unanimously approved a local match of $10,000 for a $100,000 grant from the Highway Safety Improvement Program, coordinated through the Indiana Department of Transportation.

The grant is for design and implementation of signs, said Porter’s Director of Development Michael Barry, replacing older signs that are no longer compliant with new ones that are.

Numbers policy

At its next meeting, the Council will vote on a policy of when it is required to notify the Indiana State Board of Accounts of any variances, irregularities, shortages, losses or thefts in their accounts.

Sobkowski suggested the materiality threshold be $100, but the Council has the power to set it at a figure it deems appropriate.

The Council favored $100 as the threshold and any two variances per month that add up to more than $100 must also be reported.

Asking Clerk-Treasurer Carol Pomeroy what her input on the policy should be, she said “I don’t know. It’s never happened in the 12 years I’ve been here.”

The resolution states that the Town shall investigate any thefts or discrepancies and “implement measures to prevent such incidences.”

St. Baldrick’s time

“We’re going bald again!” Stinson said before adjourning the meeting. He has agreed to shave his head again in April to raise money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation campaign for pediatric cancer research.

Stinson, who said this will be his fourth year participating in the event, encouraged anyone from the Town to join him in going under the clippers. Wagner said he plans to join in.

The team will be in sponsorship of resident Phoenix Bridegroom who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2011.

Stinson said he aims for the team to raise $7,000 this year, optimistic they can top last year’s total of a little more than $5,000.

He offered this bit of advice to his colleagues, “Grow your hair out between now and April. People are more likely to give you a donation if you need a haircut.”

36 years of service

Meanwhile, Public Works Director Brenda Brueckheimer said Carl Copollo Jr. has set the record of 36 years running as a town employee.

Stinson told Copollo sitting in the audience that he is “the longest serving employee in Porter history.”



Posted 1/27/2016




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