The Porter Town Council is taking a new approach in hopes of cleaning up a
home at First and Main streets north of Hjelm Road where two years ago the
owner had an estimated 100 cats.
The consensus Tuesday was to work with the Porter County Health Department,
which recently determined the home’s hot water heater, furnace and well need
replacing, and to verify if the property was the subject of a recent
Council member Michele Bollinger, reporting for absent building commissioner
Art Elwood, said he did a recent site visit with the Health Department and
took pictures of conditions found in the home. She noted a petition was
received from neighbors indicating how the smell coming from the cat house
Town attorney Greg Sobkowski said since Elwood already has issued citations,
the town could pursue compliance and collection of a fine, or contact the
owner’s mortgage company to alert them of the risk to their security
If the town issues a building-standards order to bring the home into
compliance and it isn’t, added Sobkowski, Porter could have to pay for the
work including demolition and seek to recoup the funds later.
Problems started in 2009 when officials entered the home ridden with cat
feces and found what were described as deplorable conditions. July, 2010
Elwood told the council about 70 cats were still living there, and that the
owner had been found competent after evaluation.
At that time it was stated the town could take the matter to court, and that
Porter town code limits the number of approved animals allowed in a
Residential zone to six.
Cut now or cut
On the recommendation of Clerk-treasurer Carol Pomeroy after conferring with
town financial consultant Karl Cender, the council approved under suspension
of the rules reducing the current appropriations available to spend by
Pomeroy said more money was lost this year than anticipated due to
implementation of Indiana’s circuit -breaker property tax legislation, and
it’s not known how much will be lost next year so trying to plan 15 months
ahead is risky. Town budgets can take the deductions now so it’s better not
to wait, she advised.
Trimmed was $54,604 from the Town Hall budget and $63,976 from the Police
budget or a total $118,580 from the General Fund. Also, $38,243 from Motor
Vehicle/Highway; $17,803 from the Fire Fund; $9,469 from the Park Fund; and
$9,753 from the Cumulative Capital Development Fund.
Vote was 4-0 to make the reductions with member Todd Martin absent.
The town is anticipating receipt of its second 2011 property tax
distribution later this year. As long as the cash is available, the council
agreed to allow Pomeroy to pay the town’s volunteer firefighters their
annual compensation in early November instead of December pending review of
fire chief Lewis Craig Sr.’s accounting prior to the Nov. 10 payroll.
Pomeroy also announced the Nov. 8 Town Council meeting has been canceled
because the town hall will be used as an election polling place that day.
She said the town hall will be closed Nov. 11 for Veterans Day, so anyone
with a scheduled Nov. 8 or 9 sewer shut-off needs to pay before those dates.
fire chief Jay Craig said his department responded to 46 calls in September,
the largest percentage at 21 being medical assists; there were six vehicle
accidents. Firefighters spent 35 hours and 34 minutes on emergency calls
with an average 5.7 firefighters responding per call. Porter gave mutual aid
to other departments six times last month and received mutual aid three
president Trevin Fowler said the volunteers deserve recognition because 20
of the 46 calls occurred during the 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. day shift and 16 in the
afternoons. Ten calls came in during the midnight shift.
Jay Craig said
Lt. Jason Bogue was named Porter Firefighter of the Month in September, that
Engineer Mitch Louthan helped coordinate recent fire-prevention programs for
hundreds of students at Yost Elementary and Discovery Charter Schools, and
that the Porter Ladies Reserves deserve thanks for bringing food and water,
some of it donated, to firefighters at call-out locations.
commended Chesterton fire chief Mike Orlich and his department for
coordinating the fire-related honors for the late Army Spc. James Butz, a
former Porter firefighter who lost his life while on duty in Afghanistan.
Chesterton Police Sgt. Chris Swickard was thanked for coordinating the
emergency-services honor guard.
• Porter police
chief James Spanier urged motorists to use caution Oct. 31 with children on
the streets for Halloween. He also said all Porter officers participating
passed an Emergency Vehicle Operations Course, and that the Police
Commission will conduct a 5 p.m. Nov. 7 workshop to review department rules
• Public Works
superintendent Brenda Brueckheimer said leaf collection is behind due to
pick-ups from last week’s windstorm but workers are catching up with the
• Director of
engineering Matt Keiser said the process of land acquisition for the new
Porter Avenue lift station can begin, and that the stationary pumps for the
upgraded 6 Box Lane lift station were wired and will be started this week.
• Park Board
president Rondi Wightman said the town Park and Fire department each likely
will receive several thousand dollars in donations from the recent Porter’s
Perfect Pint fundraiser. She noted Sunday’s park Boo Bash children’s
Halloween party had over 300 people attending.
• The council
voted 4-0 to maintain the town’s liability insurance through the Anton
agency at an approximate $6,000 savings.