Chesterton Tribune



Town of Porter doing well building cash reserves

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The Porter Town Council heard an update from its financial consultant, Umbaugh, at its meeting last week.

Umbaugh Consultant Eric Walsh said Porter is doing so well, they may not need him soon.

The Town has been working with Umbaugh to build its cash reserves with an eye toward long-term planning for several years now. Walsh reported the strategy has been to keep increasing costs incrementally, if they have to be increased at all, and closely monitoring capital expenses to create a balanced budget each year.

The result is Porter now carries 50 percent or greater operating balances in all of its funds besides the general fund, which is carrying about 40 percent, according to Walsh. The operating balance is cash left over after all expenses have been paid for the year.

Walsh said the Town also used to transfer about $200,000 from CEDIT to the general fund each year, but has since cut down significantly--almost by half-- on using CEDIT to bolster the general fund.

Since 2013, Porter has seen a 240 percent increase in cash reserves held in its general fund for a net increase of approximately $688,000. “That’s pretty phenomenal,” Walsh said. Across all funds, the increase sits at 60 percent.

Walsh said the Town has accomplished this while still paving almost every road in Town over the past few years and without any funds suffering. “I think that’s the result of the Town Council, Clerk-Treasurer, and department heads keeping spending in check,” he said.

In other business, the Council adopted the 2020 budget ordinance and tabled a planned second reading of ordinance 2019-12, amending the language surrounding the Town’s Republic Services contract. The matter had to be tabled because the Council needs to advertise for and hold a public hearing on ordinance 2019-12 at its next meeting on Oct. 24. The Republic contract hasn’t changed, rather a 50 cent increase for the 2020 collection fee that was part of the original contract needs to be updated in the ordinance.


The Council approved Building Commissioner Michael Barry to solicit quotes for chopper pumps at the lift station in the Woodlake Springs subdivision after one of the two three-horsepower pumps failed. Barry wants to upgrade to chopper pumps, which cut up materials that shouldn’t be discarded in the sewer system, because there are ongoing issues in Woodlake Springs with residents using the sewer system to dispose of things improperly.

Barry also reported paving has started, and quotes are back for sidewalk repairs in Hunter’s Glen and on Rankine. One quote, from Advanced Concrete in Lake Station, was rejected for an incomplete proposal. The council approved the one low, responsive quote--Valparaiso-based American Concrete will do the work for $8,810.

Police Chief Jamie Spanier reported Trick-or-Treat in the Town of Porter will be 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Halloween, Thursday, Oct. 31.

Parks Director Brian Bugajski reported the newly paved basketball court at Hawthorne Park will be painted this week, weather permitting.

Fire Chief Jay Craig reported Liam Oberlander is October Firefighter of the Month.

Council Comments

It’s that time of year again--Council President Greg Stinson is going bald for cancer research, and he’s setting up a Porter for Phoenix St. Baldrick’s team as usual. Town employees wanting to participate in the fundraising and Nov. 2 event should email him.

Councilmen Brian Finley and Ross LeBleu also wished Bugajski and Craig luck at the Perfect Pint Fundraiser which was held this past weekend.



Posted 10/14/2019




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