A projection of the
Town of Porter’s finances from now until 2016 showed there is hope to keep a
cash balance in the general fund.
Eric Welsh, manager
with H.J. Umbaugh & Associates, returned to the Porter Town Council Tuesday
after having warned last fall that the balance in the general fund had
dropped to an estimated $75,000 at the end of 2013, a reduction of about
To relieve the
pressure on this year’s budget, the town increased its trash fee and
transferred $200,000 of its CEDIT fund to support the general fund for this
If nothing is done
to relieve the general fund further this year, the Council could be looking
at having to cut it by 20 percent for 2015, Walsh said. But there are ways
money from other budgets running with healthy balances can be moved to the
general fund, he said.
Greg Stinson said it is the board’s hope to reduce the 20 percent cut to
about 7 to 8 percent, or about $100,000. He said the Council will look to
avoid slashing personnel, especially for the police department.
Walsh said the town
can expect a $72,000 growth in CEDIT this year and a little over 2 percent
in the growth for the tax levy for 2015.
Porter Police Chief
Jaime Spanier asked what the impact to CEDIT would be once Lake County
starts its own COIT income tax. Walsh said he did not have that figured but
what concerns him more is the Indiana Legislature’s cut to the business
personal property tax, which is still being debated by state officials.
Shifting the tax to
homeowners and landlords would drive up tax rates and push the town towards
its circuit breaker tax caps, Walsh said. “It’s nothing you guys can
local roads and street budget is looking healthy with a balance to cover two
years or more, Walsh said. The town could transfer part of that to its Motor
Vehicle Highway fund, he said.
A transfer of
$10,000 can be made to the general fund from revenue in the park budget.
Stinson said there may be ways for the parks to generate more revenue from
Walsh said that
Porter could also get its CCD rate back up to about 4 cents from 3 cents,
bringing in about $20,000 in additional revenue.
The CCD is funded
by a property tax. Walsh said a house with a $100,000 value would pay less
than $10 per year additional tax.
Brickyard Trail to
In a different
matter, Porter Director of Development Michael Berry announced the town
received approval from the Indiana Department of Transportation to finish
the remaining portion of the Brickyard Trail.
A final meeting
with INDOT officials will take place next week, Berry said, and work should
wrap up in two weeks at the end of the footbridge crossing over U.S. 20 at
the corner of Howe Rd. The town was able to acquire the land last fall. The
town has continually formed the trail piece by piece starting in 2000.
“We’ve all been
working a long time to get that done,” Berry said.
Also, Berry said he
and Council member Elka Nelson were at Fort Harrison State Park in
Indianapolis earlier on Tuesday where they received a plaque from State Park
officials for the town’s work on marketing and promoting the Dunes-Kankakee
Trail. The Trail officially broke ground last year near the entrance of
Dunes State Park.
Indiana Dunes Park Manager Brandt Baughman for making the nomination and to
Porter County Tourism Bureau Director Lorelei Weimer for helping the town
promote the trail.
“It’s really nice
to receive this award. Everybody who worked on this project deserves a round
of applause,” Berry said.
unanimously approved 5-0 a recommendation by Spainer to accept a bid from
Webb Ford in Highland for two 2014 Ford Utility Explorer vehicles.
Webb Ford presented
the lowest among three bids at $68,098 after trade-ins were included. The
amount was $9,000 less than what the town had budgeted, Spanier said.
Spanier also spoke
of sharing the costs of the reverse 911 notification system with the Town of
Chesterton. He said the costs would have to be paid up front for the next
three years but will be less than $2,000.
Stinson said the
move seemed “logical” because the system would give accurate numbers. The
town in late January approved a MOU with Chesterton to consolidate their 911
Two more purchases
were made to comply with mandatory regulations by the Indiana Department of
One was for a
portable lift pump system from Flow Techniques, which presented a bid of
The other was for
engineering and design to make 11 town lift stations connectable to the lift
pump. The Council approved $17,000 for the engineering work and $2,500 for
the bidding process to follow.
Both items were
paid for out of the town’s sewer utility fund.