The Porter Town Council gave authorization Tuesday to purchase 4.3 acres
needed to build a new Porter Avenue lift station.
The land is located west of the current lift station at the far north end of
Porter Avenue near the Little Calumet River.
The council’s resolution stipulates the final cost of the land can’t exceed
the average of two appraisals performed on its behalf. Councilman Dave
Babcock said the landowner’s initial $50,000 asking price won’t be met.
Babcock inquired if an environmental assessment of the property is needed,
and whether seeking permanent and construction easements instead could speed
up the construction project. Town attorney Greg Sobkowski said whether by
easement or fee-simple title the time frame would be the same.
Porter director of engineering Matt Keiser said the town faces a deadline
with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to complete the
approximately $1.8 million lift station, which is the main trunk line into
Chesterton’s sewage treatment plant.
He also noted a larger parcel than needed is being purchased so the town’s
Public Works Department can use a portion of the site for yard-waste
recycling drop-off as well as to provide public access to the river.
In related news, Keiser said bids will be opened Dec. 21 for the downtown
sewer-reline project with the council likely to award them at the Dec. 27
Bids for trash pick-up and recycling collection were approved 5-0 Tuesday
retaining current provider Able Disposal of Chesterton, a division of
Republic Services, for 2012 through 2014. Babcock said Able’s lower prices
are within pennies of Waste Management’s quote, the only other bidder.
Residents apparently will receive 96-gallon rollcarts for their recyclables.
Babcock asked that the larger recycling containers be approved.
Following the Town of Chesterton’s lead, Porter council members approved
spending not to exceed $1,000 from the CEDIT fund to purchase public
emergency-notification services through Global Connect. Porter police chief
James Spanier brought the request.
He recommended one year only as a trial period. After the initial $977.58
annual fee the second year would be $100 more.
Spanier said the service is capable of making 2 million phone calls in one
minute. Porter needs to establish a policy setting out who can trigger a
town alert and for what reasons. Typically such systems are used to warn the
public of gas leaks, a water boil order, weather emergencies and the like.
Councilman Jon Granat called the service a good idea, saying schools use
such notification for students and parents.
Spanier said the Windows-based system can be programmed with bonus features
like calling out individual employees when needed, or notifying a
neighborhood, a few houses or the whole town of an alert. “I don’t think
there will be a long roll-out at all,” the chief said of implementation.
Responding to a question from resident Jennifer Klug, Spanier said residents
can have their cell phones as well as land lines programmed into the system
and possibly email.
Porter Beach resident Carl Dahlin questioned why and how sand is
disappearing from that area. Porter Public Works superintendent Brenda
Brueckheimer told him, “We haven’t removed any sand from Porter Beach.”
Dahlin said he built up the beach toward the lake but severe weather has
eroded his gains and Johnson Beach road might disappear. Babcock agreed
significant damage has been done and said the answer is putting a breakwall
offshore to stop the wave action.
Sand loss and erosion are something the incoming Town Council will have to
deal with, he added.
Clerk-treasurer Carol Pomeroy thanked Jeanine Biesboer and Janice Clark for
decorating the town hall Christmas tree in a blue/silver theme and for
buying small moving, lighted deer placed around it. Sherrill Newman also was
thanked for the stylish holiday decorations in the outdoor planters, and
Public Works employees for fashioning an outdoor tree made of lights.
Brueckheimer asked motorists not to tailgate, pass or curse snowplow drivers
in bad weather. She also said the amount of trash her department has pulled
from roadside ditches is amazing, and in the spring she hopes to initiate an
Council president Trevin Fowler, defeated at the polls last month, said he
will be absent Dec. 27 but wanted to say it’s been a pleasure and an honor
to serve the town. “I’ve always acted my conscience.” He added that
department heads and others representing the town well serve the public’s
Babcock welcomed the incoming council --- all five members in the audience
Tuesday --- wishing them luck and “get this town shaped up. I know you guys
will do a good job, and I’ll be checking on you."