All Porter residents can expect a test phone call next week from the town’s
new reverse 911 emergency alert system.
Police chief James Spanier told the Town Council that following the initial
test, beginning May 4 residents can contact the Police Department to add a
cell phone contact number or to opt out of the notification program
“It’s a great system. We can do town-wide or certain sections,” Spanier told
the council. Since it is a Windows-based system, he added, dispatchers can
customize the areas to receive specific news or instructions by the click of
a computer mouse.
When the Global Connect service was approved in December for a one-year
trial period, Spanier said a policy will be in place on who can trigger a
town alert and for what reasons. Typically such systems are used to warn the
public of gas leaks, a boil order, a recommendation to lock their doors or
an emergency weather notice.
The system is capable of making up to 2 million phone calls in one minute.
The Town Council voted 4-0 Tuesday with member Bill Cantrell absent to award
the bid for a replacement Porter Avenue lift station and force main to the
Chesterton sewage treatment plant to Grimmer Construction of Highland.
Contract price is $1,361,093. The original engineer’s estimate was
approximately $1.8 million.
An alternate to include a permanent emergency bypass pump was not accepted.
Grimmer’s bid award is subject to the acquisition of two easements needed
for the project. Construction can take up to 330 days once notice to proceed
Grimmer’s was the lowest of seven bids received April 10. The bid of H&G
Underground of LaPorte was just $3,760 more than Grimmer’s.
Other companies bidding on the base contract were LGS Plumbing of Crown
Point at $1,641,149; Gough Inc. of Merrillville at $1,425,516; Woodruff &
Sons of Michigan City at $1,471,699; deBoer Egolf of Portage at $1,521,719;
and Rex Construction Co. of Schererville at $1,653,694.
The new lift station and force main are part of Porter’s $5 million sewer
upgrade tied to an agreed order with the Indiana Department of Environmental
Management. A $2.3 million reline of downtown Porter sewers is ongoing, and
a contract not to exceed $50,300 with Global Engineering and Surveying was
approved for services needed to upgrade the Triangle lift station, also part
of the IDEM compliance plan.
No leaf vac
Public Works director Brenda Brueckheimer asked residents to bag any leaves
and/or grass clippings they have as the leaf vac is not in service until
She also said she’s having vendors demonstrate street sweepers and at the
next meeting hopes to propose purchase of a reconditioned model. Town
Council member Elka Nelson asked how often a sweeper is used in town.
Brueckheimer said she has a monthly route and it’s about five days a month
for seven months of the year.
Nelson said she’s been asked if the sweeping can be contracted out.
Brueckheimer said she’s not aware of a company that does it, and previous
discussions with other municipalities about sharing a sweeper got bogged
down over how repair costs would be allocated and how use of the machine
would be scheduled.
Under the MS4 federal stormwater protection program, streets should be swept
to prevent pollutants from entering waterways.
Brueckheimer also said the 19 decorative lightpoles in Porter’s downtown are
too close to the curb line and one at Pleasant and Lincoln streets was
damaged; she asked it not be replaced. Nelson said a downtown Porter master
plan now is being developed and the lightpoles will be addressed.
In other business Tuesday:
• Brueckheimer said the electronics recycling drop-off for town residents is
proving popular with about five units brought per day. Twenty-five workable
televisions donated through the program were given away free to those in
• The downtown sewer reline is progressing well and Brueckheimer recommended
that residents experiencing an odor should run water in their system to
reduce the temporary smell.
• Porter and Chesterton are cooperating to bring about 197 feet of 12-inch
sewer line behind the State Park Little League ball field north of Woodlawn
Avenue. Materials Porter supplied cost $3,491.
• Town attorney Gregg Sobkowski said Porter is following Chesterton’s lead
in filing to dismiss a lawsuit in U.S. District Court over the training
their respective police dogs received. They were sued along with several
other muncipalities by a motorist who was involved a traffic stop in
Plymouth where a police dog was used.
• President Greg Stinson announced the next Porter Town Council meeting will
take place May 10 at 7 p.m. rather than May 8 when the town hall meeting
room will be used for primary voting.
• Adoption of an ordinance requiring notice be given that pre-engineered
lumber was used during building construction was postponed until May 10, in
part to seek input from the Porter Fire Department.
• Stinson announced that Cantrell, who has missed meetings due to
hospitalization for a medical issue, is recovering and following his town
emails to provide input on council matters. Cantrell also thanks everyone
who sent him get-well wishes, added Stinson.