In the general
election on Tuesday, Nov. 8, Democrat incumbent Kevin Breitzke will face
Republican challenger Bill Rensberger in the race for Porter County
Surveyor. The Chesterton Tribune invited both to respond to a
set word limits for each question and reserved the right to edit responses
(1) For Breitzke:
Age, place of residence, terms in office. 61, Valparaiso, five terms.
Age, place of residence, occupation. 56, Duneland, president of
Rensberger Land Surveying Inc.
(2) Describe the
Porter County Surveyorís responsibilities (75 words).
County Surveyor is an active voting member of the Stormwater Management
Board, County Plan Commission, Kankakee River Basin Commission, and
Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission. The Surveyor is the
statutory authority on the construction, reconstruction, and maintenance of
all regulated drains, and for reviewing complaints regarding private drain
obstructions. Other duties include maintaining and perpetuating section
corners, maintaining survey records including a legal survey book,
maintaining annexation descriptions, certify businesses for alcoholic
Anybody can be elected county surveyor. That and county commissioner are the
only local elected seats that arenít term-limited. It once was very
difficult to find a qualified surveyor to fill the position so they
eliminated term limits. I support term limits but wonít chastise my opponent
for taking advantage of the system. On the contrary, the incumbent is a
licensed surveyor and has been much better in office than an un-licensed
person wouldíve been.
(3) For Breitzke:
Describe your achievements in office (75 words). Iíve increased in-house
production for significant drainage projects averaging approximately 30 a
year for the past 10 years. For 36 years prior to my election, my
predecessors averaged less than two per year. I have made personal, friendly
service the highest priority of this office by providing assistance with
drainage, property, and surveying issues in a timely and efficient manner. I
quadrupled the Surveyor land records by acquiring private records of local
Describe your qualifications for office (75 words). I am a professional
land surveyor. I am a certified septic system inspector. I am a certified
stormwater plan preparer/inspector. I am a lifetime member of the American
Legion and have 20 years combined service in the Army and Reserves.
(4) For Breitzke:
Why are you seeking re-election to this office? (75 words) I continue to
enjoy the challenges of this office, and I will continue to promote adoption
of positive changes for everyone's best quality of life. I enjoy giving
personal service and providing assistance to all of our Porter County
citizens. Finally, I am committed to improving my life-long home, Porter
County. Since both sides of my family have been here since before 1900, I
have no desire to ever live or work anywhere else.
For Rensberger: Why
are you seeking election to this office? (75 words) I will be taking a
substantial cut in pay if elected. I would like the county job but donít
need it. If elected I may attempt to take the office back down to part time
as it has historically been and plan on serving four years, maybe a couple
more if I think itís necessary. I think new blood and fresh thoughts are a
good thing for elected offices.
yourself from your opponent and indicate why you believe yourself to be a
better candidate (100 words).
office has diverse responsibilities beyond being a land surveyor. I have
professional licenses/certifications in three different areas of expertise
beneficial to our citizens: Professional Engineer (29 years), ASFPM
Certified Floodplain Manager, and Professional Land Surveyor (33 years). In
addition to a degree from Valparaiso University (BS Civil Engineering),
where my senior project was about Porter County drainage, I have over 40
years of practical and professional surveying and engineering experience. I
am an accomplished leader in regional and county planning, stormwater and
flood management, and environmental policy resulting in economic and
personal benefits for Porter County citizens.
a Republican with strong Libertarian roots, moved to Chesterton in 1990 to
take a job as a land surveyor, and took over the company after my employer
died in 1996. In 1990 it seemed Porter County was much better off
economically than other places. I learned in my first week here that it was
because of the steelworkers. I owe them and thank them for providing me the
opportunity to make a good living.
(6) What are the
key issues in this race? (100 words)
Breitzke: As a
member of the Stormwater Management Board, I will continue to help improve
drainage and resolve drainage issues with cost-effective solutions.
As an active member
of the Plan Commission, I will continue to promote positive planning
practices to protect, preserve, and improve the infrastructure, land, and
environment for all citizens, institutions, and businesses.
perpetuation of section corner monuments is a challenge due to excavation,
construction, and road work. I will continue the perpetuation of important
survey markers and reference points by working with municipal, state, and
federal agencies as they plan roads and public works projects.
Every half mile (usually in the center of a county road) is a section
corner. Maintaining these corners is the county surveyorís primary
responsibility and the reason they should be licensed. I have the latest and
greatest software and hardware and wonít hesitate to use my personal
equipment to establish and maintain these corners if necessary. The
incumbent has made progress maintaining existing corners but many donít
exist. I have the knowledge and desire to establish them. Once theyíre in
place Iíll no longer have to give outrageous monetary quotes to prepare a
boundary survey for Porter County land holders.
(7) Exactly what
drainage projects do you intend to pursue in Duneland and when? (75 words)
will pursue projects identified in the 2010 county-wide Comprehensive
Drainage Plan and especially areas of significant concern: Damon Run,
Bernhard Koselke, Brown, and Kemper (Little Calumet) ditches. Prior to
passing the stormwater fee beginning this year, these all lacked funding.
Parts of Shooter, Pope-OíConnor, Swanson-Lamporte, and Wieland ditches need
additional maintenance soon. Ditches within towns (Peterson, Gustafson,
Friday, and Munson ditches) donít pay county stormwater fees and will
require town participation.
There is a new Stormwater Management Board so the regulated drain
responsibilities have been diminished.
(8) For Breitzke:
Some have suggested that it's unfair to require land conservation groups
like Shirley Heinze Land Trust and the Izaak Walton League to pay the new
stormwater management fee because their holdings prevent runoff instead of
encouraging it. As a member of the Stormwater Management Board--which
prepared the fee schedule--how would you respond to this charge? (75 words)
I advocated a substantial reduction of fees for land conservation
groups, but not total exemption since they pay little property tax. If
successful, their programs should reduce run-off, but wonít totally
eliminate all run-off and its impacts to the county highway and drainage
systems. Also, since they pay a fee, Porter County can justifiably use
stormwater fees and partner with them on these properties to develop
mutually beneficial stormwater projects and public access.
For Rensberger: Are
you satisfied with the fairness of the new stormwater fee schedule for
unincorporated property owners? (75 words) It is my opinion that the new
Stormwater Board is a good thing for Porter County, though the
Libertarian/Republican in me is opposed to old taxes, not to mention new
taxes. We donít truly own property--we just rent it.