One week after the
Porter County Council approved a bond issue for $30 million in upgrades to a
few County buildings, the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday moved forward
with the reconstruction of the front steps at the County Administration
Building in Valparaiso.
A special meeting
was held Tuesday to approve a bid submitted by Gariup Construction, of Gary,
with a base bid of $793,500 and $139,000 total for alternatives, the most
significant being the installation of a heating system underneath the
pavement that would melt snow and ice on the sloped walkway up to the
entrance of the building.
The melting system
will protect the sidewalk from being salted, like what has been done to the
steps that are there now, said Commissioner President Jeff Good, R-Center.
The system could recoup costs by not having to pay for the labor and salt,
he added, and the building can be open during snowy weather.
Shurr Blaney, D-South, agreed that heating the ramp is “most important.”
“We’ve all sat here
and we’ve watched people struggle out there, year after year, and it is
especially bad when its frozen,” she said in making the motion to include
alternatives include the addition of an irrigation system that would recycle
water to be used for the plants in the new landscaping planned and
educational signage on stormwater practices, which would help the County
fulfill its public education obligation in the Municipal Separate Storm
Sewer System (MS4) Program.
Good said the
County will be able to purchase high-end trash receptacles and lighting for
the front of the building that can change color for special events and
holidays. The handrails along the sloped sidewalk will also be lit.
are hoping to start work right away, as was requested by the County Council,
Good said. He mentioned that the $932,500 for the work is less than the $1
million target the Commissioners were aiming for.
Roundabout on Ind.
In other matters
Tuesday, the Commissioners voted 3-0 in favor of a contract with the Troyer
Group, of South Bend, to configure design maps at the roundabout planned for
the intersection of Heavilin Rd. and Ind. 2.
The County owns
parcels on three sides of where the roundabout will be, Good said. The
intersection is where the former County Animal Shelter was located and one
of the sites for the County Highway Department.
Good said community
leaders decided to petition the state a little over a year ago for a
roundabout to control the extra traffic brought on by the opening of the new
Valparaiso elementary school at 2450 Heavilin Rd.
The Troyer Group
will provide the Commissioners with schematic drawings of what will happen
to the County’s property with regards to access, Good said. The overall goal
is to ensure the property will have access should the Commissioners ever try
to market and sell the land, he said.
“If we get ready to
sell this property, we want there to be value,” Good said.
Commissioners approved a request from Porter Health Care System to purchase
mobile and portable radios for ambulances and EMS personnel from Bartronics
Inc., of Chesterton.
The radios will be
manufactured by EF Johnson Technologies which Good said is comparable with
Motorola radios and the 800 Megahertz project at a lesser price. The total
for the radios is $99,992.
Scott McClure said the fund to pay for the radios is the one set up by the
EMS contract the County has with Porter Regional Hospital. The Hospital
deposits money into the fund and ultimately it is those monies that will be
used to purchase the radios. The Commissioners will however need to request
the County Council appropriate the funds, he said.
Good said the
Commissioners are continuing to work with municipalities and townships on a
solution for the 800 MHz radio mandate by the state and intend to have a
proposal to bring to the County Council at its next regular meeting in
Biggs, R-North, said the EF Johnson radios are $900 cheaper per unit than
the other models and going over the Sheriff’s Department needs, he would
contend that departments should be able to bid out the radios.
“With the amount of
radios our Sheriff’s Department needs, the amount of savings would be huge.
It cannot be ignored,” Biggs said.