Chesterton Tribune

 

 

New County Council districts back on Commissioners agenda

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Itís appeared on their agenda several times over the last few months, but on Tuesday the Porter County Board of Commissioners is expected to vote on an ordinance approving new boundaries for the four individual County Council districts.

As of deadline this morning, County Attorney Betty Knight told the Chesterton Tribune the Commissioners are still making last minute adjustments to the ordinance, but they expect to be ready when they meet at 1 p.m. in Room 205 in the County Administration Building at 155 Indiana Ave., Valparaiso.

Knight said the ordinance will be given a public hearing and will contain a list of which voting precincts are to be included in each district. The Commissioners previously opened a public hearing in November on the concept of redistricting where County Council member Jeremy Rivas, D-2nd, and County Surveyor Kevin Breitzke expressed concerns about the Commissioners rushing to make changes this late in the year when election filing for upcoming Council races is soon to begin.

Indiana state law gives Commissioners the charge to form the new council districts and the modifications must be made and approved in a non-election or an odd-numbered year. The purpose is to restructure the districts as evenly as possible based on population data from the latest census.

Knight said the Commissioners can waive having a second reading on the ordinance since it does not involve fees or they can hold a special meeting to approve the ordinance by the end of this year.

The last time the County made changes to the districts was in 2001.

Also, Tammy OíNeill of Porter County PACT along with Porter County judges Mary Harper and Julia Jent will return to talk with the Commissioners about a jail review program in which PACT employees will assess which inmates in the County Jail could be placed on electronic home monitoring while they await their court dates.

The Porter County Council supported the proposal for PACT to hire employees to work in the program for a one-time expense of $147,690 at its meeting last month and kicked the proposal back to the Commissioners for their final approval. It is estimated that the County could save $290,000 a year by reducing the number of offenders in prison.

The Commissioners will also hear a recommendation for a contract regarding centralized purchase of office supplies for County departments, which will be handled by the Commissionersí office.

In other agenda items, Therese Davis of the Recycling and Waste Reduction District will tell the results of this yearís rain barrel painting contest.

Requests by department heads include a recommendation on supplies and services bids for 2014 by the Highway Department, a building corporation payment to the General Fund by Juvenile Detention Director Alison Cox, an electronic recording agreement from County Recorder Jon Miller, service agreements from County Assessor Jon Snyder, and a wetland delineation proposal by Plan Commission Executive Director Bob Thompson.

 

Posted 12/16/2013