Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Third jail pod nearly ready to roll; Commissioners OK plumbing equipment

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

Renovations and upgrades for the Porter County Jail’s B pod are on the brink of completion.

The Porter County Commissioners approved a change order 2-0 for $114,600 that will cover needed plumbing equipment and painting, which was recommended by Mike Jabo of DLZ Indiana.

The funding will be drawn from the $1.4 million garnered in the refinancing of the jail building bonds two years ago.

Berglund Construction of Chesterton was hired by the Commissioners in January to make the upgrades. Work began during the first week of March and so far $234,000 in upgrades have been made.

The jail’s B pod is on track to open some time in May, according to Sheriff David Lain. He said what is now holding the Sheriff’s Department up is staffing the pod with four new jail officer positions that need to be filled.

Interviews and background checks are being done currently. Five new jailers have already been hired.

The B-pod, which will add 109 inmate beds, has never been used since the Jail opened in 2002.

Jabo also discussed the need for screening sewage at the jail so it will no longer be a burden on the City of Valparaiso’s sewer and water utilities department. Obstructions caused by items flushed down toilets by inmates have become a problem and the County Commissioners spoke of implementing a type of lift station on site at the jail.

The Commissioners voted 2-0 to give DLZ permission to proceed to seek bids for a lift station.

In another matter concerning the sheriff’s department, the Commisioners gave their approval to make available a voluntary deferred compensation plan with Morgan Stanley Investments.

The option will replace none of the department’s current pension plans and is at no cost to the County, said Lain.

“This is just another option for our employees,” Lain said.

Voting were Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, and Nancy Adams, R-Center. Absent from the meeting was Commissioner Laura Shurr Blaney, D-South.

Tech foundry funding

In other business, Evans and Adams followed up on a request from Elevate Ventures to help start a “tech foundry” in Valparaiso which was tabled from their last meeting.

Both Commissioners voted to pledge $50,000 of county economic development income tax money (CEDIT) each of the next four years, totaling $200,000 overall.

Representatives from Elevate said tech foundry will be a program to give seed money to entrepreneurs to help get their business models started and bring economic development to the area.

Other counties and municipalities around the state have also given money to help new businesses in their areas.

Assessor contract

The Commissioners approved renewal of the annual contract with Cender and Company for the County Assessor website which is not to exceed $8,000.

Assessor Jon Snyder said the contract allows taxpayers to appeal their property assessments online when notices are sent in the fall.

 

Posted 4/16/2014