The Burns Harbor Town Council took under advisement three proposals for 2013
engineering services Wednesday and asked the Advisory Plan Commission to
review the town’s policy that charges applicants for the consultant fees
their projects require.
Sometimes the legal, engineering or financial fees are minimal and easy to
estimate yet sometimes, like for the ArcelorMittal tax-abatement extension
request, they are significant and difficult to predict, said town attorney
In other business, the council asked Welsh to confer with building
commissioner Bill Arney about starting condemnation proceedings over an
abandoned bank-owned home at 1252 Westport Rd. that Arney described as very
unsafe and a danger to the public.
Welsh also was asked to meet with Arney and town marshal Michael Heckman
about taking action to recover fines against Scott’s Way that were
authorized under a previous ruling upheld last month by the Indiana Court of
December, 2011 Porter Superior Court Judge David Chidester entered an
injunction and restraining order barring William Scott d/b/a Scott’s Way
from continued operation of a truck terminal and dispatch operation. Doing
so subjects Scott to a $1,000 per-day fine.
Town officials said they believe they can document such operations have
continued at 277 Melton Rd. Said Welsh of the potential fine, “Whatever it
might be, it could be salty.”
The council elected officers last month and last night made appointments.
President Jim McGee, long-time liaison to the Police Department, handed that
duty off to councilman Jeff Freeze. Members Gene Weibl will be liaison to
the Street and Building Departments, Greg Miller to the Park Department and
Mike Perrine to the Fire Department. Freeze also was named the town’s
representative to NIRPC.
Weibl, McGee and Freeze were reappointed to the Advisory Plan Commission,
where long-time member Terry Swanson also was reappointed as well as to the
Board of Zoning Appeals. The unexpired Plan Commission term of Jan Hines, a
Republican who resigned, will be filled by Nicholas Minich, an Independent
who will serve through 2014. Jennifer Barnes was reappointed to the Park
During public comment resident Gayle Van Loon chastized council members for
originally setting a December deadline for citizen applications, then in her
opinion extending it until January to get a Plan Commission candidate more
to their liking who lives in The Village subdivision.
Only two residents applied for the seat. Miller and Weibl said it’s their
ethical and legal responsibility to choose the person they believe will work
in the best interests of the town and respect the law.
engineering proposals, three were submitted at the meeting: from Weaver Boos
with local offices in Griffith and South Bend; DLZ with a local office in
Burns Harbor; and Nies Engineering of Hammond. Global Engineering and
Surveying of Michigan City is the current town engineer.
John Talbot of
Weaver Boos and Mike Jabo of DLZ each described the services their
respective companies would provide. Freeze and Miller were asked to review
the proposals and consult with Global before making a recommendation at the
Feb. 13 council meeting.
Prior to the
presentations the council spent nearly 20 minutes discussing the best way to
assure that billable fees for work performed by the town’s consultants are
fully paid by petitioners and developers whose projects necessitate review.
The matter was referred to the Plan Commission for further study.
Also during the
• As fire chief,
Arney said the department’s new advanced-life-support ambulance put in
service two months ago made its first resuscitation of a full cardiac arrest
Wednesday. “We had a save today.” He also reported that last year
firefighters responded to 333 calls, 32 of them in December when 22 hours 6
minutes were spent at emergency scenes.
• A 2013
contract for fire services provided by the incorporated Fire Department was
approved by the council.
Heckman reported December saw 201 police incidents, eight crash reports (six
property damage, two personal injury), and 10 arrests of which six were
misdemeanors and four felonies. Tickets numbered 36, warnings/verbal
warnings 73, assists 85 and reports taken 29. Squad cars traveled 6,333
• For 2012,
police handled 6,257 incidents; 68 crash reports resulting in no fatalities
but 54 of them property damage and 14 personal injuries. Of 168 arrests, 126
were misdemeanors and 42 felonies. Tickets numbered 1,103; warnings/verbal
warnings 2,339; and assists 1,012. Squads traveled 94,518 miles.
• The council
set Jan. 14 at 6 p.m. for a closed executive session to interview candiates
for a deputy marshal vacancy.
superintendent Randy Skalku said the lack of snow has enabled his department
to tackle other projects. He advised residents may leave out used Christmas
trees for pick-up.
• Perrine and
Arney said a bath towel was pulled from lift station pumps and the lines
will be inspected and manholes checked; installation of locking manholes is
• Park Board
president Marcus Rogala said his board meets the first Tuesday of each month
at 6:30 p.m. at Lakeland Park, and that the successful Dec. 21 Christmas
daycamp had approximately 40 children attending. The board also has a large
pile of sand and slag it would like to have removed from the park.
Clerk-treasurer Jane Jordan said the state approved Burns Harbor’s 2013
budget at $2.98 million which means the municipal tax rate climbed by over 3
cents to 35.88 cents per each $100 of assessed valuation.
conflict-of-interest disclosures were made. Jordan said her husband Kurt
sometimes does IT work for the town, Freeze said his wife Tracy is on the
BZA, and Perrine said his wife Leann is on the Park Board.