The Town of Burns
Harbor is no longer one of the few municipalities in the state which hasn’t
joined the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns.
On Wednesday, all
five members of the Town Council voted to join now that dues have been made
All 119 cities in
the state and roughly 400 of the 477 towns are active members of the
Association, said IACT field services manager Brian Gould, who attended the
meeting. The coalition’s equation for membership dues is based on a town’s
assessed valuation, and with Burns Harbor unique assets, the costs would
spike to around $6,600, which has prevented the town from joining.
But Gould said he
has reworked the formula in a way that would make Burns Harbor dues similar
to other towns of a similar size and tax base. With that formulas,
membership would be $3,293 for a full year starting in January.
IACT is a lobbying
group which tracks bills and advocates for cities and towns with legislators
in the statehouse to facilitate legislation to help cities and towns provide
better services to citizens, and oppose legislation that would have adverse
effects, Gould said.
One example Gould
gave was IACT working against Governor Pence’s plan to eliminate the
Business Personal Property tax that so many towns like Burns Harbor depend
“We are a voice for
local government,” Gould said.
provided include educational programs and webinars to help town officials
understand how TIF districts operate, the effects of property tax caps on
budgets, how to find stable and affordable health care coverage by
participating in a medical trust, and how to annex property.
IACT also offers
legal counsel to its members and a kit to help revitalize downtown areas and
attract businesses, Gould said.
Members can also
participate in IACT’s annual conference and network with other
municipalities, he added.
The motion to join
IACT was made by Council member Jeff Freeze.
Under old business,
the Council mulled whether to move forward with a proposed addition to the
town’s fire station. Members heard from Fire Chief Bill Arney earlier this
year that the BHFD is outgrowing its current building and needs more space.
James McGee asked his colleagues if they were ready to let the project out
for bids or if it needs to tabled.
Freeze said he
feels the funding should be addressed during the 2015 budgeting process,
while Council member Greg Miller said he would like more information on the
need of the expansion.
has been done by Global Engineering & Land Surveying of Michigan City, which
has sent the town an invoice for $7,085.
A motion was made
by Council member Mike Perrine to pay that bill out of the Fire Department’s
budget, which met with agreement by other Council members.
Arney asked why the
funds must come from his budget when there are other places where the
Council has available funds.
The move drew
concern from former Town Council member Ray Poparad, sitting the audience,
who asked why the fire department should take a $7,000 budget hit.
Perrine said there
is sufficient money in the department’s budget to fund the complete cost of
Poparad, during the
public comment portion of the meeting, also asked if anything is going to be
done about needed upgrades to the Westport Community Club. “It’s sitting
there, falling apart. Let’s do something,” he said.
The Council had
been considering a potential agreement with Chesterton Pop Warner to lease
and help upgrade the grounds.
McGee said the
conversations with Pop Warner are continuing.
Sidewalk on Haglund?
Also from the
floor, Park Board president Marcus Rogala asked if there were plans to put
in a sidewalk on Haglund Road, as more people are using Lakewood Park. His
concern is for safety, he said, as he’s seen motorists speeding through the
appeared to reach a consensus that a sidewalk there would be worthwhile.
“A sidewalk there
is something everyone here wants to get done,” said Freeze.
putting out a request for bids and that police should beef up enforcement in
In other actions,
the Council approved up to $1,000 towards the annual town picnic set for
Sunday, Aug. 24, at Lakewood Park. That matches the amount given last year’s
event, which saw a large turnout.
“It’s not a park
function. It’s a town function,” said Perrine.
Admission to the
picnic is free to residents and a dunk tank and a bounce house will be
offered again this year, said Rogala.
Also, the Council
agreed to grant up to $500 to support the upcoming town garage sale on
Friday, Aug. 15, and Saturday, Aug. 16, from 8-2 p.m. That’s a $200 increase
over what was given last year.
Fleming said the sale is growing in popularity and 51 homes participated
last year. The money will be used to publicize the sale along with
purchasing banners that could be reused in the years to come.
A bad year for
authorized two more applications this summer for town-wide mosquito fogging
at the discretion of Town Clerk-Treasurer Jane Jordan.
Jordan said she’s
received more phone calls from residents regarding the pests this year than
any other she can remember. “They’re really bad this year,” she said.
application will be next week and once more in August, Jordan said. Each
application is $650.
It’s that time of
the of the year again.
meetings, which are open to the public, will start at 6 p.m. on Monday, July
28, the Council decided.
Jordan said the
2015 budget needs to be figured out by Sept. 2 to meet the deadline for a
non-binding review by the Porter County Council.