The Burns Harbor
Town Council is exploring ways it can get businesses neglecting to pay
outstanding ordinance violation fees to respond.
Kevin Tracy said he was interested in addressing ways of enforcement after
speaking with Building Commissioner Randal Lopez about property owners that
have been “chronically ignoring” ordinance violations.
“There have been
these companies, I think we know who they are. I don’t need to say their
names but I don’t know what our legal abilities are,” Tracy told his
colleagues at Wednesday’s Council meeting. He asked if it was possible to
deny these properties their business license renewal.
Ray Poparad said even if the Town tries to penalize them, they are likely to
keep doing business. He said he doesn’t know of any legal ways to get them
to comply other than taking the case to court, which can incur attorney
Fire Chief and
previous Town Building Commissioner Bill Arney said there have been times
when the Town has taken delinquent businesses to court to get them to pay
violation fees and they still fail to pay the next time. The penalty gets
paid but the violations don’t get fixed, he said.
“I agree. Fight the
fight if the businesses are willingly overrunning us, but just holding their
business license up, I don’t know if that (will work),” Arney said.
Council member Toni
Biancardi said that the Town can fine the businesses up to $10,000 if they
don’t comply with the ordinance.
Lopez asked if he
should continue to send letters about the violations and fines if they are
continually ignored. He asked if the Town can lien the property. Town
Attorney Clay Patton said that is possible if the business owns the property
but not if it is leasing the property.
Town Marshal Mike
Heckman said he knows there is a judge who handles cases of outstanding
ordinance violations in December. Poparad said Lopez should “round-up” all
the violations by businesses and take them to court then to see what
Return check policy
In another matter,
Clerk-Treasurer Jane Jordan said she’s run into a situation where a payment
made by check by a payer and their spouse has bounced. The Town has a return
check policy that falls under its Sanitation Department, Jordan said but
asked Patton if it was possible to apply that for the whole Town code.
Patton said it
wouldn’t since it is specific to sanitation. The Town would need to draft an
ordinance to apply a return check policy to other departments.
Poparad said he
will leave the return check policy on the Council’s agenda for next month to
look at a draft.
Arney said that the
Fire Camp was canceled this year but his department intends to have it next
year. “It has not gone away forever. Unfortunately our man power was down
and we could not do it this year,” Arney said.
Department’s report for June reported 45 calls were responded to, 37 of
which were EMS response calls. Seven calls were for vehicle accidents, two
industrial fires and one residential fire. Total hours on scene for
emergency calls were 20 hours and 32 minutes.
traveled a total of 2,009 miles. There were 60.5 hours spent on training and
10 duty hours for a total of 75.5 man hours.
Arney said the Fire
Department’s Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser will be Oct. 21 this year.
Lopez had an update
on the abandoned home in the 1100 Block of Ind. 149. The owner has been
contacted and a neighbor is interested in purchasing the property and
demolishing the house, Lopez said.
Lopez said they are
working to resolve the issues by Sept. 1. He told the Council in June that
the home was found abandoned in conditions that were hazardous for human
habitation, causing a safety issue.
said it’s been a busy month for building in town. “We’ve got a lot of
projects going on and doing well,” he said.
representative Kaylane Tumblin told the Council that the department has not
received bids yet for the picnic shelters but those will be coming in soon.
Tumblin also said
the beach at Lakeland Park will be open on weekends through Labor Day from
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the Footloose 5k is scheduled for June 23 next year.
Jane Jordan reported that the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance
has approved and reset the Town’s Cumulative Capital Development Fund tax
rate at four cents per $100 of assessed valuation.
In May, the Council
voted to increase the rate to the maximum of four cents after it had
diminished to 3.04 cents per $100 of AV. The Town has used the CCD fund
mainly for capital projects and equipment purchases.
Based on the
assessed value for last year, Jordan said the Town would receive about
$54,000 extra from the CCD rate reset.
Town Picnic Aug. 26
residents that the Town Picnic is coming up on Saturday, Aug. 26, which will
kick off at 5 p.m. at Lakeland Park.
Duneland Community is invited to join us for our 50th Anniversary. There is
lots of fun stuff planned,” said Biancardi. More details can be found on the
Town’s Facebook page, she said.
At the end of the
meeting, the Council agreed to set a public hearing for the Town’s proposed
2018 budgets at its September meeting. The Council hosted a budget workshop
last week with the department heads and was satisfied with advertising the
figures proposed in the budget.