Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Meter changes coming; Porter offers employees new health incentive pay

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By PAULENE POPARAD

The Porter Town Council indicated Tuesday its considering a revision of its sewer-rate ordinance for residential meter sizes. Action likely will occur at the Oct. 22 meeting.

A problem arose this summer for residential customers who have 1-inch water meters; sewer bills are based on water consumption. The current Porter ordinance states standard residential meters are 3/4 or 5/8-inch only and larger meters are billed at a higher rate.

When the discrepancy was caught, bills in excess of $1,000 were sent to some residential customers for past-due amounts. Collection currently is on hold.

Athough the intent is to broaden the definition of residential meters, said council president Elka Nelson, state auditors won’t let the town waive the overdue portion of the bills. She urged affected residents to contact clerk-treasurer Carol Pomeroy to negotiate a resolution on a case-by-case basis with council approval.

Letters will be sent to the residents and some commercial customers also affected describing the town’s plans.

In other business, the council approved by resolution a health-insurance incentive plan that anticipates saving the town money.

If a town employee leaves the town’s health-insurance plan on or before Dec. 31 and elects coverage under another plan where the employee is the primary insured, the town will pay the employee an annual incentive of $5,500 payable in 26 equal payday installments.

If the spouse of an employee leaves the town insurance plan, the town will pay the employee an annual incentive of $3,000. In both cases proof of insurance under another plan must be provided, and the employee/spouse may resume town coverage but the incentive payments cease.

With the largest number of town employees, police chief James Spanier was asked to help coordinate the policy change.

The council also addressed the need to make technical corrections to a previously adopted revision of Town Council voting districts. No boundary changes were made Tuesday.

At Building/Development director Mike Barry’s recommendation the council waived $8,412 in permit fees for a planned $1.89 million upgrade of the Chesterton wastewater treatment plant, which is located in Porter. “It’s just the right thing to do,” said Barry.

The council adopted its proposed 2014 budget with $2,255,940 sought for the general fund and additional amounts in other funds. The Indiana Department of Local Government Finance has final approval and will set the town’s tax rate.

Resident Bill Sexton recommended and the council adopted a resolution declaring October as Disabilities Awareness Month with among its goals full inclusion in society for the disabled. Sexton said employers can qualify for tax breaks when hiring, and at one time 80 percent of his company’s 200-person staff had a disability or were disadvantaged and they were the most dedicated workers of all.

Kudos all around went to the Porter Park and Fire departments and to Leroy Flores and Liz Tilden for last weekend’s Porter’s Perfect Pint specialty-beer tasting at Hawthorne Park. The event raised funds for both town departments. Also thanked were the volunteers, auction donors and all who supported the festival.

Park director Brian Bugajski said surveys are available at the town hall, Hageman Library, on the town’s website and at Facebook.com/PorterParks seeking input on an updated five-year park master plan now in development.

Public comment also will be sought Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hawthorne community building by the Park Board.

The park’s annual Halloween Boo Bash children’s costume party will be at the community building Oct. 27 from 1 to 3 p.m.

 

Posted 10/10/2013