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Miller decision coming; Porter Park Board to add fifth member?

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By PAULENE POPARAD

Superintendent Jim Miller’s future employment status with the Porter Park Department may be resolved next week.

Porter Town Council president Greg Stinson announced Tuesday that the public’s comments and concerns about Miller not being allowed to rescind his previously announced Dec. 31 retirement have been heard by the council and the Park Board.

Stinson said at its Oct. 16 meeting the Park Board will discuss employee reorganization, which likely will include a full-time position for Miller that he’s tentatively accepted. A job description is being finalized.

Miller was present Tuesday and did not challenge Stinson’s statement.

At both the Park Board and Town Council meetings last month a number of audience members spoke out in support of Miller, the 24-year park superintendent.

For months the Park Board has indicated it wants to reorganize park management but the matter was never discussed at any length at public meetings.

The Park Board’s failure to vote whether Miller would be allowed to take back his planned retirement was criticized by his supporters who wanted a resolution to the suspense. Council member Elka Nelson said the Park Board will answer some of those questions next week.

Long-time park administrator Stephanie Miller also announced plans to retire at year’s end but still intends to do so.

Last night, without making any final decisions, the Town Council discussed asking the Duneland School Board to name one of its own members or appoint a Porter resident to be a fifth member of the Porter Park Board.

Council member Jeannine Virtue expressed support and volunteered to contact Duneland officials about the request.

Stinson said under Indiana law the ex officio School Board appointment would have all the powers of a Park Board member including voting. State law also allows a Westchester Public Library Board member who resides in Porter to be a Park Board member, but the Town Council felt a larger pool of applicants could be found through the School Board process.

If that board agrees to the proposal, the Town Council would be required to amend its Park Board enabling ordinance to provide for a fifth member.

In other business:

•Town attorney Gregg Sobkowski said there’s a tentative settlement with property owner Jill Field to sell needed permanent and temporary rights-of-way to the town for $22,000 in addition to the town agreeing to mark the right-of-way line and remove dead trees on town property. Council members voted 5-0 to accept the terms, paving the way to resume work on the Brickyard hike/bike trail’s Howe Road segment and pedestrian bridge over U.S. 20. The town had initiated condemnation proceedings against Field for the land.

•The council acknowledged the Porter Redevelopment Commission’s request to expand the town’s TIF district to include four parcels near U.S. 20 and Waverly Road including the former Splash Down Dunes waterpark. Next week the Plan Commission will determine whether such action is consistent with Porter’s comprehensive plan. The RDC will conduct a public hearing before the council takes final action.

•The council unanimously adopted its 2013 budget at $4,419,585 for all funds. A $200,000 excessive levy appeal is being sought. State tax officials now review the budget request.

•Public Works superintendent Brenda Brueckheimer said Oct. 15 leaf pick-up will begin. A map of districts and days for pick-up is on the www.townofporter.com website, or residents may call 926-4212 for details.

•Director of development Mike Barry said a survey also will be posted on the town website seeking input on where and what areas should be included in Porter’s ADA transition plan to improve handicapped access.

•It was announced Alice Foote Eloonan has been named a liaison to the Town Council for the Duneland Seniors group.

 

Posted 10/10/2012