Town of Porter
employees will have a new health-insurance provider effective next month
bringing minor benefit changes and a new provider network. The Town Council
on Tuesday approved switching carriers to Assurant Health for coverage and
Allied Health as the third-party administrator. Bids from 10 companies were
The move means a
$50,900 savings over initial renewal of last year’s plan. The total annual
2014/15 premium is approximately $480,000 for 30 employees.
Council member Elka
Nelson thanked police chief James Spanier for working with insurance
consultant Steve Brady to to put the package together. Spanier said some
employees will see small increases and/or decreases in what they contribute,
but it was a “no-brainer” because the maximum out-of-pocket cost is
preventative diagnostic testing now will be covered before a deductible is
met. Public Works superintendent Brenda Brueckheimer said that will give
employees more incentive to be tested.
In other business,
in 2010 under pressure from the Indiana Department of Environmental
Management the Porter Redevelopment Commission issued a $4 million bond
issue and the Town Council $1 million in bonds to fund a comprehensive
overhaul of Porter’s long-neglected sanitary sewer system.
Now, the bond money
is spent and Tuesday the council started tapping the town’s sewer fund to
pay for the remaining repairs.
approved a $39,375 payment to Woodruff & Sons, and entered into a $144,618
contract with low-bidder Woodruff for a pump station bypass project.
The council also
approved a not-to-exceed $20,000 contract with Haas & Associates for
engineering and construction-management services related to the pump-station
Greg Stinson said Porter is not 100 percent done with its requirements under
the agreed order with IDEM.
The original IDEM
deadline for completion was late 2012 but that has been extended. Total
repayment of the 2010 bonds will take up to 15 years. The work included
major projects like construction of a new Porter Avenue lift station and
trunk line to the Chesterton sewage-treatment plant, relining of much of the
downtown Porter sewers, and major upgrades at several other lift stations.
Also Tuesday, park
director Brian Bugajski invited the public to a free outdoor showing of the
movie “The Sandlot” at the Hawthorne Park ballfield Aug. 15. He said the
Chesterton Art Fair will take place Aug. 2 and 3 at Hawthorne so parking
will impact use of the Orchard Pedway hike/bike trail through the park.
Approved was a
$2,000 appropriation from the park donations fund for general children and
adult programming. Town of Porter clothing and merchandise still is
available through the park as a fundraiser.
suggestion the town will send a letter of support backing a multi-agency
effort to remove log jams and build a handicap-accessible launch ramp along
the Little Calumet River, which runs through Porter.
Fire Chief Lewis
Craig submitted an updated mutual-aid agreement for council review that will
give Porter access to equipment and manpower from anywhere in Indiana in the
event of disaster or extreme need.
Bowen asked why she didn’t see arrests made when a digital sign posting the
20 mph speed limit on Franklin Street showed 39 drivers exceeded it. Spanier
said statistics show most drivers do or have slowed down because of the
sign, and officers will return after the sign is removed to do enforcement.
At the Stormwater
Management Board meeting prior to the council, Brueckheimer was authorized
to look into whether an abandoned sanitary lift station could be converted
to a stormwater lift station to serve the Wagner Hills area. Repeated
flooding has plagued the subdivision.
it appears there’s no room to enlarge the Wagner Hills detention basin, and
the lack of dedicated drainage easements allowing the town to do work within
the subdivision is slowing a solution.