The Porter Town Council entered into a financial services contract Tuesday
with Umbaugh & Associates to conduct studies aimed at identifying cost
containment and potential revenue streams.
Council member Greg Stinson said in light of Indiana’s property-tax circuit
breaker and other factors that lead to declining revenue, the town can use a
fresh set of eyes to look at the situation.
“At the end of the day it will be very helpful to have an analysis,” he
Porter’s financial advisor has been Cender & Company, which will continue as
a consultant, Stinson said, but Umbaugh will be engaged on an hourly basis
to do the cost/revenue studies. After the meeting he indicated they can be
done department by department after first obtaining estimates to control
spending on the project.
Also Tuesday, the council introduced but delayed final action until Feb. 26
on ordinance changes dealing with annual Porter Beach parking permits. They
go on sale at the town hall March 1.
A slight increase in fees is planned but not for senior citizens. A new
subsection of the ordinance addresses lost permits and how to transfer a
permit if the holder purchases a different vehicle after first obtaining a
permit for another. Council president Elka Nelson emphasized the permit
applicant’s legal address on both a driver’s license and vehicle
registration must match and specifically say Porter, not Chesterton.
A second ordinance also had first reading and is slated for Feb. 26
adoption. It would expand the Porter Park Board to five members, the new
member to be named by the Duneland School Board.
The council voted 4-0 with member Rob Pomeroy absent to reappoint School
Board member Ron Stone to the Porter Redevelopment Commission. State law
provides for such appointments as non-voting RDC members; RDCs help
establish tax-increment financing or TIF districts that can divert future
revenue from schools.
New Porter director of parks Brian Bugajski was introduced. The Park
Department recently changed its organizational structure and expanded
responsibilities for the new job. Council liaison Jeannine Virtue told him,
“It’s a huge position and we’re looking forward to see what you do with it.”
Bugajski announced dates for upcoming park festivals/events and said it
appears with the warm-up ahead this week, the Hawthorne Park ice skating
rink will close for the winter after being skateable for only a few days
In other business the council:
• Agreed to lower the speed limit from 40 mph to 30 mph on Tremont Road
between Indiana 49 and U.S. 20. That section will be rebuilt and widened
this year. Police chief James Spanier recommended 30 mph. Director of
Development Michael Barry said it’s anticipated some motorists will exceed
40 mph on the new roadway if the limit isn’t lowered.
• A general-services contract was approved with consultant SEH for 2013. The
firm is involved in Porter’s Gateway to the Indiana Dunes project;
rebuilding Tremont Road is part of that to encourage development on either
• Nelson announced the tri-town Indiana Dunes State Park lakefront fireworks
observing Independence Day will take place July 2. She said the town wanted
to move the event farther away from July 4 to ease the strain on Porter
police, firefighters and Public Works employees. Porter has a July 4
fesitval in Hawthorne Park.
• Pending confirmation of insurance, Spanier presented and the Porter
council approved a June 23 parade permit for the Foundation for Molecular
Medicine. The group will proceed down Waverly Road north to the State Park.
Spanier said Waverly will be closed during brief periods as the parade
passes by an area.
Porter fire chief Jay Craig acknowledged the donation by Westchester
Township of an approximately $3,000 multi-purpose specialty saw put into
service Monday by the department. He also said firefighters responded to 41
calls in January, 10 of them mutual aid, one a fire in Dune Acres, and one
each for search and dive team call-outs.