In a last minute special meeting held February 16th at 10am, the Porter County Commissioners revised the 33.3 million dollar budget spending. Changes made were mainly the result of violations of the Open Door Complaint that was filed and the resulting conclusion. (See Link from the Times Article Below)
Despite a last minute meeting, several ordinary citizens from the County showed up and spoke during public comment. There was quite a heated exchange when Susie Talevski spoke, who was the person that filed the Open Door Complaint last December 20th 2021. Susie was there with the Times Article that stated the Commissioners “likely” violated the Open Door Law.
Commissioner Laura Blaney stated an outline to proceed with public input and recommended Stu Summers to be the head of the Steering Committee. Commissioner Jim Biggs strongly objected to the choice of Stu Summers because he is the Director for the Valparaiso Redevelopment and also past contractor for Porter County government projects and will have a conflict of interest.
The outline proposed will have four subcommittees with two residents as voting members and all meetings to be held in public. Also included as voting members will be 1 commissioner, 2 council members, and 2 non-voting expert advisors. 2 selected Township trustees will be involved with the the Behavioral Health committee. The Steering Committee will make the total 5 committees.
Applications for Resident Committee members can apply online and the deadline for decision will be March 8th. Deadline for public input is tentatively held at March 31st, but may change. The four subcommittees planned are: Behavioral Health, Non-profits, Infrastructure, and Covid Health Response. Industries, businesses and entities effected will be under the Infrastructure committee.
Another local resident attending, Dawn Miller, has been coming to the meetings ever since the School Boards required kids to wear masks at school. Dawn is now attending all the meetings, taking notes and also recording the meetings.
The commissioners, without a vote, recommended that four of the 9 Line items be recommended which are: the Premium Pay for essential employees, The Township Trustees money, the Marquette Trail money and the Behavioral Health study.
Elizabeth Grenchich, a VU Ethics Professor, asked if the County even has established ethics policies and are their ethics policies posted on their website.
Posted on Dec. 2022 the funding was as follows:
|Budgeted (up to)
|Behavioral Health Study
|Assistance to Townships
|Marquette Greenway Trail
|Flood Reduction Systems: Salt Creek Commons, Willowcreek, 700N
|Failed Storm Water Systems: Carriage Hills, New South Haven, Salt Creek Commons, Stimson Drain
|Shorewood Forest Storm Water Project
|Porter County Agricultural Society (non-profit)
|Shirley Heinze Land Trust Storm Water Project (non-profit)
|Porter County Conservation Trust Storm Water/Wetlands Project (non-profit)
|Pleasant Township Pool Improvements
|Health Department remodeling
|Porter County EMA trailer, laptops
|Porter County Health Insurance Fund
|Meeting Room Audio Visual Enhancements
|Jury Room TVs
|Auditor Transfer Book Digitization
|Porter County Public Library Outdoor Learning Gardens
|Assistance to Non-Profit Organizations
|Memorial Opera House renovation
|Porter County Health Insurance Fund
|County Employee 2023 Wage Supplements
|Sheriff’s SWAT Vehicle
|County Veteran Service Office Outreach Program
|County Park Capital Projects
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