MICHIGAN CITY – The Michigan City Common Council conducted a public hearing Tuesday on an ordinance that would appropriate $125,000 from the city’s Riverboat Fund to help get the Michigan City Municipal Golf Course out of the red.
Local resident Rob Worek spoke in favor of the ordinance, saying that just as the city spends money to improve playgrounds for children’s recreation, it also should invest in recreation opportunities for adults.
In addition to providing a brief history on the south and north courses, established in the 1930s and 1970s, respectively, Worek provided an extensive list of the golf outings that have been hosted at Municipal to benefit local nonprofits.
Resident Kathryn Stransky asked if the public can have a more thorough breakdown of the Michigan City Parks Department’s budget.
Council President Don Przybylinski informed her that all municipal budget meetings are open to the public, and are conducted in September over the course of a week-and-a-half.
First Ward Councilman Bryant Dabney, who introduced the ordinance, said he did so because it’s illegal for any city department to function in the red.
He attributed this year’s golf course deficit to the 103 days of play already lost to unfavorable weather.
Fourth Ward Councilman Sean Fitzpatrick asked how Municipal’s rates compare to those of surrounding courses, and offered that an adjustment may help to balance the budget in the future.
The council will vote on the ordinance at its Aug. 20 meeting.
In other business:
• During a public hearing on an ordinance to use $30,000 from the Boyd Development Fund for the purchase of decorative trash receptacles for use throughout the city, Michigan City Sanitary District General Manager Michael Kuss said that amount would cover the cost of 40 cans from a vendor in Vermont.
However, Republican 2nd Ward Council candidate Alena Ursida said she researched and found similar receptacles at an online retailer for less than half that price. Ursida provided the details to the council, and asked that it consider alternative options. The council will vote on the matter Aug. 20.
• The Michigan City Police Department’s request for $31,071 to purchase the TruNarc Handheld Narcotics Analyzer was unanimously approved.
• A public hearing was conducted on the MCPD’s request for $100,000 from the Riverboat Fund to cover remaining overtime costs through the end of the year. Stransky and local resident Rodney McCormick questioned the potential appropriation. McCormick asked why it’s needed when the MCPD has so many officers, and questioned whether they waste time on the clock. Stransky asked why the department commits to spending money on overtime before it receives permission to do so. The council will also vote on this matter Aug. 20.
• Charity Smith, nominated by the Lubeznik Center for the Arts, was appointed to replace Andre Dockery on the Michigan City Youth Leadership Commission for a term of one year. The council also approved the mayor’s appointments of Laura Kalk and Connie Anderson to the Tree Board, and Judy Lange to the Human Rights Commission. And as a result of the resignation of Michael Johns, the council must make an appointment to the Board of Zoning Appeals that goes through 2022.
• During public comment, McCormick addressed his November arrest for allegedly threatening the mayor and City Hall with a gun. Although his charges were dismissed in May, McCormick said the incident illustrated the need for improved security features at the facility, specifically, cameras with audio capability.
La Porte resident Nathaniel Williams also spoke against the ways in which the council has addressed complaints about a pending landlord registration and inspection ordinance, and the proposed civic plaza.