Center Township chips in for homelessness position

2013-08-21T18:00:00Z 2013-08-21T19:14:20Z Center Township chips in for homelessness positionPhil Wieland, (219) 548-4352

VALPARAISO | The Center Township Board voted to contribute $5,000 a year for two years to the county effort to end homelessness, but might not be able to give Valparaiso Schools $700 for a month of drug testing.

Township Trustee Chuck Conover told the board Wednesday he was approached by Barb Young, head of the Porter County Community Foundation, for the grant to hire a coordinator for the homelessness program.

The foundation put together a 10-year plan to end homelessness in the county, but Conover said they need someone to operate the program. Porter County officials contributed $10,000 and Portage Township is adding $5,000 a year, Conover said.

"We do have homelessness in Center Township occasionally," he said. "They are not going to eliminate all of it, but if they could come up with a plan, it would be good."

On another matter, Township Board member Scott Tuft said Valparaiso schools Superintendent Michael Berta spoke at a Rotary Club meeting recently to explain the random drug testing in the schools this fall. Berta said he hoped the community would share the $700-a-month cost.

Tuft asked if the township could cover the cost of one month based on the board's responsibility to appoint one of the five school board members.

Township Attorney Dave Hollenbeck said he had his doubts whether it would be legal and asked the board to table the motion until he could study it.

The Township Board did approve a request by city Clerk-Treasurer Sharon Swihart to make direct payments to cover three fire department bills rather than forwarding the money to the city to have them paid.

The bills totaled $200,000 for ambulance and engine expenses, emergency medical service billing and turnout gear and other supplies.

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