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Portage mayor pledges continued advances in city
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Portage mayor pledges continued advances in city

Portage mayor pledges continued advances in city

Portage Mayor James Snyder addresses a crowd Thursday at Woodland Park during his State of the City address. The event was sponsored by the Greater Portage Chamber of Commerce.

PORTAGE — Mayor James Snyder told an overflow crowd Thursday that his administration’s work isn’t done in making Portage the best city in Northwest Indiana.

Snyder gave his annual State of the City address at Woodland Park. The event was sponsored by the Greater Portage Chamber of Commerce.

Outlining accomplishments of his first term as mayor and introducing and thanking various department heads, employees and other elected officials, Snyder said the work isn’t over and that the city has entered the “State of Custodial Care.”

Snyder said he has formed an Efficiency and Excellence Commission tasked with finding more ways the city can become efficient and excellent.

“This committee will provide a road map of custodial care for Portage’s future,” said Snyder, announcing committee members as Jim Fitzer, Ron Necco and Porter Superior Court Judge Julia Jent.

The committee, he said, will provide the city’s own Kernan-Shepard-type report, referring to a 2007 report suggesting ways to streamline state government.

Snyder also renewed the call for Porter County to construct a county building in the city’s downtown district and called on residents to contact their county commissioners and councilmen.

“It is imperative to get that county courthouse downtown between the Fire Department and Police Department,” he said.

He also defended the city’s recent proposal to increase sanitary sewer rates, saying the city has done everything in its power to become as efficient as possible, but there is a need to raise the funds “for the sustenance and critical care of the city we love.”

Snyder also announced that Portage Police Detective Sgt. Joe Mokol has been hired as the city’s new street and sanitation department superintendent. Mokol will replace long-time superintendent Steve Charnetzky, who retired at the end of January. Mokol will start the new position Monday. He also announced the hiring of John Kolb as assistant superintendent of streets with Randy Reeder remaining the assistant superintendent of sanitation.

Snyder also said the city will be implementing a general services division that will provide maintenance operations across city properties.

He also promised those in attendance an ordinance review to change regulations that are “outdated and cumbersome,” implement an online permitting system for residents and build a “robust” code enforcement system to keep the city clean.

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Porter County Reporter

Joyce has been a reporter for nearly 40 years, including 23 years with The Times. She's a native of Merrillville, but has lived in Portage for 39 years. She covers municipal and school government in Porter County.

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