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Highland hikes sewer rates; hires new cop

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Highland Town Hall

Shown is the Highland Town Hall.

HIGHLAND — The Highland Town Council has unanimously approved a rate increase for stormwater and wastewater processing, a hike of about 56%.

"It will have an approximately 20% impact" on consumer bills, said Councilman Tom Black, R-4th.

Clerk-Treasurer Michael Griffin said the increases are effective Feb. 1.

The increase is necessary to run and maintain old systems, but was delayed by the previous council three years ago, Black said.

"It's never easy raising rates because we understand the impact it has on people living on a fixed income, especially during COVID," he said. "But unfortunately this had to happen now because it had been put off for so long."

The council also approved a new salary ordinance that includes a 3% increase for town employees, not including the council members and the various appointed boards and commissions.

The raise also goes to the clerk-treasurer, police and fire chiefs, along with the paid, on-call firefighters.

"This is a long overdue raise in pay," said council President Mark Schocke, R-3rd.

In other business, Kenneth Norsweather became Highland's newest police officer. He was sworn into office Monday night. 

The 26 year-old moved to Gary at the age of 5 and is a graduate of Griffith High School.

He was a member of the National Guard for six years with the last three at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Norsweather said he just left the Guard on Dec. 18 to join the Highland Police.

"Thank you so much," he told the council after each member congratulated and wished him well.

He will be in training between the (Northwest Indiana Law Enforcement) Academy and Highland Police Department until mid-August, Assistant Police Chief Patrick Vassar noted.

Building Commissioner Ken Mika also reported that the Plan Commission will be sending its official notification to the council with a recommendation to rezone Scheeringa Farms for a proposed senior citizen housing complex.

The recommendation should reach the council sometime next month.

Resident Larry Kondrat spoke against the recommendation.

"The Plan Commission shunned and disregarded" the wishes of Highland residents, he said. "It's not needed or wanted in this town."

Recent arrests booked into Lake County Jail

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