Porter County commission, jobs group can work together
By Amy LAvalley Post-Tribune correspondent September 23, 2012 6:24PM
Updated: October 25, 2012 6:08AM
VALPARAISO — The Porter County Redevelopment Commission and the county’s Jobs Cabinet should be able to work together to spur job growth in the county.
That was the message during the Redevelopment Commission meeting last week, when Bill Hanna, the Jobs Cabinet’s facilitator, gave the commission an update on the cabinet’s progress.
The Jobs Cabinet formed in January to look at how to create jobs in the county, and the Redevelopment Commission was re-established earlier this year with the statutory powers necessary to recommend tax increment finance districts and other matters.
“I think it’s fortuitous that they’re happening in tandem,” Hanna said, adding the two bodies can work together.
The mission of the cabinet, Hanna said, is to determine how to position the county for more jobs, the role of county government in job creation, and to give elected officials and the Redevelopment Commission ideas on how to better use the county’s resources.
A survey of 120 to 150 business and community leaders on what they think is important revealed health care, industry and tourism as among the points to focus on for job growth.
One of the next steps, Hanna said, will be offering up case studies on these types of businesses from places in Indiana and Illinois that are similar to Porter County.
The cabinet does not presume to know what elected officials want, Hanna said, and is not making decisions for them, but offering them “a catalog of options” for job growth.
Hanna expects a final report from the cabinet to come together by the end of the year.
“We hope to give you something that’s very usable,” he said.
The cabinet was set up to dissolve 12 to 18 months after it was created, though the cabinet can continue to serve the county in an advisory capacity after that if county officials so wish, Hanna said.
The cost of the cabinet is at least $100,000, with 75 percent of that funding coming from the county.