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Funds given to Porter County PACT

Updated: February 15, 2013 6:06AM



VALPARAISO — While the Porter County Board of Commissioners confirmed the amount of money Porter County PACT is getting from interest on the sale of the hospital to purchase a new building, President John Evans, R-North, had a few words of warning during Tuesday’s meeting.

“Part of this is going to involve ongoing maintenance and care of the building you’re in, and you need CEDIT funding for that,” Evans said, referring to the County Economic Development Income Tax. “The county has no CEDIT funding at this point in time.”

Both the Porter County Council and the commissioners have agreed to give PACT, which offers programs to offenders referred to participate through the court system, $600,000 in hospital sale interest money for the purchase of Legacy Banquet Center, 1356 Lincolnway.

The agency now has offices in two homes in a residential neighborhood, and moving to the new property – renovations should be complete in March – will provide more room for expanded services.

The agency will require $139,000 a year in CEDIT funds for new hires, programming and other needs, and commissioners still don’t have access to the budget passed by the council on a split vote in October, Evans said.

“All the maintenance agreements we’re funding with it – every time you turn around, you’re not going to have money to fund it without CEDIT,” Evans said.

Other funds, including cumulative capital development, which provides for things like sheriff’s department vehicles, also are affected, he said.

He is hopeful the matter can be resolved with the council. Council members on Monday pledged to have more open communication and a better relationship with the commissioners.

In other matters, Evans retained his seat as president as the commissioners reorganized and new commissioner Laura Blaney, D-South, is serving as vice president.

Additionally, commissioners voted to retain all of the county’s department heads for the year. Michelle Smith, who has been operating the Memorial Opera House on an interim basis, was named the facility’s permanent director.

Lastly, commissioners will be moving their meeting time from 2 p.m. to 1 p.m. to better accommodate people traveling from downstate – and the Eastern Standard Time – to meet with the board.



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