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Valpo to pay consultant for new 20-year strategic plan

Updated: March 13, 2013 6:20AM



VALPARAISO — The city plans to pay a consultant $200,000 from its Riverboat Fund for a new strategic plan.

The City Council had the first reading of the ordinance to allocate the money on Monday and will have the second reading at its Feb. 28 meeting.

The Columbus, Ohio, firm of ACP Vision and Planning will team up with Burgess and Niple, which has a Columbus office, to create the plan between June 2013 and June 2014.

Mayor Jon Costas said the city needs input from the residents on what direction to go, compared to when he became mayor 10 years ago.

“We’re at a point now where what needs to be done is not so obvious,” Costas said.

The 20-year strategic plan will have goals for the next five years, the next 10 years and the next 20 years and is one of the most involved for a city of Valparaiso’s size to undertake.

“This is a plan that will service as a compass for this council, this administration and many more to come,” he said.

The firm will begin study in June and have public meetings come fall for residents, businesses and others to give input.

City Planner Tyler Kent said city staff chose ACP from three finalists including Houseal Lavigne Associates of Chicago and Ratio of Indianapolis.

The city received 15 to 20 proposals.

Kent said that the city will put the onus on ACP rather than do it in-house and have it a city plan.

Although Council Member Joey Larr was concerned that a local or state firm didn’t get the job, Council Member Deb Butterfield saw that as a plus.

“Sometimes fresh eyes can give us a different perspective,” said Butterfield, who was part of the committee that chose ACP.

The council voted to pay ACP $100,000 this year and $100,000 next year.

The council also had the first of three readings to combine Valparaiso and Center Township into a fire protection territory.

The township and city attempted to do this last March, but the Department of Local Government Finance said in the fall that they hadn’t published the tax rates right.

The territory status will help equalize what township residents pay with what Valparaiso residents pay.

A $100,000 home in Valparaiso would see an estimated $3.36 property tax increase in 2014, a $2.02 increase in 2015 and $2.06 increase in 2016.

A $100,000 township home would see a $41.94 property tax increase in 2014, a $2.02 increase in 2015 and $2.06 increase in 2016.



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