Portage mayor wants financial help from Port of Indiana for emergency services
By Matt Mikus email@example.com February 21, 2013 2:14PM
Updated: March 23, 2013 6:26AM
INDIANAPOLIS — Portage Mayor James Snyder appealed to the Port of Indiana Commission Thursday to ask for financial support for the city’s fire and police departments.
During the meeting, Snyder appealed to the port, talking about past relationships between the community and “one of the greatest industrial assets in the state.”
The Port of Indiana provides more than 6,000 jobs, but the 600-acre port does not pay property taxes. Businesses operating from within the port pay property taxes on structures and equipment.
For over 41 years, Portage helped the port by extending sewer connections and providing financial support. Now Snyder hopes the same courtesies will be offered to the city, through financial support to provide fire and police services.
“The numbers we have found show we abate to the state of Indiana to the tune of $1.3 million a year,” he said. “We have to maintain services there, and we’re not receiving anything that regular residences and businesses pay for property taxes. We’re just trying to do the best we can.”
Snyder said the purpose of the port changed in the 1980s, when it shifted from bulk shipping to a fully functioning port. That increased the number of people working there and the need for public services.
Unlike residents, ports require special equipment and procedures, said Portage Police Chief Troy Williams. That means training and equipment ranging from hazardous materials to industrial ships.
Similar large industrial companies like U.S. Steel run their own services, Snyder said, because the needs are so unique compared to residential fire and police services.
“We’ve subsidized the port for the last 41 years,” he said, and we’ll continue to do that. But we cannot continue to cover it 100 percent, and that’s why we’re coming for help.”
Snyder added they’re not seeking a specific amount, but want to hold open discussions with the Port of Indiana.