Portage mayor highlights first year of accomplishments
By John Robbins Post-Tribune correspondent February 28, 2013 12:43PM
Updated: April 2, 2013 6:26AM
PORTAGE — “This is fun,” Mayor James Snyder said to the assembled seniors at Portage High School as he prepared to give his State of the City address to the combined government, social studies and history classes early Thursday morning.
Recounting the major accomplishments of the past year Snyder attributed much of the success to local elected officials working together. He issued a call to Washington politicians to, “Come to Portage to see that divided government is not broken.”
Among the achievements cited during his first year of office, Snyder identified reducing the size of the work force by 8 percent, changes in garbage collection and recycling, and changes in employee health care benefits as contributing to strengthening the city’s financial picture. These actions “have laid a foundation for future success,” Snyder said.
Turning his focus to the coming year, Snyder identified securing revenue from the Port of Indiana — Burns Harbor facility to pay for city services they currently receive at no cost.
Calling the port “the greatest industrial asset of Indiana,” Snyder is seeking, either through negotiation or legislatively, at least partial repayment for what he says is an estimated $1.8 million in costs associated with providing fire and police protection.
“We have no problem subsidizing the port, we just can’t do it at 100 percent anymore,” he said.
Holding up a set of keys purportedly from Don’s Motel, which was recently acquired by the Portage Redevelopment Commission, Snyder pledged to finish a U.S. 20 corridor plan later this year. Snyder links the development of the corridor as “the next generation of job growth in Portage.”
Snyder called for the Portage Port Authority to begin managing the properties of the Redevelopment Commission and is seeking to acquire the Marina Shores development, thereby making Portage “the second largest marina city on Lake Michigan.”
“We have a lot to do, a lot to accomplish,” said Snyder. He closed by challenging the students to think big and asked them to help make the city a better place by volunteering.