Request for 5-year commitment to One Region sent to CP budget committee
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent August 11, 2013 10:18PM
Updated: September 13, 2013 6:12AM
CROWN POINT — A request for a five-year commitment of $5,000 annually to One Region has been referred to the City Council’s budget committee.
On Aug. 5, Dennis Rittenmeyer, executive director of One Region, appeared before the council to explain the organization’s mission and seek a commitment of funding to help the organization achieve its goals. The budget committee will meet Aug. 26 to consider the 2014 budget and Rittenmeyer’s request at that time.
One Region was formed almost two years ago from the merger of the 16-year-old Quality of Life Council and the One Region One Vision initiative started five years ago by The Times Media Co., which provides financial and in-kind support. One Region does not directly receive tax dollars, but is funded by donations and corporate sponsorships, Rittenmeyer said.
Money raised is used to pay for the four work products One Region produces, including the Northwest Indiana Quality of Life Indicators report every four years, its annual meeting, summits including a healthcare summit later this fall, and other initiatives.
Councilwoman Carol Drasga, R-5th, said she would like to see a more detailed explanation of how the money collected will be spent before making a commitment. She questioned what the city would get in return for its financial support.
“You’re asking for a lot of money. What are the benefits for Crown Point?” Drasga asked.
Rittenmeyer said One Region isn’t about Crown Point separately but what can be done as a region together.
Mayor David Uran said the region is only as strong as its weakest community. Uran said the city benefits from strong regional relationships. Two years ago when the city was hit by severe storms that downed trees everywhere, the relationship with other municipalities resulted in assistance in the form of workers and trucks to quickly clear the debris, he said.
“What we got was measureable not by dollars but by workforce,” Uran said.
Rittenmeyer said so far One Region has financial support of corporate donors including Northern Indiana Public Service Co., Luke Oil, BP and Community Hospitals, the Anderson Foundation, along with commitments from the region’s colleges and universities to provide $5,000 a year for five years. The agency is asking the 11 cities of Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties for their support as well.
So far in 2013 East Chicago, Gary, Hammond, Valparaiso and Whiting have committed the funds. LaPorte, Michigan City and Hobart were unable to make a commitment in 2013, Rittenmeyer said. Portage has referred the matter to its Redevelopment Commission, which has yet to decide. The towns of Munster and Schererville have committed $3,000 and $1,000 respectively.
Rittenmeyer said One Region is seeking multi-year commitments where possible so less time is spent on fundraising. The office has one full-time employee, Rittenmeyer, and a part-time worker.
“We want to put (fundraising) to bed and concentrate on programming,” Rittenmeyer said, adding that it has so far taken over a year to do the initial round of fundraising.