Porter County Redevelopment gets some power at last
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent June 6, 2012 12:34PM
Updated: June 7, 2012 6:28PM
VALPARAISO — The Porter County Redevelopment Commission finally has some teeth.
Tuesday, the Porter County Board of Commissioners repealed the county code that established an advisory commission, and gave a first reading to one that gives the commission statutory powers to recommend tax increment financing districts, among other tasks. The commission would not have the authority to impose taxes.
Porter County is the only county in the state with a redevelopment commission that lacked the statutory powers to do anything outside of an advisory capacity, said John Shepherd, the commission’s director.
“I’m seeking clarification on the roles of the plan commission and the redevelopment commission and how it works,” said Valparaiso resident Herb Read. “As a member of the plan commission, I want to have this clarified when and if it comes up.”
If the redevelopment commission recommended a TIF district, for example, the proposal would go to the plan commission and, if it passed muster there, go on for approval to the county commissioners, Bob Thompson, executive director of the plan commission, said.
The commission will have five voting members, Thompson said. The board of commissioners will appoint three members and the Porter County Council will select two. A sixth, non-voting member will come from one of the county’s school corporations.
The reformulated commission is particularly important as the county’s need for infrastructure grows to meet the demands of new business, especially between Meridian and Old Calumet roads, Shepherd said.
“We need to be read to serve,” he said.
In other business, Porter County Clerk Karen Martin’s office is contracting with Indianapolis-based Eagle Accounts Group to collect around $500,000 in outstanding fees from traffic violations.
Martin said her office is in the process of going through the citations that have not been collected and are on suspension mode. Her office does not have the staff or the time to handle the collections.
Representatives from Eagle Accounts said they will be paid a percentage on top of what they collect. The agency works with 96 municipalities across the state.