New Valpo Public Works site won’t hurt taxpayers
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent March 25, 2013 10:00PM
Updated: March 29, 2013 4:10PM
VALPARAISO — A needed new site for the public works department will cost about $5.25 million dollars, but residents won’t see an increase in taxes.
Instead, city officials plan to use payments for a parks department bond that ends this year to pay for a new bond issue. And the city will build on part of 30 to 40 acres it owns behind the water reclamation plant, so land costs won’t be an issue.
It will allow a public works department that has been on the same 5.6 acres since the 1940s to have room to grow and work with other city departments.
The City Council voted Monday to hold a public hearing April 8 to determine possible costs and needs, but Public Works Director Matt Evans gave a presentation on the need for his department to leave the cramped quarters.
Trucks kept in the salt barn get corrosion, and plow trucks are kept three deep in a garage get delayed if one truck doesn’t work.
The main office built in the 1940s has uneven floors and water damage, while his office also doubles as a meeting room and break room, while his assistant’s office is where people wait for appointments.
Evans said that if the city does nothing, residents with homes having an assessed valuation of $100,000 would save about $8.42 a year in taxes from the parks bond.
Homes with an assessed valuation of more than $130,000 would see no difference because of Indiana’s property tax caps.
The city’s operating budget wouldn’t be impacted because the bond issues are outside the maximum levy.
A new site or renovation of the current site has been in the works for years, but renovation often cost as much as the property considered.
Also at the meeting, the City Council passed an ordinance creating a Fire Protection Territory with Center Township.
Emergency services won’t change, but Township residents will pay the same as city residents.
Under the territory, a $100,000 house in the city will pay an additional $3.36 in property taxes for 2014 and $2 in 2015.
Homes worth more than $135,000 wouldn’t incur an increase because of the tax caps.
In the township, a $100,000 house would see an initial property tax increase of $41.94 in 2014, while a $150,000 house would see an increase of $83.55.
In 2015, the increase will be $2 for a $100,000 home and $4 for $150,000 homes.