2013 Indiana General Assembly

Griffith-Calumet Twp. showdown near

2013-03-03T20:19:00Z 2013-03-03T21:30:15Z Griffith-Calumet Twp. showdown nearBy Dan Carden dan.carden@nwi.com, (317) 637-9078 nwitimes.com

INDIANAPOLIS | A House-approved proposal that could enable Griffith to separate from Calumet Township will be among the first measures considered by an Indiana Senate committee during the second half of this legislative session.

The Senate Local Government Committee, led by state Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport, will hold a hearing and take public testimony on House Bill 1585 at 1 p.m. region time Wednesday at the Statehouse.

State Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Buck Creek, is Senate sponsor of the legislation that would allow Griffith to hold a referendum on whether to leave Calumet Township and join another township if 30 percent of town voters signed a referendum petition.

Two-thirds of referendum voters then would have to support quitting Calumet Township to permit the separation.

The House approved the measure 66-32 on Feb. 12.

Calumet Township Trustee Mary Elgin has said she is working to reduce township spending below the level that would trigger Griffith's eligibility for the referendum.

However, Hershman has suggested he may amend the proposal to drop the eligibility trigger low enough to all but guarantee Griffith gets a chance to hold a referendum on leaving Calumet Township, which also includes parts of Gary, Lake Station and unincorporated Lake County.

Many Griffith taxpayers don't like that they contribute approximately $1.7 million a year to Calumet Township for poor relief, but only get between $10,000 and $15,000 back from the township.

They also note Calumet Township has a long history of financial mismanagement.

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