Griffith awaits Pence's signature on township bill

2013-05-07T21:45:00Z 2013-05-07T22:40:04Z Griffith awaits Pence's signature on township billBY CHARLES F. HABER Times Correspondent
May 07, 2013 9:45 pm  • 

GRIFFITH | The town is waiting for the final step in its quest for financial relief from Calumet Township — the signature of Gov. Mike Pence.

With HB-1585 being passed by both houses of the Indiana General Assembly, the governor's signature would place the bill on the books.

"It went to the governor's office last Saturday," Griffith Clerk-treasurer George Jerome said during Tuesday's Town Council meeting. He noted that the governor has seven days to act on the bill.

Pence also has the options of vetoing the bill or simply letting it become law without his signature.

Jerome said some "political powers in Gary and areas of Indianapolis" have been urging Pence to veto the bill.

"The indications we have is that he will not veto the bill," Jerome said. "So we are hopeful that, by Saturday, we will have a signed bill."

Known downstate as "The Griffith Bill," it would require the township to trim its assistance property tax rate to 12 percent of the state average.

The current rate is 20.47 times the average.

If it fails to do this, the state would take control of the spending.

If this fails, Griffith voters would hold a referendum in 2015 on whether to leave the township.

Griffith taxpayers give $1.7 million annually to Calumet Township for poor relief, but only gets between $10,000 and $15,000 in return.

If the voters choose to leave, the town would join an adjoining township, Griffith officials have said.

In other business, the council said Lake County communities have received very little information about the financial and logistical impact of the state ordered 911 consolidation.

A Griffith committee was formed to seek enough information for the council to make informed decisions, said Council Vice President Rick Ryfa, R-3rd.

"We have reached out to some of our counterparts in other municipalities and it appears many share our same concerns," he said.

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