Lack of quorum cancels tonight's Hammond City Council meeting

2013-04-22T00:00:00Z 2013-04-22T09:32:05Z Lack of quorum cancels tonight's Hammond City Council meetingChelsea Schneider Kirk chelsea.schneider@nwi.com, (219) 933-3241 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND | A Hammond City Council meeting set for tonight, where a resolution opposing a county income tax was on the agenda, is canceled because of a lack of quorum.

City Council President Michael Opinker, D-5th, confirmed the meeting was canceled Friday, but said the decision had nothing to do with the resolution proposed by Councilman Bob Markovich, D-at large.

Opinker said council members are dealing with flooding in their basements and constituents' basements after heavy rainfall the past week.

“There's not really anything on there that needs attention at this moment,” Opinker said. “There's nothing that can't wait I should say.”

He said council members will bring up Markovich's resolution the next time they meet. Council members also were scheduled to discuss a combined $526,041 in appropriations to the Hammond Public Library.

The next regularly scheduled council meeting is scheduled for May 13.

“To be honest with you I don't even know why (Markovich) is bringing that resolution out due to the fact it has nothing to do with the Hammond City Council,” Opinker said. “It's county.”

Markovich said he's proposing the resolution because he has questions on how the tax may impact Social Security and other payments county residents receive, such as child support.

Regardless, Markovich argued the City Council should meet tonight to address issues residents had with flooding.

“We represent 80,000 people, and if one or two councilmen claim they have water in their basements, I have water in my basement that I'm cleaning up,” Markovich said. “I have a responsibility, and they have a responsibility to conduct city business.”

The Lake County Council approved a 1.5 percent county income tax on first reading this month, but the proposal needs a second vote, in support, before moving to the Lake County Board of Commissioners.

The next regularly scheduled County Council meeting is May 14, and County Council President Ted Bilski said no meetings are scheduled this week on a second reading vote.

Bilski, D-Hobart, said council members are observing the final days of the Indiana General Assembly, where lawmakers may decide to lift the Lake County property tax levy freeze that was originally enacted six years ago because of the county's failure to adopt an income tax.

The General Assembly is set to end by April 29.

Councilman Homero “Chico” Hinojosa, D-6th, said Opinker, as council president, has the right to cancel the meeting if he finds out five council members can't be there.

“We still should have the right to find out who those five were,” Hinojosa said.

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