M'ville councilman says board appointees should own property

2014-03-12T20:45:00Z 2014-03-12T22:39:06Z M'ville councilman says board appointees should own propertyChas Reilly chas.reilly@nwi.com, (219) 662-5324 nwitimes.com

MERRILLVILLE | Town Councilman Richard Hardaway has proposed an additional rule for people interested in serving on Merrillville's boards and commissions.

Hardaway thinks Merrillville should require members of boards and commissions to be property owners in addition to being residents in the town.

No decisions were made about the proposal during Tuesday's council meeting, but Hardaway asked Merrillville's Council Affairs Committee to review the matter.

That committee, which is led by Councilman Don Spann, handles proposed ordinances considered by the council.

Hardaway said he is pursuing the measure following concerns brought up by residents regarding the requirements for those who are appointed to Merrillville's boards and commissions.

"It's just the right thing to do," he said of his proposal.

Hardaway said homeowners fund Merrillville's operations through their property taxes, and he thinks decisions affecting the town would "carry more weight" if they are made by residents who own property.

Clerk-Treasurer Eugene Guernsey said he thinks creating the additional requirement would discriminate against residents who rent in Merrillville.

Guernsey also said renters indirectly contribute to property taxes paid by their landlords through their rent payments.

Hardaway said adopting the proposed ordinance would "hold board members and commissioners to higher standards."

There is at least one board in Merrillville that has a renter serving on the panel, but the total number of boards and commissions that would be affected by the proposal wasn't immediately available.

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