Board wants County Council to comply on redevelopment panel

2013-03-05T12:06:00Z 2013-03-05T21:05:13Z Board wants County Council to comply on redevelopment panelBob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com
March 05, 2013 12:06 pm  • 

VALPARAISO | The Porter County Board of Commissioners took action Tuesday designed to force the County Council to better comply with the intended makeup of the Porter County redevelopment commission.

The board amended the establishing ordinance to require if the presidents of the County Council or commissioners appoint a person to serve on their behalf, there is to be one person serving a term of one year.

The change was made because there have been various people representing the council president at the meetings, said Commissioner President John Evans, R-North.

Consistency is important for the commission, he said.

The ordinance was also amended to require that citizen members appointed by the commissioners or council are not elected officials. Evans said the council filled its citizen appointment with member James Polarek, R-4th.

"So we will have a truly citizen member," Evans said.

County Council President Jeremy Rivas, D-2nd, could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

The revamped redevelopment commission is targeting the U.S. 6 corridor near the new hospital as a potential site to test out its new power to create a tax increment finance district. Once a TIF district is approved, any new revenue from commercial development in that area is captured and used exclusively for improvements within the designated allocation area.

In a related matter, the Board of Commissioners approved a resolution Tuesday calling on the Indiana Department of Transportation to conduct a comprehensive traffic study with the goal of widening the stretch of U.S. 6 in the area of the new hospital at Ind. 49.

The volume of traffic in the area has increased and Evans said the narrowing of U.S. 6 from the west is significantly slowing ambulance traffic.

Also Tuesday, the commissioners agreed to dip into local income tax revenue to purchase a $127,717 sound system for the Porter County Expo Center from Broadway Music.

Expo Director Ken Blaney said improvements are needed to the facility's sound, audio and lighting systems.

The improvements will allow the Expo to widen the types of business it can attract, he said. 

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