VALPARAISO | The Porter County Board of Commissioners kicked off the year Tuesday by granting final approval to spend $600,000 of interest money from the sale of the county hospital to purchase and renovate a building for the PACT alternative sentencing program.
Initial approval for the funding to purchase the Legacy Banquet Center, at 1356 W. Lincolnway in Valparaiso, was granted Monday night by the County Council.
PACT is still in negotiations with the county for ongoing funding of about $160,000 a year to fund various programs inside and outside the jail, said Sharon Mortensen, executive director of PACT Inc., which operates in nine counties in the state.
The funding, which would come from local income tax revenue, could be used to reactive the GED program at the jail, as well as fund electronic monitoring and day reporting, she said.
None of the income tax money will be used to operate the new building, Mortensen said. PACT has enough funding to move forward with that part of the project.
The new building will more than double the available space that PACT currently has at the two houses it is operating out of at on South Morgan Boulevard and Brown Street in Valparaiso, she said.
The plan is to close on the purchase of the new building by the middle of the month and move in by the end of March or beginning of April.
PACT saved the county about $1.9 million last year by diverting offenders from jail and putting them in its day reporting and electronic monitoring programs, according to the group. The group also claims to have saved the county $214,900 by diverting offenders from jail and supervising them in the county's adult drug court.
PACT served 2,000 clients last year.