VALPARAISO | Porter County Commissioner President John Evans has invited members of the County Council to attend an Aug. 6 meeting to discuss the potential of placing sale money from the county hospital in a protected endowment and use the proceeds to address funding challenges.
While the current arrangement would require the unanimous support of both boards to dip into the larger principal portion of the hospital funds, Evans said the commissioners potentially could gain control over the funding by approving a new ordinance.
He said he hoped it would not come to that.
County Councilman Jim Biggs, R-1st, said he agrees it is time to come up with a plan for the hospital proceeds, but he opposes the suggestion that the commissioners eliminate the requirement that they and the council unanimously agree on an approach.
"I think that's absolutely critical that that remain," he said.
Evans had suggested the idea of the endowment to The Times in August, when the new Porter Regional Hospital opened and the sale proceeds became available.
He suggested an example Tuesday of placing $100 million in an endowment, which he said would generate $5 million a year to be used by the county. The amount to be used is up for consideration, he said.
Evans said earlier this month the county is sitting on $170 million in principal and interest from the hospital sale.
Some of the interest from the hospital funds is already being spent to benefit local social service agencies, Evans said.
The endowment would not only generate more money than current investments, but would also fulfill the wish that the principal is never spent, he said.
The same law firm that represented the county in the 2007 sale of the hospital will host the August informational meeting, Evans said. The entity that will manage the endowment is up to consideration.