Commissioners put hospital endowment talks on hold

2013-07-31T12:05:00Z 2013-08-01T10:40:04Z Commissioners put hospital endowment talks on holdBob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com

VALPARAISO | The Porter County commissioners have called off a meeting for Tuesday with the County Council on the idea of placing $159 million from the 2007 sale of the county hospital in an endowment and using just the proceeds.

Porter County Commissioner Nancy Adams, R-Center, said she and her two peers on the board discovered they needed to conduct more fact-finding before hosting the meeting.

"There's a lot of questions that came up we don't have the answers to," she said.

The commissioners have called a closed door meeting for 12:45 p.m. Tuesday, but the session is reportedly about litigation unrelated to the hospital fund issue.

Porter County Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, invited members of the County Council last month to come together to discuss the potential of placing the hospital sale money in a protected endowment and use the proceeds to address funding challenges.

The endowment would not only generate more money than current investments, but it also would fulfill the wish that the principal is never spent, he said.

The same law firm that represented the county in the sale of the hospital was to host Tuesday's informational meeting, Evans said.

While the county has several options if they choose to put proceeds from the sale of the county hospital into a protected endowment, only one guarantees money winds up back in the county's coffers and under the control of elected officials.

That option calls for setting up an endowment through the nonprofit Porter County Community Foundation, President Barbara Young has said.

Distributions from this sort of endowment would go directly back to the county's general fund, she said. If a private foundation or supporting organization is created, a board would be established, with or without elected officials, to decide how distributions from the money are spent.

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