Porter County Administration Center

The Porter County Administration Center is on Indiana Avenue in downtown Valparaiso.

John Luke, The Times

VALPARAISO — Porter County officials received good news last week about the foundation they created to expand investment options for the $148 million in proceeds from the 2007 sale of the county hospital.

The investment earned a strong 2.9 percent return for its second fiscal quarter, bringing the total for the first two quarters to 4.4 percent, according to Amanda Black, director of client strategy at Capital Cities.

Background

The Porter County Board of Commissioners and County Council agreed unanimously in February to create the foundation.

Porter County Council President Dan Whitten, D-at-large, has said the goal is to earn 5 percent on the money each year, which has nearly been accomplished in half that time.

The plan is to withdraw up to 5 percent of the earnings each year and reinvest the balance, he said.

The council and commissioners took advantage of a new law allowing for the creation of the foundation. In addition to paving the way for more investment options, the agreement protects the principal by requiring unanimous approval from both boards to make any changes.

The money had reportedly been earning less than 1 percent under investment limitations in place before the new law pursued by state Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso.

County officials have been discussing the best ideas for the money since the funds became available with the opening of the new Porter Regional Hospital in August 2012. The county had been limited to investing in money markets, bonds and loans to other government entities.

What’s next

Whitten said last week that the council members and commissioners will decide early next year how the county will use the proceeds from the foundation and how applications will be handled from nonprofit groups interested in receiving money.

"I'm getting calls and questions," he said.

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Porter/LaPorte county reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.