Portage mayor asks port to pay for city services

2013-02-21T18:45:00Z 2013-02-22T07:41:03Z Portage mayor asks port to pay for city servicesDan Carden dan.carden@nwi.com, (317) 637-9078 nwitimes.com
February 21, 2013 6:45 pm  • 

INDIANAPOLIS | The Indiana Port Commission didn't cut a check Thursday after Portage Mayor James Snyder argued the Port of Indiana should pay for city-provided police and fire service, but they didn't rule out doing it someday.

"We're going to look at what was presented and some of the facts related to how the ports operate and see what makes the most sense going forward," said Jody Peacock, vice president of the state port agency.

Snyder wants to work out an arrangement that would have the port, which does not pay property taxes, pay the city at least a portion of the $1.8 million a year Snyder said the city spends to provide public safety services to the port.

"We're not here asking for a handout," Snyder said. "The type of fires and incidents we have there are like nothing else in the city, and we need to be trained and ready for what goes on there."

The mayor said Portage responded to 66 fire calls and more than 300 police incidents at the port over the past three years, along with five major fires or explosions at Beta Steel in the past decade.

Those incidents used the entire resources of the Portage Fire Department, leaving the rest of the city temporarily unprotected, Snyder said.

Legislation that would have required the port to pay Portage for city services did not advance out of an Indiana House committee this month.

State Rep. Rick Niemeyer, R-Lowell, the sponsor of House Bill 1507, said he will try to amend other Senate-approved legislation when it gets to the House to include a port payment requirement.

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