PORTAGE | The Redevelopment Commission on Monday approved a lease with the county to bring county auditor, assessor and treasurer offices to the University Center.
The agreement, which must be approved by the Porter County commissioners, also will relocate the Portage Township assessor's office to the building on Central Avenue.
The county will lease space for $7,043 per month for a two-year lease with renewal options.
In addition, the commission signed a lease with the Portage Economic Development Corp. to lease space within the same area for $900 per month for two years.
Porter County Auditor Bob Wichlinski said giving the three county offices a north county presence and bringing in the township assessor is a goal of the Total Quality Management Team of Porter County.
Wichlinski said it was a goal of the team to "establish a footprint in north Porter County" to better serve residents, not only from Portage, but also Chesterton and other north county communities. By having all four offices in one space, he said, residents can more efficiently conduct business with the county.
Staffing for the offices has not been completed, but the goal is to open the offices in 2013 to allow residents to receive all the same services in Portage as they do at the county building. The lease allows for a two-year pilot program.
The space will have to undergo some remodeling. The commission authorized paying $7,000 to Holladay Properties to finish floor plans and seek quotes for the work. The commission intends to act on those quotes at its next meeting.
"This is a win-win-win situation," Mayor James Snyder said. "It will bring people from all over north county to the downtown. It will allow residents to pay bills and do business here, and it will fill the space in the University Center."
Jim Fitzer, executive director of PEDCO, said relocating his office will allow him to better promote the city. He said a job kiosk and tourism information also will be available in the space.