For generations, mayors and elected officials in Portage have worked tirelessly and made significant investments in creating a vibrant downtown Portage. This vision has resulted in significant success, which has been the result of hard work, leadership and boldness. Many Porter County residents who do not frequent Portage would be elated by the changes just over the past three years.

Portage simply seeks to continue to build off of this success, dream and vision by seeking cooperation and dialogue with Porter County commissioners in regard to relocating the North Portage County Annex Building.

It is very difficult to debate feelings, personalities and misnomers, so Portage leadership and Porter County Council members agreed that Portage would conduct a fact-based study to present the commissioners.

The study bore out that moving the annex downtown in conjunction with Portage City Hall would be less expensive, would last longer, would provide better county services, would service and be closer to more north county residents along with north county’s growth, would create hundreds of long-term jobs and would provide tens of millions of dollars in economic development, which would result in lower taxes for all Porter County residents.

Instead of reading and debating the study, commissioners chose to call it names, threaten its author, refer to my federal indictment and disparage all Portage elected leadership. Portage's elected leadership has maintained a kind and thoughtful outreach, while commissioners have continued to bully and refer to unsubstantiated facts to news media outlets.

They have never, ever spoken to Portage officials about the study.

The facts are friendly to Portage in our plan, and we will continue to fight for Portage and north county residents who deserve better county services.

Cities, the Porter County Council and the county commissioners each have an appointment to the Regional Development Authority. These appointments are tasked with long-term economic redevelopment, and all three bodies of government have entrusted these appointments to represent our governments at the RDA.

It would be advantageous to request these appointments to review the study and give fact-based opinions to both the city and county in regards to this discussion.

Portage supports the $30 million county bond issue; more importantly, we support and insist on good dialogue that is substantiated in fact to ensure the money is invested so north Porter County residents see the best return.

This conversation is about jobs, service, savings and great government.

James Snyder is the mayor of Portage. The opinions are the writer's.

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