Sparse evidence of government reform, inefficient use of dwindling resources and a pall of public corruption continue to inhibit Northwest Indiana local government in 2012, according to a new regional report.
One Region's 2012 Quality of Life Indicators Report criticizes local government agencies for failing to create action plans and ways of measuring compliance with the 2007 Kernan-Shepard Report.
The Kernan-Shepard report, compiled by a state commission pursuing government reform, recommended local government agencies operate more efficiently by, for instance, sharing and consolidating government services among municipalities.
The report also notes that while some local government units have embraced ethics reform, local taxpayers are still falling victim to unscrupulous government officials. Just last week, five past or current municipal officials and one private citizen were indicted in five separate federal public corruption cases ranging from bribery to tax evasion.
Counties, cities and towns continue to struggle with the budget-sapping realities of tax caps and a struggling economy, according to the report. It also cites two tools local government should use to stem budget shortfalls -- more efficient spending and, in Lake County, possibly enacting a local income tax.
"Governments must get real about living within their new and usually smaller means," the report concludes.