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INDIANAPOLIS — Griffith may gain another year to complete its voter-approved exit from high-tax Calumet Township by joining either North or St. John townships in Lake County, or establishing the town as its own township.

The House Government and Regulatory Reform Committee on Wednesday amended House Bill 1177 to give Griffith two years, until November 2020, to transfer townships, instead of the one-year requirement in current law.

The revised legislation, which was approved 9 to 3 and now goes to the full House, also deletes a prohibition on Griffith merging into another township during 2019, and instead permits a township change any time after July 1.

Griffith Town Council President Rick Ryfa said he hopes the extra time will encourage North and St. John township officials to rethink their refusals to absorb Griffith.

"We've clearly illustrated that North Township would see a nice influx of cash from us, especially in 2020 when the tax caps take their full effect," Ryfa said. "That would certainly soften the blow for them."

State Rep. Chris Chyung, D-Dyer, whose House Bill 1227 making Griffith its own township had stalled at the Statehouse, said he partnered with state Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster, and other stakeholders to find an acceptable short-term alternative.

"We will work together locally in the coming months on a solution that is less disruptive than creating an entirely new township," Chyung said.

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