Making headway on a
recent call to maintain drainage throughout the county, the Porter County
Board of Commissioners gave a nod to H.J. Umbaugh and Associates to study
how a stormwater management board would operate in the county.
The study would
also investigate the implementation of a fee structure.
Talks of forming
such a board began last year between the Commissioners and County Council.
Such a board would replace the current County Drainage Board and assess a
fee on residents in the unincorporated areas to fund ongoing drainage
have tried to address drainage issues by committing $1 million in county
economic development income tax annually over the last few years but thats
hardly enough considering that a previous countywide study identified ten
major projects totaling more than $20 million in costs.
Nancy Adams, R-Center, had said the county would be able to bond for the
projects with the funds from the stormwater fee, as well as freeing up
income tax dollars to be appropriated for drainage work.
Cities and towns in
Porter County such as Chesterton have a stormwater management fee and
drainage projects could get done anywhere in the unincorporated county.
Right now the Drainage Board may only work on properties with regulated
President John Evans, R-North, said that Umbaugh will review what fee
structure would be appropriate, and added that Umbaugh will take into
account fees already assessed by conservancy districts, to ensure that
residents will not be faced with overlapping fees for the same service.
Umbaugh will also
advise officials as to when a stormwater management board could take over
for the drainage board. You cant have both, Evans said.
President Dave Burrus has supported the potential move, saying it will
generate more funding needed to continue with the ongoing improvement
agreed 3-0 to pay Umbaugh up to $15,000 for its services out of CEDIT funds.
The large dome
building formerly belonging to Natural Ovens Bakery, just off Ind. 49, will
be demolished soon.
voted 3-0 to deed the propertywhich was on the countys tax sale listover to
the City of Valparaiso, which intends to demolish the building and sell the
land parcel to an interested buyer.
The goal is not to
have a government building or a park so the property could be put back on
the tax rolls, Valparaiso City Attorney and Economic Director Patrick Lyp
Lyp came to the
Commissioners in August expressing the Citys interest in acquiring the deed
and said that approximately $1.4 million in back taxes is owed.
The dome, located
in the Eastporte Center Industrial Park near the Porter County Regional
Airport, has been mainly vacant since 2005, when Natural Ovens went
bankrupt. Ownership has been transferred a few times.
No one bid on the
property when it was offered at last Octobers County tax sale, Lyp said, and
the city will attempt to contact the owner to see if there is any interest
in somebody developing it. If not, the City plans to go to circuit court to
acquire the certificate of ownership.
Lyp said Valparaiso
will offer the Commissioners a 30 percent share of the future tax revenues
while the city would get the remaining 70 percent.
The city plans to
use its own funds to raze the dome, Lyp said.
Lyp added that it
will be the citys loss entirely if the property does not sell but expressed
confidence that it will. I think we shall have some positive results. Lyp
Yes, for the both
of us, Evans replied.
In a separate
matter, Beatrice Owen of the Porter County Substance Abuse Council reported
that, with the Drug Free Community Grant the PCSAC has received, it will
move out of the County Administration Building and relocate to 254 Morgan
Blvd. in Valparaiso, formerly the Porter County PACT office.
Owen said she
expects the move to happen as early as March 7.
also approved the following on Tuesday:
The purchase of an
interactive whiteboard worth $6,780 and S12,000 for furniture in the Porter
County Alcohol and Drug Offender Services classroom, located on the bottom
floor of the County Administration Center. The classroom will soon be used
as another meeting room for County boards like the Property Tax Assessment
Board of Appeals. The money will come out of the Commissioners CCD funds.
financial agreement with the County Tourism Bureau to disperse innkeepers
tax funds to the Porter County Parks and Recreation and three County venues
overseen by the Commissioners. The Parks will receive $35,640. The Expo
Center, the Memorial Opera House, and the Old Jail Museum will each receive
$17,820 for marketing. Innkeepers tax is 5 percent of lodging room rates in
Porter County, which the Tourism Bureau collects for the County.
Phone upgrades for
the County Surveyors office for $2,880, which will be paid out of the
Surveyors Perpetual Fund, not General Fund money. Surveyor Kevin Breitzke
said that his phone system is six years old.