Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Oral arguments for RDA appeal set for January 20

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The Indiana Court of Appeal has set a date and time to hear arguments for the Porter County Council’s decision to appeal a ruling by a Jasper County Circuit Court judge that asserts the county does not have legal grounds to leave from the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority.

Attorney Mitch Peters, who is representing the county in the appellate court, said the oral arguments are scheduled to be given on Jan. 20 at 2:00 p.m. EST.

Filing a written case argument in September, Peters said the county council makes the argument that the county was entitled to withdraw when the legislation establish the RDA was created in 2005 by the Indiana General Assembly. The second argument is if the county does not have the authority to withdraw, the law should be considered as special legislation.

“It’s a complicated argument but the constitution provides that laws have to be applied equally. Here, that’s not the case,” said Peters.

Representing the RDA is the Indiana Attorney General’s Office who made the argument in last January’s Jasper County Court hearing that the legislation and its subsequent amendments never indicated a right to withdraw for Porter County and its other members: Lake County, the City of East Chicago, the City of Hammond, and the City of Gary.

Jasper County Court Circuit Judge ruled on April 9, almost a year after the Porter County voted 4-3 in 2009 to revoke its membership, that the current law prohibits withdrawal. Council members argued since they voted to “opt-in” to the RDA, they should “opt-out,” but Potter’s ruling stated the council voted only on a funding mechanism for leveraging its required $3.5 million allotment for its membership, never voting to join the RDA.

The council on April 16 voted 5-2 to appeal Potter’s ruling to the Indiana Court of Appeals.

Peters said he is prepared to give his argument in January but expects that whichever side prevails at the appellate court, the other side will appeal, meaning the case will eventually make its way to the Indiana Supreme Court.


Posted 11/15/2010




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