Chesterton Tribune

Town seeks route for Dickinson Road project

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With all the attention in recent weeks being paid to the improvement of the South Calumet Triangle, a person could be forgiven for forgetting that the extension of Dickinson Road—from south of the Northfolk-Southern right-of-way north to Indian Boundary Road—has been one of the handful of projects to which the Chesterton Redevelopment Commission formally dedicated itself when the tax increment financing district was originally established.

At its meeting Monday night, the commission re-dedicated itself to the project. Members voted 4-0 to instruct Town Engineer Mark O’Dell to prepare a study—only in the most general terms—of the possible routing of the Dickinson Road extension.

“It doesn’t even need to be at the drawing level,” Member Mike Bannon told O’Dell. “I think this is prudent,” Member Dave Canright, managing editor of the Chesterton Tribune, said. “It doesn’t obligate us to move in any particular direction or speed.”

Bits and Pieces

•By consensus members agreed to change the time of their regular meeting—on the fourth Monday of the month—from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

•Members voted 4-0 to approve a claim of $29.12 for a legal advertisement published in the Chesterton Tribune. Canright said that, on advice of legal counsel, he voted for the motion because he has no ownership stake in the Tribune and was under no statutory obligation to recuse himself.

•By consensus members agreed to schedule an executive session at 6 p.m. March 6 for the purpose of discussing the purchase of real property.

•Clerk-Treasurer Gayle Polakowski told the commission that John Julien of H.J. Umbaugh & Associates, the town’s contracted financial consultant, is currently reviewing the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance’s projection of the final 2005 TIF disbursement: in the neighborhood of $46,000. “That figure seems awfully low,” she said.

•Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann informed members that the final decision to award a contract for the preliminary engineering or Phase I of the South Calumet Triangle improvement project will be theirs because TIF funds have been earmarked to pay for it. The commission will have the option of interviewing one or more of the four firms which responded to the request for proposals issued by the Town Council in January, he added.

Last Thought

Canright took an opportunity at the end of the meeting to voice his view of the relationship between Chesterton’s TIF district and new development: there isn’t any, at least no necessary one.

Due to the ongoing confusion at the state level in the wake of court-ordered property reassessment—he might have mentioned specifically but did not the Department of Local Government Finance’s apparent low-balling of the town’s final 2005 TIF disbursement—no one venturing to argue in favor of any new commercial or industrial development should think to cite the benefits which would accrue to the TIF fund.

As a matter of principle, Canright said, “no strategic decision in town should be based on expectations of TIF revenues.”



Posted 3/1/2006