Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Indiana Municipal News Today

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Merrillville looking to possibly shrink the parks department to just one employee in an effort to cut costs for 2010. This comes on the heels of recent investigation into a possible Indiana Distressed Unit Appeals Board (DUAB) filing, which may not be possible. The DUAB was created as an appeals mechanism when property taxes were capped at 1,2 and 3 percent by the legislature. Municipal entities in Indiana that are affected "may" be able to file for assistance in delaying the impact of this legislation. Our team worked with the City of Gary on their successful filing in 2009 which assisted them with the transition.

Yesterday was the first day of operation for the Mishawaka to Elkhart interurban trolley service.

Portage to release it's comprehensive plan: From the Times

After months of work, the city's newest comprehensive plan is ready for review.

The plan, which is a road map guiding city officials on development, will be formally presented to the Plan Commission during a special meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at City Hall.

"There are not a lot of huge changes. We got down into some more details than the 2002 plan," said City Planner Joe Csikos, adding the plan takes more of a look at new development, rehabilitation of some of the older areas of the city and infill opportunities.

One focus for the future, said Csikos, is to not create any more subdivisions - the typical single-family residential developments on half-acre lots with similar houses dotting the streets. Instead, the plan focuses on creating neighborhoods within the city that are a mix of uses, vital developments with considerations for walkability, said Csikos.

Development of the newest plan began last summer when the city hired the consulting firm of SEH Inc. of Munster. A committee of officials, business members and residents also was formed. The committee held two public open houses to gather information and conducted a survey of residents on how they wanted to see their community develop.

That information is contained in the draft comprehensive plan. Csikos said the draft plan is available online for review at www.sehinc.com/online/portage/ and a copy is available at the planning office at City Hall.

Csikos said the public will have a chance to comment on the proposed plan at Thursday's meeting. If the commission approves the document, it will be forwarded to the City Council for consideration at its Oct. 6 meeting.

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