Governor Signs Calumet Township, Gary Bills Into Law
Governor Mike Pence signed into law last Friday afternoon the House bill that would allow the town of Griffith to secede from Calumet Township over what town officials say is excessively high poor relief spending.
House Bill 1585 put Township Trustee Mary Elgin on notice that if she cannot rein in her office’s spending practices, the state may do it for her by appointing a fiscal manager. Elgin says her poor relief spending practices aren’t as burdensome what the State Board of Accounts reports state. Calumet Township must meet a tax rate threshold, based on the new law. If it cannot, the state’s Distressed Unit Appeal Board would take over its accounting procedures. The town of Griffith could secede from Calumet Township if two-thirds of the town’s voters approve — and it could happen as early as 2016.
Governor Pence also signed Senate Bill 585 on Friday, which thaws the Lake County property tax levy freeze… sets qualifications for Gary-Chicago International Airport board members… and calls for studies of economic development projects. They include a new Lake Michigan port and a trauma center at Indiana University Northwest in Gary. State Representative Charlie Brown of Gary says the proposal had the support of every lawmaker, because the closest Indiana trauma center is in South Bend and currently, paramedics must take most trauma cases to Illinois hospitals.