© 2024 Lakeshore Public Media
8625 Indiana Place
Merrillville, IN 46410
Public Broadcasting for Northwest Indiana & Chicagoland since 1987
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

House bill seeks to increase county funding to NIRPC


The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) would get more money from its member counties, under a bill in the Indiana House.

Since 1992, Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties have paid NIRPC 70 cents per resident each year. House Bill 1251, authored by Rep. Hal Slager (R-Schererville), would increase that to $1.50, then require annual adjustments based on the consumer price index or tax levy growth quotient.

NIRPC Executive Director Ty Warner says that local funding returns four times that amount in federal funds. "There's literal federal money on the table that we should be able to access that we cannot because we are limited by how much local share we receive," Warner said during Thursday's NIRPC meeting.

But before the bill makes it through the House Ways and Means Committee, Slager wants support from the county councils that would have to come up with the extra money. That's proving difficult, since there's a short timeframe in this non-budget session, and county councils typically meet only once a month.

The LaPorte County Council addressed the issue at its annual organizational meeting. For Lake and Porter counties, NIRPC may have to settle for letters of support from individual council members.

Warner said NIRPC has tried a couple of times to get its county funding increased, but this is the closest it's gotten. "This is getting to be a more and more challenging budget situation every year for us to provide the regional services that we're not only happy to provide but actually required to provide," Warner added.

During Thursday's NIRPC meeting, Warner noted that 70 cents in 1992 money is only worth 30 cents today, meaning the organization is able to do less and less each year.

Michael Gallenberger is a news reporter and producer that hosts All Things Considered on 89.1 FM | Lakeshore Public Media.