The big question of
what to do with the $159 million in sale proceeds from the sale of Porter
hospital will be discussed at a joint meeting of the Porter County Council
and the County Commissioners, at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the Commissioners’
Chambers, 205, at the County Administration Center, 155 Indiana Ave. in
announced in January that the Porter County Community Foundation can
guarantee a return of 5 percent on the investment of those funds in an
endowment. With $100 million of proceeds, the County could net $5 million of
additional revenue per year, Commissioner Nancy Adams, R-Center, said.
In traditional U.S.
Treasury bonds, the hospital sale money generates closer to $1 million per
year annually. Since the sale in 2007, the proceeds have netted a total of
approximately $11.6 million in interest.
The Council, for
its part, has discussed the use of hospital interest to fund the basic
functions of county government, as there is reportedly a $5 million hole in
the 2014 General Fund.
from Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman will be on hand at Wednesday’s
meeting to discuss their memorandum on options for the investment of the
In that memorandum,
Hall Render makes note of three options that would likely bring additional
benefit to the county.
The first, and
preferred, option would be the creation of a county-controlled non-profit
corporation, which would establish its own endowment fund. That endowment
would, by resolution, allow the council final say over how the income would
be used, including any distribution to the General Fund.
Under this option,
the county could award grants to non-profit organizations like Opportunity
Enterprises, the Porter County Council on Aging, and the Family and Youth
Investing the funds
in the Porter County Community Foundation would be a second option, the
memorandum states. This could be advantageous because the County would not
have to go through the time and expense of obtaining tax-exempt status to
create its own foundation.
While the council
would have control over how the money from the endowment is spent, it would
have limited control on how the endowment is invested.
The third option
would be the investment of the funds in Indiana Municipal Securities, which
would earn a higher rate of return while encouraging economic development,
the memorandum said.
include appropriating money to the Porter County Redevelopment Commission,
using the funds to support economic development projects, and persuading the
Indiana State Legislature to form a bond bank for the county.
Under Chapter 3.07
of the Porter County Code, the unanimous support of both the Commissioners
and the Council is needed to spend or invest the sale proceeds.