Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Porter County plans tax sale in October

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For the first time since 2006, Porter County will be having a tax sale which will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 20.

The sale was announced during Tuesday night’s county commissioners meeting by Porter County Auditor James Kopp. Kopp said the compiled list includes properties which have been delinquent through 2007 pay 2008’s property tax bills.

As of Tuesday, 1,524 parcels are on the list but the numbers will most likely change as more delinquencies are either discovered or resolved, Kopp said.

Kopp said buyers can sign up for the sale on the county Web site or they can sign in on the morning of the auction sale at 7:30. The sale will begin at 9:30 a.m. and continue for the rest of the day.

County Commissioner John Evans, R-North, asked Kopp if the sale included properties in Falling Waters subdivision in Porter Twp. where the developer had defaulted on construction loans. Kopp said nearly 300 properties from Falling Waters are on the tax sale list. He also believes about 100 delinquent properties are in Marina Shores in Portage.

County officials including Kopp originally felt a tax sale would happen this year. The sale would allow the county to get funds due from the unpaid bills. Properties are eligible to be placed on the sale list when the owner fails to make the payment up to three times, usually stemming from the prior year’s spring tax collection.

Buyers would essentially “purchase” the taxes owed on a property. The delinquent owners would then have one year to redeem the parcel from the buyer by paying the bid plus a minimum of ten percent over the bid and whatever penalties included.

Kopp said certified letters will be mailed to delinquent property owners who still have time up to the sale to pay the amount owed or prove to the county the taxes have been paid. The sale list will be given to the state and will also be printed in the Chesterton Tribune, Kopp said.

Kopp said the list of delinquent properties will most likely change up until the sale as his office is finding there are some properties where either the title or legal description don’t match.

“There are a few gray areas we are seeing,” he said. “We are working with the property owners on this.”

Evans commended Kopp for his work in getting the list together. “That’s not an easy task,” said Evans.

On a different subject, Kopp also told the commissioners he expects the net assessed values for the 2010 pay 2011 tax bills to be in to the state by the end of this month. The state had given the auditor’s office the utility adjustments that will be applied to the figures given by the assessor’s office.

The Department of Local Government Finance asks that the county auditor submit the NAVs one month after the DLGF approves of the assessor’s sales ratio studies. Porter County had its sales ratios approved on Aug. 4, although the state requires approval to be made by July 1.

Commissioners Not in Favor of Assisted Living Requirement

All three county commissioners voted against a recommendation from the Board of Zoning Appeals to require the amount of persons in care in an assisted living facility of up to five adults giving oversight to the state.

Plan Commissioner Executive Director Robert Thompson said the BZA recommended the definition be included in the Unified Development Ordinance because that is the required amount the state requires to perform annual inspections of the facilities.

Evans said he did not agree with the recommendation because he did not like the idea of the state telling counties how many residents-in-care are needed in order to establish the facilities. “I don’t think they have the right to do that,” he said.

Both he and fellow commissioner Carole Knoblock, D-South, felt that better care could be given at facilities with less than five persons.

From the audience, Patricia Irwin of Lowell whose BZA case prompted the discussion said she prefers having smaller numbers as it gives the patient more privacy and one-on-one care. Irwin also wrote a letter to the commissioners asking them to expand the number of districts assisted living facilities are allowed under.

Commissioner president Robert Harper, D-Center, said his concern was that families would not have the money to place their family member in larger facilities.

“Some of these people just don’t have the money to go to these higher tech facilities,” he said.

Thompson said the assisted living facilities are to be zoned in either Institutional (I) or Multi-family Residential (R4). He said he would have to inform current facilities improperly zoned that they would either need to seek a rezoning or a use variance.

Knoblock jokingly offered her assistance. “Just call me, Bob. I’ll do it,” she said.

U.S. 6 Overlay Study Proposal Approved

Also on Tuesday, Thompson continued the discussion with the commissioners on a possible overlay study that would be implemented for development or redevelopment along the highway.

Thompson at the last meeting said the highway is one of the hottest redevelopment areas in the county and expects the area to grow with the opening of the new hospital at the Ind. 49 intersection.

Thompson had proposed to cut the scope of the study down to North Calumet Ave. to the east. The western boundary of the overlay mapping would begin at the Portage city limits. The curtailed mapping would cut the cost for the mapping by about $6,300.

The commissioners ended up approving the plan’s original scope starting with Portage proper and continue all the way to County Line Rd. at the LaPorte County boundary.

The cost for the mapping would be in the vicinity of $74,000. Thompson said he would need to find a way to obtain the funds. Harper said after the meeting he would consider paying out of the County Economic Development Income Tax funds.

Harper also believes “growth is going to come,” pointing out more people are moving to the area faster than neighboring counties, but the county should make the effort to preserve the quality of life.

In other business, the commissioners received bids for boiler replacements at the county administration building, the juvenile services center, and the courthouse.

Mechanical Concepts out of Gary placed a $469,900 bid as a lump sum for all the work. Trane, who has an office in South Bend, offered a higher bid of $564,423.

DLZ Indiana will inspect the bid proposals and offer a recommendation to the commissioners at their next meeting on Sept. 7.


Posted 8/18/2010




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