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