ILNews

Porter County can't leave RDA

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A northwestern Indiana county can’t withdraw from a regional development authority created by lawmakers to facilitate economic development, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday.

The  Porter County Council sought declaratory judgment that it has the ability to withdraw from Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority. The RDA, created by the General Assembly in 2005, is funded by mandatory payments from Porter and Lake counties, and the cities of Gary, East Chicago and Hammond. The council voted to withdraw from the RDA in April 2009; in response the Legislature passed two amendments in June 2009 stating that if Porter County ends its membership in the RDA, municipalities in the county could join and thereby require the county officials to continue to pay county economic development tax revenues to the RDA.

The trial court granted RDA’s motion for summary judgment and denied the council’s motion for summary judgment, finding the relevant statutes don’t contain an express or implied right to withdraw. It also vacated a partial settlement agreement between the council and the county auditor and treasurer in which they had been depositing the tax revenues into an escrow account instead of paying the RDA. The court ordered the auditor and treasurer to make all future payments to the RDA as required by statute.

The Court of Appeals affirmed in County Council of Porter County v. Northwest Indiana Regional Dev. Authority, et al., No. 37A04-1004-CT-291, holding Porter County can’t withdraw from the RDA. It pointed to the fact when the statute was first created, it contained specific instructions that only applied to Porter County. Porter County was automatically made a member of the RDA when the legislation was enacted, wrote Judge Ezra Friedlander. Even though the legislation creating the RDA is silent about participating counties’ ability to withdraw from the RDA, the judges found that the General Assembly had the ability to write the legislation to include a withdrawal provision, but did not.

“… we conclude the amendments, which it should be noted were passed by a different legislative body, i.e., the 116th Indiana General Assembly, were legislative responses to Porter County’s attempt to withdraw from the RDA, or more specifically, to Porter County’s attempt to escape its financial obligations under the RDA Act,” wrote the judge.

The judges also held that the council waived its argument that if the original legislation establishing the RDA Act is construed so as to forbid the county’s withdrawal, it is unconstitutional special legislation. The council didn’t present that claim to the trial court; instead, it challenged the constitutionality of the provisions that required the county to pay RDA fees regardless of whether Porter County withdrew its membership.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

ADVERTISEMENT