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Porter County can't leave RDA

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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.

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  1. All the lawyers involved in this don't add up to a hill of beans; mostly yes-men punching their tickets for future advancement. REMF types. Window dressing. Who in this mess was a real hero? the whistleblower that let the public know about the torture, whom the US sent to Jail. John Kyriakou. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/26/us/ex-officer-for-cia-is-sentenced-in-leak-case.html?_r=0 Now, considering that Torture is Illegal, considering that during Vietnam a soldier was court-martialed and imprisoned for waterboarding, why has the whistleblower gone to jail but none of the torturers have been held to account? It's amazing that Uncle Sam's sunk lower than Vietnam. But that's where we're at. An even more unjust and pointless war conducted in an even more bogus manner. this from npr: "On Jan. 21, 1968, The Washington Post ran a front-page photo of a U.S. soldier supervising the waterboarding of a captured North Vietnamese soldier. The caption said the technique induced "a flooding sense of suffocation and drowning, meant to make him talk." The picture led to an Army investigation and, two months later, the court martial of the soldier." Today, the US itself has become lawless.

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