Officials from Porter County said they will consider filing a new lawsuit with the Indiana Supreme Court after the state Court of Appeals last week declared the county could not withdraw from the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority.
The court’s decision affirms an earlier decision by the Jasper Circuit Court. Local newspaper reports said Porter County Council members might consider the issue at a special meeting March 14.
The county had voted to leave the RDA in April 2009, saying the six-year-old state law that created the regional development authorities is unconstitutional because it forces counties to participate.
Lake County is the only other county to participate in the development authority. Each county is required to contribute $3.5 million in annual dues.
Last year, the Jasper court ruled the county was prohibited from leaving the authority. The county appealed the decision and lost its appeal last week.
“The Indiana Court of Appeals’ decision affirming the lower court will hopefully mark an end of the litigation and a beginning of a new spirit of regional cooperation for the mutual benefit of all in Northwest Indiana,” state Attorney General Greg Zoeller, who represented the RDA, said in a statement. “We respect the sincerely-held views of the plaintiffs who had concerns regarding their long-term commitment to the RDA, but it’s time to move ahead together.”
The seven-member RDA has about $30 million in projects ongoing in Porter County, a local report said.