Ground break sets off TIF
By Christopher Paine
Star Staff Writer
Crown Point - After a great deal of effort and bi-partisan passage of
a new TIF district, Crown Point Mayor James Metros led a group
groundbreaking at the corner of 113th and Delaware on Friday, May
The ceremony was the start of a new
construction project that will lay new water and sewer lines to the I-65
and U.S. 231 development corridor. The development will be paid
for by TIF funds.
"Today we're laying the groundwork for the
kind of tax base Crown Point has long needed," said Metros.
Noting the area's potential for development and
redistribution of tax burdens, the TIF district had the support of both
the school board and the Chamber of Commerce.
The critical component to the redevelopment
project was the city's switch to Lake Michigan Water four years ago. The
change will allowed the city to pump an additional 6 million gallons of
water a day, making Crown Point more attractive to developers.
According to Larry Graham, of NIPSCO, 'We
worked closely with Crown Point to market the I-65/U.S. 231 area. The
water was the last significant development."
Graham noted that the city's recent annexation
of the area made development much more attractive.
The Opus corporation will develop the area into
a business park. The Minneapolis, Minn., based firm, working out of its
Rosemont office, has been involved in the project for a little over a
"It's very difficult to predict how long
it will take to complete the development," said Randy Tieman, vice
president and general manager of real estate for Opus' Roselawn
Tieman noted that he hoped that an announcement
on prospective businesses for the area could be announced in the near
"I think we're going to attract a great
group of quality tenants and businesses," Teiman said.
The water main extension will include nearly
14,000 feet of 20-inch water main, 20 new fire hydrants and new water
service connections along the pipeline route. Sewer extension will
include over 6,000 feet of 15-inch PVC sewer pipe, 4,433 feet of 18-inch
PVC sewer pipe and new sewer connections to all properties along the
main sewer route.
The project, to be handled by Gough
Construction of Crown Point, will cost nearly $2 million and should be
completed by Oct.15.
Teacher contract passes school board
Insurance coverage still an issue
for board members
By Sean McNab
Star Staff Writer
CROWN POINT - The Crown Point School Corporation finally came to an
agreement after a long drawn out process that resulted in picketing by
disgruntled teachers and verbal disagreements. Unfortunately, even after
the 4-0 passage of the agreement, some board members still felt that
they were short-changed.
The main issue centered on the adoption of a new
insurance plan for regular full-time teachers.
The new contract would pay 100 percent of the medical
costs of a single teacher and 87 percent of it for those that have
families with the rest being paid by the teacher. "I do not feel
comfortable with this insurance plan due to the possibilities of the
'naked risk' teachers could be subjected to. This could precipitate a
negative cash flow resulting in us paying more if the insurance rates
change," stated board member Mike McCormick.
This foreseeable problem stems from the probability
that insurance rates will rise in the coming years making those under
the 'family plan' having to pay more monetarily because of the fact that
the 87 percent coverage is a stagnant percentage.
Superintendent of Crown Point Public Schools Steve
Sprunger explained, "We are working with an independent consultant
to get the lowest cost possible for this insurance policy. Until,
though, we are able to get back to a certain amount of dollar coverage
instead of a percentage, we will always have to pay a 'naked
A possible solution, of which is the goal of almost
every school corporation, is the hopeful increase in school revenues to
offset any increase in future insurance rates.
"We need more incoming revenues to lower the
cost of this plan. One way of doing this is to make the Crown Point
schools the most desired school corporation in America," commented
Moreover, the new contract includes an 'Insurance
Committee' that will consist of teachers appointed by the Crown Point
Education Association (CPEA). The appointees will meet at least twice a
year to discuss specifications and possible recommendations that may
need to be made to amend the present plan.
Additionally, another issue of contention was annual
salary increases with each of the next school years having different
For the school year 2000-2001, salary increases will
be based on an average percentage increase as published by the Indiana
Education Employment Relations Board (IEERB) on December 31, 2000. As
for the following year, that of 2000-2001, the salary schedule will be
the same percentage as determined by the IEERB using 120 contract
"Of the 120, we will not compute into the
average the 10 highest salaries or 10 lowest. We felt that because we
could not agree on a percentage increase, using the state average by the
IEERB was our next best option," added Sprunger.
Still unimpressed with the new contract, board member
Charles Kleinschmidt stated, "The teachers within this school
corporation deserve better than this."
The ratification of this contract took place on May
10 of this year with it's culmination on that of August 14, 2002.