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Council tweaks committee to look at Legacy projects

There will be a committee that reviews potential projects to be financed with Legacy money.

That committee, though, won’t look exactly the way Mayor Tom Henry’s administration pitched it to look.

The City Council made some amendments to and ultimately passed a resolution to form a committee that would review projects from private and non-profit organizations seeking the use of Legacy Funds, which comes from the sale and lease of the city’s old electric utility.

The council changed the number of members in the committee from seven to nine and evened the number representatives from the mayor’s administration, the council and citizens.

“What’s at stake is the equality of two branches of government,” said John Shoaff, D-at large, who introduced some changes to the resolution.

When Henry’s administration introduced the idea of a review panel, the committee had seven members: three from the administration, two from council and two citizens – one each appointed by the administration and council.

Now, though, the committee will have nine members.

Three will be from the administration, three will be from council and there will be three citizens.

The administration and council will appoint one citizen each, and the eight other members of the committee will appoint the third citizen.

The committee is designed to review “shovel ready” or almost shovel ready projects, according to city officials.

In its original conception, a mayoral administration member would preside over the committee.

But the new resolution calls for the committee to elect its own chairman.

The resolution passed 9-0.

In a related matter, Geoff Paddock, D-5th, and Tom Didier, R-3rd, introduced a resolution seeking $1.6 million in Legacy money to build up to four baseball fields for the WorldBaseballAcademy.

The academy is a local non-profit that, for three straight years, has generated more than $1 million in economic impact for the city, according to officials. The Hoosier Classic, a youth baseball tourmanment, is the cornerstone event for the academy.

In other business, Councilman Mitch Harper, R-4th, introduced a bill that calls for the mayor’s administration to notify council in a “timely manner” when a collective bargaining agreement has been negotiated and ratified.

Harper claims that past contracts have been ratified and never presented to Council for months. Officials with the mayor’s administration have said they do present these contracts in a timely manner.

This summer, council made it so only public safety employees with the city can use collective bargaining.