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9-member panel will filter bids for Legacy

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 nonprofit 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 of representatives from the mayor’s administration, the council and residents.

“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 the council and two residents – one each appointed by the administration and the council.

Now, though, the committee will have nine members: Three will be from the administration, three will be from the council and there will be three residents.

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

The committee is designed to review shovel-ready or almost shovel-ready projects, city officials say.

In its original conception, a mayoral administration member would preside over the committee. But the new resolution calls for the panel 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 World Baseball Academy.

The academy is a local nonprofit that, for three straight years, has generated an economic boost valued at more than $1 million for the city, according to officials. The Hoosier Classic, a youth baseball tournament, 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 the council in a “timely manner” when a collective bargaining agreement has been negotiated and ratified.

Harper says past contracts have been ratified and never presented to the council for months. Officials with the administration have said they do present these contracts in a timely manner.

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