Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021

Mayors, Commissioners releases 2021 agenda

Posted: Friday, January 8, 2021

Source: Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership

The Mayors and Commissioners Caucus of Northeast Indiana released its 2021 legislative agenda. The Caucus, which includes elected officials from the 11 counties in Northeast Indiana, meets regularly to collaborate on economic development issues, legislative advocacy and other matters of common interest within the region. Key focuses include improving the region’s interstate accessibility, rural broadband, and permitting and zoning processes.

“The 2021 legislative agenda of the Mayors and Commissioners Caucus of Northeast Indiana is a collaborative effort of 11 counties and 18 municipalities to ensure a prospective approach in fostering economic development and quality of life initiatives for the citizens we collectively represent,” said Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters, chair of the Caucus’ Legislative Committee.

The agenda focuses on the following legislative priorities: Broadband Access and Connectivity – The Caucus supports the expansion of resources to increase access to broadband and expand connectivity for Northeast Indiana, including funding to expand access to high-speed, reliable internet. Cyber Security Infrastructure and Support – Local governments are facing increased attacks to their technology networks, and the Caucus proposes the creation of Indiana Civilian Cyber Defense Corp (InC3) to create civilian defense networks to protect local government. U.S. Highway 30 Funded – The Caucus calls for the State to determine how to fund the conversion of U.S. 30 to a freeway. The conversion will have a positive impact on economic growth in the area, supporting the creation of more than 10,500 jobs over a 20-year period and adding $942 million to the real personal income and $959 million to the gross domestic product of the region.

Also included in the agenda is Regional Development Authority Structure – The Caucus calls for the investment hubs pilot in central Indiana to be expanded statewide. Current RDA practices are an effective means to strengthen regional collaboration, and the Caucus supports public policy that promotes collaboration before competition between local government units and strives to promote strategic investments befitting regional economies. Public Access Rules Flexibility – The Caucus supports the modernization of public access rules and requirements, which allows local communities to have the flexibility to enact public access rule changes at the local level for local health or natural disaster emergencies.

Motor Vehicle Funding Restore MVH/LRS distribution to 2016 levels. Restore gasoline tax distribution to the method utilized prior to 2017; increase thresholds for the Community Crossings program; relax application restrictions for Community Crossings program and match dollars required; simplify the application form and increase the maximum threshold on Wheel Tax and Surtax and the last item on the agenda  is to Establish 2030 Commission or Task Force – The Caucus supports the statutory creation of a commission or task force to support the progress towards Northeast Indiana’s Vision 2030 goals.

“The Mayors and Commissioners Caucus of Northeast Indiana is a unique collaboration of elected officials from all 11 counties in Northeast Indiana. The 2021 Legislative Agenda will support regional economic growth in Northeast Indiana. Each of the priorities they have identified is a critical component that will allow communities to support growth locally and regionally,” said Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, and chair of the Senate Committee on Tax and Fiscal Policy. “Speaking with a unified voice, we can advance economic development in ways that benefit the entire region.”

The Caucus works together to advance the region by: developing consensus positions on key issues facing the region and advocating for their adoption by other levels of government; monitoring policy at the local, regional, state and federal levels; informing discussions and partnering with private, nonprofit and public sectors to implement change; providing a forum for the resolution of differences among the region’s jurisdictions; and providing opportunities, through dialogue, for enhancing personal relationships and building trust among the region’s municipalities.