Archive for October, 2008

Golf Courses Seek Reclassification as Farmland

Indiana golf course owners plan on asking the Legislature to classify their businesses as agricultural, rather than commercial property.

Under the new property tax cap system, agricultural land receives a 2% cap, while commercial land receives a higher 3% cap.

If successful in their efforts, golf courses stand to save on their property tax bills. One local course estimates a potential $14,000 savings. However, St. Joseph County estimates the change could cost the county around $100,000.

WSBT-TV: Should golf courses be considered farmland?

14 comments October 16th, 2008

EQSC Completes 2008 Meetings

The Environmental Quality Service Council (EQSC) has completed its 2008 meetings, and the final report should be available online soon.

I had the opportunity to serve as chairman of this interim study committee this year. We received some informative testimony about a range of important environmental and energy issues that the Legislature will be likely dealing with next year.

At our final meeting on October 8th, we were able to unanimously agree to the following recommendations for inclusion in the final report:

Water and Wastewater Infrastructure. The EQSC recommends that the General Assembly support an updated study on funding water and wastewater infrastructure needs through a variety of funding sources.

E-Waste. The EQSC looked at existing E-waste programs in Indiana and other states, including the distribution of costs and landfill bans. After hearing testimony, the EQSC recommends to the General Assembly expanding opportunities for E-waste recycling and looking at the roles of manufacturers, retailers, and consumers with the goal of making it more widespread and convenient.

Energy Code. The EQSC recommends that the General Assembly and the administration direct the Indiana Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission to examine the Indiana Energy Code and look to updating the code with input from a broad group of stakeholders.

Green Building Standards. The EQSC recommends that the General Assembly find ways to encourage the adoption of green building standards, including Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Green Globe, or an equivalent standard, in publicly funded construction projects.

CAFOs. The General Assembly should adopt the confined feeding good character disclosure and enforcement requirements contained in SB 431-2007, amended to allow IDEM to consider a permit applicant’s compliance history outside the United States.

The recommendations do not include everything I would have liked to have seen, particularly regarding CAFOs and Green Building Standards. However, I think it is important the committee be unanimous in its recommendations, and this was the consensus we were able to reach.

I will post a link to the final report, which includes summaries of the testimony from each meeting, when it becomes available.

2 comments October 15th, 2008

Courts Commission Minutes on Elected Judges in St. Joe County

On October 3, 2008, the Commission on Courts held a hearing on the issue of elected judges in St. Joseph and Lake Counties. The minutes to that meeting have now been posted, and give a good overview of how the discussion went. I am a member of the Commission again this year, and was glad to take part in a lively debate on the topic.

The Commission will not vote on it’s final report until October 24, 2008.

October 3, 2008 Courts Commission Minutes
WNDU coverage of the meeting (with video)

1 comment October 14th, 2008


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