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BusINess » Bill Dolan

Posts Tagged ‘Bill Dolan’

‘Land baron’ takes on Lake County’s tax system

This abandoned industrial building at 2800 E. Dunes Highway in Gary is one of approximately $10 million in properties that Andrew L. Young, an Illinois investor, owns in Gary and surrounding areas. (Photograph by Dan Shelton/The Times.)

This abandoned industrial building at 2800 E. Dunes Highway in Gary is one of approximately $10 million in properties that Andrew L. Young, an Illinois investor, owns in Gary and surrounding areas. (Photograph by Dan Shelton/The Times.)

Most Northwest Indiana residents line up and pay their taxes annually without a whimper.

The few thousand who put up a fight must play by the taxing authority’s rules—troop to its office, fill out its paperwork and plead their case to its hearing officers.

Not Andrew L. Young.
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Is Lake County stuck in property tax freezer?

Lake County taxpayers have reason to be thankful this holiday season, Councilman Larry Blanchard said.

The state-imposed freeze on the property tax levy—the total amount of taxes local and county government can collect—spared the businesses and homeowners from having to pay an additional $43 million this year, according to Blanchard’s calculations.

He said the freeze is projected to produce even more savings—$65 million—in the new year.
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Lake budget balanced with pink slips

Lake County officials plan to eliminate 116 jobs from their payrolls December 3 to balance the 2011 budget.

“This is for real,” Dante Rondelli, the County Council’s finance director, said Wednesday of the austerity moves. He spoke at the final workshop meeting of the seven-member fiscal body that will reassemble today to cast a final vote on next year’s spending goals.

The County Council demanded the cuts to eliminate a looming $9 million deficit created by a state-mandated freeze on increases in the county property tax levy and caps on the highest amount the county can tax individual property owners.
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International firm looks at Lake County for wind power

Lake County is on the wind atlas of an international alternative-energy firm.

County Executive Planning Director Ned Kovachevich said Thursday that Windlab, of Ann Arbor, Mich., is asking the county council to give it permission to build a 196-foot meteorological tower east of Lowell to measure wind data.

“They have to take as much as three years’ measurements to decide whether they want to build a utility-grade wind farm,” Kovachevich told council members.
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Bayh to leave Congress

U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., speaks with reporters Monday in Indianapolis after a news conference announcing he will not seek re-electio. Bayh, a centrist Democrat from a Republican-leaning state, is serving his second six-year term in the Senate. (Photograph by AJ Mast/The Associated Press.)

U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., speaks with reporters Monday in Indianapolis after a news conference announcing he will not seek re-electio. Bayh, a centrist Democrat from a Republican-leaning state, is serving his second six-year term in the Senate.
(Photograph by AJ Mast/The Associated Press.)

U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh said he is leaving a safe Senate seat to the changing fortunes of politics because he is fed up with Congress’ inaction and political games.

“My decision should not be interpreted for more than it is: a very difficult, deeply personal one,” Bayh said.

Both Republicans and Democrats suggested he was cutting and running at a time when Democrats will be hard-pressed to maintain their commanding majority in the Senate.
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County OKs $7M for about 100 contractors

County officials have spent recent weeks talking about job cuts and sacrifice in the wake of declining tax revenues and a bad economy, but the Lake County Board of Commissioners guaranteed a happy new year for more than 100 professionals doing business with the county.

The commissioners handed out $7 million in contracts this week to consultants, lawyers and vendors who sell services and materials to county government.

Commissioner Fran DuPey, D-Hammond, voted against them, saying she objected to the new format of having Commissioner President Roosevelt Allen, D-Gary, read them all aloud, over nearly a half hour, and then cast one vote on about 100 contracts at once.
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County layoffs could cost $2 million in unemployment

Shrinking local government comes at a cost.

Dante Rondelli, the council’s finance director, said Tuesday he is budgeting between $1.5 million and $2 million to pay unemployment benefits that federal law mandates must be paid for as many as 150 employees whose jobs are planned for termination.

The council is in the midst of responding to state-mandated tax cuts and reduced collections associated with an underperforming economy by cutting its 2010 spending levels by 15 percent, primarily through job cuts.
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Too many lawyers, too few jobs?

If you want to get a laugh out of Diann Lapin, who recruits students for Valparaiso University’s 130-year-old Law School, just ask her if there are too many lawyers—particularly in these economically-depressed days.

“Any time the big law firms have cut backs, you start reading in the press that there are too many lawyers. But no one knows the answer to that question including the American Bar Association, the authoritative research group,” Lapin, executive director of law school admissions, said.

She said the career aspirations of its students haven’t been overruled by the stern job market. “There are some of our graduates getting jobs in big law firms. The vast majority of our students go into small to medium-sized firms and into business, government and social service because they are the people who best understand policy issues related to our culture.

“Law over the years has become a much broader-based pursuit than just practicing in a law firm,” Lapin said. She said the university doesn’t send its students out in the world until they have an inkling of how to find gainful employment.

“We start in the first year by helping them put together a legal resume. Our students also do internships and externships. They get actual practice in the law while they are here. We offer a number of networking opportunity with our alumni.”
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Downsizing by choice from government to private practice

(Photograph by Natalie Battaglia.)

(Photograph by Natalie Battaglia.)

Eric Oden Clark used to be a big-city lawyer. For several years in the 1990s he represented the city of Gary. “I started off as assistant city attorney and worked my way up. We helped bring about some reforms that are still carried on today,” he said.

Then he moved into a private practice in Gary, then moved to a law office in Merrillville. Today, he practices personal injury, litigation and family law in an office just big enough for him and his secretary, located in the more diminutive community of Schererville.

Clark said, “A lot of the big law firms are migrating to the suburbs. Schererville has a lot of business growth and one of the largest per-capita incomes in the state if not the country. Law firms go where the business climate is advantageous to them. You look around Schererville and you see car dealerships, movie theaters, restaurants. In Schererville most of what you are looking for is available as opposed to some other communities that are struggling.”

Clark is one of a small number of black lawyers who have made the successful move to a private practice in the suburbs. His office overlooks the bustling intersection of U.S. 30 and U.S. 41. “Most blacks who come out of law school go into public service, the state or the county or set up their own shop. When I started, there were no blacks with large law firms. For some reason, they don’t hire minority lawyers,” Clark said.
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