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Mayors and Commissioners Caucus of Northeast Indiana Releases 2021 Agenda

December 17th, 2020

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – 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:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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
  • Match dollars required
  • Simplify application form
  • Increase the maximum threshold on Wheel Tax and Surtax 

7. 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.

“The Mayors and Commissioners Caucus of Northeast Indiana looks forward to working with our legislative partners in these key areas with a focus on greater service to the residents and businesses of our communities. With this expansive agenda, the Caucus continues to work towards a stronger environment for the retention and attraction of talent throughout Northeast Indiana,” said Columbia City Mayor Ryan Daniel, president of the Caucus.

To learn more about the Mayors and Commissioners Caucus, visit the Regional Partnership’s website at www.neindiana.com/theCaucus.
 
About the Mayors and Commissioners Caucus
Founded in 2012, the Mayors and Commissioners Caucus of Northeast Indiana is comprised of the mayors and commissioners of the 11 counties in the Northeast Indiana region. The Caucus provides Northeast Indiana mayors and commissioners with a unified voice in advancing economic development policy matters at the state level. The Caucus uses consensus-based decision making to reach agreement and relies upon cooperation and collaboration to address the region's complex issues. To this end, the Caucus provides a forum for the discussion of common issues and multi-jurisdictional challenges, and serves as a partner and sounding board for leaders from other sectors. For more information, please visit www.neindiana.com/theCaucus.


About the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership’s mission is to build, market and sell Northeast Indiana to increase business investment. Founded in 2006, the public-private partnership strives to build a globally competitive region. The Partnership’s Vision 2030 framework supports collaborative regional efforts to increase per capita income, population growth and educational attainment by focusing on business attraction, talent attraction and talent development. The Partnership represents 11 member counties: Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley. For more information, visit www.neindiana.com.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Kate Virag
Vice President of Marketing & Strategic Communications
Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership
260.414.2431
kate@NEIndiana.com

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