South Bend Tribune
6:56 PM EDT, September 12, 2012
SOUTH BEND -- A proposal to repeal the county's tax abatement ordinance, introduced by Republican County Council member Dale DeVon back in 2010, is dead.
By a vote of 8-2, the council on Tuesday approved a motion to withdraw the proposal.
DeVon made the motion after a previous motion, to table the proposal for another month, was voted down along party lines, 6-3.
DeVon made that motion, as well.
"I'm disappointed," DeVon said afterward.
The District C council member has long opposed the county's tax abatement ordinance, which ties abatement in the county to certain wage requirements.
He and the other two Republican council members at the time voted against it back in 2009.
DeVon introduced the proposal to repeal the ordinance back in December 2010, intending to replace it with a less restrictive, countywide ordinance. A committee consisting of county and city officials and the Chamber of Commerce is working on such an ordinance now.
In voting not to table the proposal Tuesday, Democrats on the council set a trap that DeVon could not get out of. The vote left the Republican with three options: withdraw the proposal, send it back to committee or put it up for a vote.
A motion to send the proposal back to committee would have been defeated, DeVon said, and he wasn't ready to bring it up for a vote.
"I thought if I let it go forward for a vote and it gets defeated, which it would have, then I can't do anything for six months," he said.
Council rules dictate that a proposal that is defeated by the council cannot be reintroduced for six months.
Left with no other options, DeVon decided to withdraw the proposal.
"Now at least, if we come up with (a replacement ordinance) within the next six months, we can look at bringing it forward earlier rather than later," he said.
Commenting on the council's decision to force action on the proposal, Rafael Morton, president of the council, said, "I think the thought was that this has been an ongoing process for a while now, and we needed to bring it to a vote."
In other business Tuesday, the council voted to rezone a portion of the former St. Joseph's High School property from single family district to university district.
The University of Notre Dame and the Brothers of Holy Cross now own the property, which sits partly in the city and partly in the county.
The university plans to use the former school building as swing space, and the Brothers of Holy Cross plan to incorporate the rest into the campus of Holy Cross College.
The South Bend Common Council voted to rezone the other part of the property, inside city limits, last week.
The County Council next meets at 7 p.m. Oct. 9 on the fourth floor of the County-City Building, 227 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Staff writer Erin Blasko:
Copyright © 2013, South Bend Tribune