Transit Expansion Makes Traveling to Chicago Easy
To give commuters even more options, the City of Valparaiso has introduced Transit Connect , which will run between Valpo’s Transit Center (260 Brown St.) to the South Shore’s Dune Park Station. The new Transit Connect service launched August 1 and will be offered free through October 31. Transit Connect offers six daily departures from 260 Brown Street and six departures from Dune Park Station to Valparaiso, with weekday and weekend schedules differing to coincide with South Shore train schedules. Parking at Valparaiso’s Transit Center is free and the Transit Connect buses will offer free Wi-Fi as well as TV monitors that will allow passengers to track South Shore trains in real time. For a complete Transit Connect schedule, visit valpotransit.com . Valparaiso’s South Shore Transit Connect service is funded through federal grants with support from NICTD. Local matching funds are coming from the Valparaiso Redevelopment Commission with service offset by commuter revenue. 
Market Meet-Up Opportunities Continue through October
City departments have been visiting the Valparaiso Market monthly since June in an effort to connect with more residents. Our August booth featured Human Resources, Redevelopment Commission and the Clerk-Treasurer's Office. Residents were asked to offer their input on top spending and employment priorities. Our HR department found that salary and benefits are a top priority to most job-hunters and our spending priority poll will remain open. What will you cast your vote for - sidewalks, streets, parks or public safety? Come visit us on September 3 to vote and connect with Valpo Parks, Project Management and the Community Engagement department. Learn more.
Neighborhood Workshop Summary Available
To further promote neighborhood engagement, the City of Valparaiso hosted a Neighborhood Workshop on July 30. The Workshop provided an opportunity for neighborhood representatives to connect, learn from each other and become more familiar with available neighborhood services (like our Neighborhood Toolkit and Neighborhood Improvement Grant ). The Workshop brought together 37 participants representing 21 neighborhoods. Feedback from the Workshop tells us that neighborhood groups see value in coming together with one another and 100% of respondents learned something new that they plan to try in their neighborhood. New ideas were discovered around involving volunteers, social events, city services and communication ideas. View the detailed Workshop Summary to learn more.
Back to School Traffic and Safety Reminder
Now that school is back in session, we want to remind our residents of the role we all play in ensuring children get safely to school. Familiarize yourself with school start and stop times (so you can be extra diligent looking for kids on the sidewalks and roads), know where crosswalks and school zones require you to slow your speed and do not practice distracted driving. Remember, state law requires motorists to stop when a school bus is picking up or dropping off children. Watch for school buses with their stop arm extended and red lights flashing, which means stop, not proceed with caution. This law applies to all roadways except those that are divided by a physical barrier or an unimproved median. Let's work together to ensure that our school-aged neighbors get to school safely!
Council Corner
Council Corner provides a sample of updates from City Council and Board and Commission meetings in a quick, easy to read format. Please note that full agendas and minutes can be found by visiting our website - the search box is a great resource to find what you're looking for! If you have additional questions or comments give us a call at city hall.

  • The City Council held a first reading, public hearing and suspended rules to approve amendments to Municipal Code concerning prevention of contractor tax fraud and the issuance and Retention of building permits. Additionally, the Council held a public hearing to support an application to the state for blight clearance for the proposed Learning Library Plaza. The Council also discussed the City's Rental Housing Ordinance (City Council 8/12).
  • The Redevelopment Commission presented a mid-year budget review and had an update on the ANCO complex development including residential, transit and Journeyman Distillery (Redevelopment Commission 8/8).
  • The Plan Commission approved a primary plat for a six lot subdivision and held a presentation and public hearing on amendments to the Unified Development Ordinance (Plan Commission 8/13).
  • The Traffic and Safety Committee discussed a number of items including visibility concerns at certain intersections, requests for street lights and the possibility of adding new bike lanes to help connect to downtown (T&S Committee 8/16).
2020 Budget to be Introduced to Council in September
As city officials, we often get questions about the city's budget process and how funding decisions are made. Preparing the budget is a process of matching needed expenditures for the upcoming year with available funds and resources. Municipal tax levies, the total amount of property taxes cities are allowed to collect and use, are restricted by the state, which means that we cannot arbitrarily raise property taxes to cover everything we want to fund. For 2020, the increase allowed is 3.5% above the 2019 budget amount. (The 2019 budget allocated $34,349,164. View this one-pager for a snapshot of 2019 revenue and expenditures.) To make up the difference between budgeted expenditures and the tax levy, miscellaneous revenue is added, which includes revenue like building and zoning permits, gas tax, interest on investments, payments in lieu of taxes, emergency services/ambulance charges, license excise tax and park revenue, just to name a few. 

To prepare the budget, the Clerk-Treasurer begins by examining our current year budget to understand our existing financial situation. From there, Indiana Code prescribes a procedure for formulating city budgets:
  1. Each department head prepares an estimate of expenditures for the coming year.
  2. The Clerk-Treasurer prepares an estimate of revenues and expenditures not covered under the departmental budgets.
  3. The City Administrator meets with the Clerk-Treasurer and department heads to review and revise estimates.
  4. The Clerk-Treasurer prepares a report for the Mayor of estimated departmental budgets, revenue, financial statements and projected cash for all funds. (In Valparaiso we have a total of 9 funds: General Fund, Motor Vehicle Highway Fund, Parks & Recreation, Valparaiso Fire Territory, Valparaiso Fire Territory Vehicle Replacement, Debt Service, Cumulative Capital Development, Fire Pension and Police Pension.)
  5. The budget is then presented to City Council. The Council holds three public meetings on the budget. In 2019 those meetings will be held: September 23 - Introduction; October 14 - Public Hearing; and October 28 - Final Adoption.
  6. After the budget is adopted it is submitted through the Indiana Gateway. During the months of November and December the Department of Local Government Finance conducts further hearings on local government budgets as a further opportunity for public input on a unit's budget.

Note that municipal budgets are decided and driven by local elected officials. Beyond advocating or commenting at a public hearing, this is how our residents are able to weigh in significantly on the process. The Mayor, Clerk-Treasurer and City Council are truly responsible for these funding decisions and each Valparaiso voter gets to weigh in on five out of nine of those positions. For questions or more information about the city's budget process, contact the Clerk-Treasurer's Office at City Hall.
Neighborhood Watch
Neighborhood Watch celebrates our neighborhoods by sharing stories of success, highlighting completed projects and more. Contact us to share a story from your neighborhood!
Members of the city's leadership team completed a Neighborhood Walk through Concord Woods on August 8. We had the chance to connect with several neighbors and hear their ideas including desired pathway connections and storm water drainage improvements.
The Valparaiso Police Department celebrated National Night Out on August 6. VPD visited several neighborhoods including Keystone Commons, Concord Woods, Jessee-Pifer, Pine Creek, Hawthorne, Audubon, Meridian Woods, Oakgrove, Fairfield Greens and Lexington Green . This annual event brings residents together with VPD members in a positive, fun way.
Neighbors from Banta are celebrating the delivery of their neighborhood branding sign toppers that were funded through the 2018 Neighborhood Improvement Grant. The signs will be installed by Valparaiso Public Works at 20 different street sign locations over the next several weeks.
Valparaiso Creative Council Launches Creative Portal
The Valparaiso Creative Council has launched a new Creative Portal website to connect arts happenings with the community. The Portal allows local individuals, arts and cultural organizations, venues and business partners to create profiles and promote events to the public in one accessible online location. This tool collects arts organizations’ calendars and information “under one roof” and provides a searchable, user-friendly platform for a wide range of users to learn about and engage with the local arts of Valparaiso and greater Porter County. The Portal will give greater visibility to all of Valparaiso’s arts offerings by allowing the public to find out what’s going on in one place. Whether searching for art classes for children, an outdoor musical event or calls for art and auditions, the public can use this resource as a one-stop shopping for arts offerings and events in our community. Questions? Contact info@valpocreates.org .
Reminder - Mayor Costas Farewell Celebration August 17 and Popcorn Festival September 7
Valparaiso Events is hosting a Farewell Celebration for Mayor Jon Costas on Saturday, August 17 from 5-8pm at Central Park Plaza. Celebrate Valparaiso’s success with Mayor Costas, complete with free carnival rides for the kids, live music and other family friendly activities. Local restaurants will be selling your favorites, plus there will be free dessert for all – to recognize 16 years years of success under the leadership of Mayor Costas. Learn more.
The Valparaiso Popcorn Festival continues to offer family-fun activities for all ages. Over 250 arts & crafts booths, 35 food booths, kids’ games, five-mile Popcorn Panic, two live music stages and the nation’s first Popcorn Parade are only the beginning of the excitement of this incredible festival.This long-standing community tradition will return September 7, 2019 for its 41st year! View the detailed Festival Brochure, brought to you by the Valparaiso Events team, to make sure you don't miss out on any of the fun!
Meet Your City
Lauren Orchard, Assistant Director of Economic Development
Lauren is the Assistant Director of Economic Development, working for the City since 2016. She is a graduate of Wheeler High School and holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Geography from Valparaiso University. Lauren volunteers as an Adult-Beginner English teacher with Compass International Family Center and is President of Rotary Satellite, a young-professional group that volunteers with local non-profits. In her free-time, Lauren enjoys running, hiking and watching sci-fi series. 

Meet Your City allows our residents to learn more about city staff, board and commission members and neighborhood leaders throughout the community.
Calendar and Helpful Links
Check our calendar regularly to stay up to date on our public meetings. The most current agendas and minutes can be found on our website by selecting the board or commission that you are most interested in under the “City Government” tab. Upcoming meetings of note include:

Special Events:

Quick Links:
City Talk Now is brought to you by the City's Community Engagement Department.  Contact us with any questions or feedback.

City of Valparaiso  | 219-462-1161 | 653 Hayes Leonard Rd, Valparaiso, IN 46383