Christine Savarese, district manager of the Merrillville Conservancy District, said she'll have to shuffle her budget to cope with the loss of $500,000 that was targeted to phase out an ailing sewage treatment plant that serves 1,000 homes in Wright Manor, Bon Aire and Innsbrook subdivisions.
Rep. Chester Dobis, D-Merrillville, said he's
been expecting O'Bannon to make a budget-cut announcement and wasn't surprised by his
plan to hit lawmakers' hometown projects.
"The (MCD) sewer project is not an emergency.I'm disappointed that we got to this point, but I'm not surprised that this happened."
The long-time lawmaker said these cuts don't mean the projects will be forgotten."I'm optimistic when we go back to special session sometime this year, once we resolve the budget crisis, all of these projects will be restored."
With the state money, Savarese
hoped to relieve homeowners of a $9 surcharge on their monthly bills to offset the project cost.That surcharge likely will have to continue now, she
Sen. Samuel Smith Jr., D-East Chicago, said he's
glad the cuts are directed at a variety of statewide projects rather than just education."He
(O'Bannon) has to do what he
has to do," Smith said."If that's going to help balance the budget, let's balance the budget."
O'Bannon trimmed $200,000 from GEMS Inc.
, a group started by Smith to help encourage high school students to attend college and to prevent students from quitting school or getting into trouble. He
hopes to continue the efforts of the East Chicago group, launched in 2001 and based from the 1200 block of East Chicago Avenue.