Chesterton Tribune



Porter County Council to accept digital budget submissions this year

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The Porter County Council decided to have department heads use a different method for budget submissions at its meeting Tuesday night.

County Auditor Vicki Urbanik proposed that budget submissions from department heads be recorded in her office’s software, the LOW system. Urbanik said using this system will cut down on paper use, help eliminate errors, and help enforce deadlines.

Urbanik reported that in previous years, it has been common for multiple versions of the same budget to be turned in and circulate. Using the LOW software enables the Auditor’s office to lock the budget forms once they’ve been submitted so they can’t be changed by anyone outside of the office. The system also stores information from previous years, which will prevent employees from entering incorrect numbers about their budgets from last year. Department heads will only be able to see their own budgets.

Council President Andy Bozak, R-1st, asked if Urbanik will unroll a training program to teach department heads how to use the system. She said that she will be available to field any questions, but it is simple enough that it won’t require training. She demonstrated that using the system is as easy as like adding numbers to a spreadsheet by making a sample budget for her office within minutes.

The Council unanimously approved Urbanik to accept budget submissions only through the LOW system. The deadline for budgets to be submitted is July 16. The Council will begin holding budget meetings to discuss and approve submissions in September.

Other Approvals

Bob Thompson sought approval to dissolve two vacant positions within the Highway Department to fund one new position. Thompson reported that the Highway Department and Plan Commission would like to hire one senior level engineer rather than hiring for the positions of Engineer I and Project Manager II.

Council member Sylvia Graham, D-at-large, asked how many engineers are currently on staff. Thompson reported there are two: County Engineer Mike Novotney and Engineer I Chelsea Bradford. Thompson said that an Engineer I typically has one to two years of experience and would require a lot of training. He said that as of right now, there is not enough work for the Project Manager II position. The Council approved his request.

The Porter County Convention, Recreation, and Visitor Commission was approved to increase its hourly salary cap to $15 per hour. Commission President Mitch Peters reported that the change is in response to one employee who has surpassed the previous hourly cap of $10 per hour because he was recently raised to $10 an hour and makes an extra 50 cents per hour on weekends. The Council approved the spike in the salary cap and approved the Commission to pay the employee back pay in the amount of $53.47 for weekends worked since his raise.


Posted 5/30/2018




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