Chesterton Tribune



Burns Harbor Town Council OKs raises

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The Burns Harbor Town Council voted at a recent meeting to give raises to all full-time employees and all citizen members of Town boards and commissions and approved a one-time raise for Council members.

Council Vice-president Eric Hull asked Clerk-treasurer Jane Jordan when Council members and members of boards and commissions last got raises. Jordan said all eligible board and commission members were raised within the last six years, but Council members have been making the same $4,000 per year since 2001.

Hull motioned to raise full-time employees a flat $1,000 in 2020, which equates to about 50 cents per hour. Department heads planned for the raises in budget meetings earlier this year. Hull’s motion also said citizen members of boards and commissions should be raised from $500 to $750 per year and Council members raised from $4,000 to $5,000 per year.

Hull said more frequent incremental raises are better than a future Council wanting a large raise, and raising people who serve the Town is a move to entice more residents to get involved. “We should at least pay for their dinner they’re gonna miss for a meeting,” Hull said. “My thought is that by having it be worth someone’s time to come in and participate, then more individuals might want to come in and participate.”

The Council passed the 2020 salary ordinance with those changes. Council member Kevin Tracy was the lone no vote. Tracy said he was in favor of raises for everyone except the Town Council.

Health Insurance

The Council announced they are switching health insurance plans to lower out-of-pocket costs for employees and costs for the Town. Employees will still have insurance through Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, but the new plan has a $2,500 deductible with a $10,000 maximum out-of-pocket cost for the whole family as opposed to $12,000. Hull said the coverage is better at a slightly lower cost.


Fire Chief Bill Arney said the Fire Department is very thankful for donations to its Shop with a Firefighter program this year. Arney said the BHFD got two generous donations that totaled over $700 and was able to collect almost $500 is food vouchers for families in need.

Park Board President Kylane Tumblin reminded residents that rentals are available throughout the winter at Lakeland Park.

Other Approvals

The Council approved EMS staff to be paid from CEDIT for November and December.

Jordan reported the Town’s 2020 budget was approved by the Department of Local Government Finance as submitted.

The Council decommissioned the BHPD 2015 Ford Explorer that was totaled in a pursuit last month and approved Police Chief Mike Heckman to order a new vehicle.

The Council approved its 2020 contracts for fire Services, legal services, and engineering services, and approved the Clerk-treasurer’s 2020 bond. Per state law, Jordan is bonded $30,000 for every $1 million in revenue the Town brings in, which equates to $210,000 for 2020.

The Council will hold a swearing in ceremony at noon on Jan. 1 and is holding off on making board appointments, reappointing department heads, and reorganizing until new member Roseann Bozak is sworn in.

Tracy Gives Thanks

In other business, Tracy made a statement about his time on the Council since his term is expiring. He decided not to run for reelection in 2019.

Tracy said he was surprised by the good will and dedication on the Town Council when he started, and that Jordan was a huge help to him in understanding municipal government. To Jordan, Tracy said, “You have been awesome. I came in and was like a deer in the headlights, and you kind of made sure I didn’t get hit by any cars.”

To his fellow Council members, Tracy said, “I think we’ve accomplished quite a lot over the last couple years, and it’s been because you put the Town first. The next four years in Burns Harbor are going to be really exciting.”

Tracy also congratulated Council member-elect Roseann Bozak and said she’s joining a great team.


Posted 12/27/2019




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