change to the Burns Harbor Town Employee health plan’s high deductible made
it harder for the Town Council to pass its 2017 salary ordinance Wednesday
The Council planned
to give full-time employees a $750 raise next year, except the two hired in
November, but that won’t be enough to compensate for the $1,000 the
employees would have to pay out of pocket to meet the deductibles under the
insurance plan, said President Ray Poparad.
The Town made
changes about two years ago for its group plan with Anthem Insurance to save
about $40,000 on annual premiums by having high deductibles and health
The plan before
that included co-pays of $1 from employees. But as the Council found out
Wednesday from Fire Chief Bill Arney and Street/Building clerk Lori
McCormick, employees are now having to pay for prescriptions and doctor
visits before reaching the deductible.
Poparad said the
HSA plan the Town’s had for two years “got dropped” and the Town was
“thrown” into a different plan with not enough time to research other
options. He said he blames himself for not seeing this sooner.
Jane Jordan said the insurance renewal date was Dec. 1 and concurred that
there was not adequate time given to seek other plan proposals. The Town is
now locked into the amended plan. There are ten employees on the plan
currently and 13 will be on it next year with two new employees and another
who wishes to join the plan, Jordan said.
Marcus Rogala asked if it was possible to switch to a different plan in the
mid-year. That could be problematic, Poparad said, as there is plan through
the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns but some communities on it have
Poparad said he
knows this will “get daggers thrown at him” but one other option would be
that the Council give employees a lump sum to buy their own insurance on the
open market. Towns do have that option as Town Attorney Clay Patton
attested, but there are other options too.
Eric Hull said there are advantages to being on a group plan over being on a
separate individual plan. Council member Toni Biancardi suggested her
colleagues look at the plan in place now and review it to see if changes are
The Council ended
up voting 4-1 on the ordinance, keeping the originally suggested amounts for
Voting no on the
ordinance was Council member Andy Bozak who after the meeting said he
disagreed with the way the building commissioner would be paid.
states that the building commissioner -- Randall Lopez who was appointed in
November -- would be compensated at $20 per hour plus $35 for each
Bozak said he
doesn’t believe Lopez should be paid twice for doing the same work and there
followed a longer discussion by the Council on what would be fair
compensation if Lopez could be paid another way. Lopez will be considered
part-time working up to 30 hours per week.
Also for next year,
Jordan will receive a raise of $1,000 and the Council agreed to equalize pay
for department heads -- Town Marshal Mike Heckman, Street Superintendent Pat
Melton and Arney who works as the Sanitation Superintendent -- at $27.90 per
In planning for
next year, the Council renewed contracts and service agreements.
The fire service
contract was renewed at $54,650 for 2017.
The Town will
retain Osan & Patton, LLP as its attorney for next year. It’s legal services
contract will be the same as 2016. The firm will be paid $18,000 plus $1,500
monthly to advise the Town Council and boards at their meetings.
Patton will be paid
$200 per hour for additional services and $160 per hour for an associate
advisor will again be H. J. Umbaugh and Associates. Partners and principals’
standard hourly rates are up to $450 per hour, managers at up to $325
hourly, consultants at up to $250 hourly, municipal bond disclosure
specialists are up to $180 hourly and support personnel are up to $135 per
contract with Global Engineering increased slightly for the first time since
2010. The compensation scale ranges from $30 per hour for clerical work to
$185 per hour for survey crews. Principals are paid $165 per hour. Architect
and engineering rates are $145 per hour.
Also for 2017, the
Council kept its appointments on Town boards.
will continue to serve on the Board of Zoning Appeals and Plan Commission.
Amanda Sucku will be reappointed to the Park Board.
Jordan said both
McCormick and Sucku were the only applicants for their seats.
Poparad made his
presidential appointments to the Redevelopment Commission with Bozak,
Biancardi and Council member Marcus Rogala as his picks. The Council choices
for their RDC representatives will be Hull and current member Nick Loving.
The Council voted
unanimously to recommend reappointing Lisa Wodrich to the Porter County
Convention, Recreation and Visitors Commission. Wodrich, who was the only
applicant, was the Duneland tri-town appointment last year to serve out the
remaining term of the late Judy Chaplin.
The nomination must
also be ratified by the Chesterton and Porter Town Councils.
Poparad to lead
Council in 2017
On a motion by
Rogala, the Council agreed unanimously to make Poparad its president for
2017 and Hull its vice-president.
In other new
business, the Council approved a bid from Bosak Chevrolet of $60,620 for a
2017 Chevrolet Silverado 3500. The vehicle will be for the Street Department
and includes a dump, spreader and plow. It will be paid for out of the
Maintenance Department’s budget.