Chesterton Tribune



2016 Salary Ordinance passes with 4 percent raise for employees; $1500 pay for storm board

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The Town of Chesterton’s 2016 Salary Ordinance is now on the books, and its passage this year is notable for the sheer amount of discussion it’s occasioned.

Two weeks ago, Town Council Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th, cautioned his colleagues against enacting in the Salary Ordinance a 4-percent raise for all municipal employees to take effect Jan. 1, on the ground that the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) could, some months later, hew and hack its way through the town’s budget--because that’s how DLGF rolls--leaving department heads scrambling to make ends meet.

DeLaney wasn’t opposing a raise at all and made it clear at the time that the council could easily amend the 2016 Salary Ordinance after DLGF certifies the budget in late winter or early spring. He was simply suggesting a wait-and-see approach to the town’s finances.

Two weeks later, at the council’s meeting on Monday, DeLaney’s concerns appear to have eased, because when the Salary Ordinance came up for a formal vote--with the 4-percent raise codified in it--he cast his Yea with everyone else.

This time, however, Member Jim Ton, R-1st, had a little problem with it: the Stormwater Management Board’s unanimous request for a $1,500 annual stipend for each member. For Ton the question wasn’t whether the Stormwater Management Board’s three members deserve a stipend but rather how much they deserve. Ton’s opinion: they should receive the same stipend as the do the members of the Advisory Plan Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals, and Police Commission: $1,320.

DeLaney and Member Sharon Darnell, D-4th, both pointed to the fact, however, that the Stormwater Management Board is responsible for the Stormwater Utility’s sizable budget--with projected revenues in 2016 of nearly $450,000 and expenses of just about the same--while the Plan Commission, BZA, and Police Commission have no budgets of their own at all. For the same reason, DeLaney and Darnell said, the members of the Utility Service Board--with an annual budget in the millions--earn an annual stipend of $3,033.

Ton wanted to know specifically that DeLaney was comfortable with the requested $1,500 stipend. DeLaney said he was. And that was good enough for Ton, who made the vote for the 2016 Salary Ordinance unanimous.

The salaries and stipends of elected and appointed officials and department heads:

* Clerk-Treasurer: $55,210.

* Town Manager: $78,026.

* Police Chief: $67,660.

* Fire Chief: $58,769.

* Street Commissioner: $54,125. The Street Commissioner will also earn $17,854 as MS4 Commissioner.

* Park Superintendent: $55,724.

* Utility Superintendent: $83,200.

* Attorney: an hourly rate of $150 for all counsel over and above the retainer of $12,657. The Utility will also pay the Town Attorney a retainer of $11,000.

* Town Council member: $4,835.

* Plan Commission member: $1,320.

* Board of Zoning Appeals member: $1,320.

* Police Commission member: $1,320.

* Utility Service Board member: $3,033.

* Park Board member: $500.

* Stormwater Management Board member: $1,500.

* MS4 Superintendent: $69,420. The MS4 Superintendent will also earn $5,410 as Town Engineer, $11,432 as Economic Development Engineer, and $18,079 as Utility Engineer.

* MS4 Operator I: $24.96 per hour.

All full-time municipal employees will also earn a longevity bonus of $125 per full year of service.




Posted 11/25/2015




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