Chesterton Tribune



Chesterton Town Council okays $30K to buy more road salt

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January’s tender mercies have been costing the Chesterton Street Department a lot, so much so that it’s likely the impact of this winter on the 2014 budget will be felt well into the next one.

At the Town Council’s meeting Monday night, Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg requested, and got, $30,000 in CEDIT funds for the purchase of additional road salt. Members voted 4-0 to grant that request. Member Nick Walding, R-3rd, was not in attendance.

“As you can imagine, it’s been a pretty busy month,” Schnadenberg said. He added that, historically, February has been the “heaviest month for lake-effect snow,” so conceivably things are only going to get busier.

In any case, the salt storage facility “is pretty empty now,” Schnadenberg noted, and were it not for the fact that the Street Department still had “quite a bit of salt at the start of the season”--left over from last season--“we’d be out of salt right now.”

Salt is “something you gotta have,” agreed Member Jeff Trout, R-2nd.

“There are some municipalities that have no salt at all,” added Member Jim Ton, R-1st.

Schnadenberg also projected the possibility that, somewhere down the line this year, “we may find ourselves in an issue with overtime” as well as with fuel.

Squad Cars

In other business, members voted 4-0 to approve Police Chief Dave Cincoski request for an expenditure of just more than $112,000 from the Cumulative Capital Development fund, for the purchase of three new squad cars.

The best quote for the Ford Explorer was made by Lakeshore Ford, at $38,000, which includes the cost of equipping it, Cincoski said.

Although the Dodge Chargers price out at around $3,000 less than the Ford Explorers, over the lifetime of the squad the Explorer saves between $5,000 and $7,000 in fuel, compared to the Charger’s gas mileage, Cincoski observed.

He also reported that the CPD current Explorers have received “tremendously high marks” from officers during the recent snow events.

Affordable Care Act

Meanwhile, the town’s insurance agent, Mike Anton of Anton Insurance Agency, announced that the town’s current arrangement with the Franciscan Alliance (FA) is non-compliant under the Affordable Care Act, and that in order to maintain eligibility for employees’ newly enacted health savings accounts, the town must either terminate its program with FA or assess a per-visit fee.

Under the current arrangement, the town paid a monthly access fee of $3,000. Under a new arrangement recommended by Anton, that monthly fee would be discontinued and replaced with a per-visit charge of $75, $10 of which the employee would pay.

The council accordingly voted 4-0 to approve the new arrangement.

“As you are likely aware,” Anton remarked, “the Affordable Care Act has had a rippling effect on all aspects of employee benefits.”

Tax Abatement Appointment

Members also voted 4-0 to appoint Clerk-Treasurer Stephanie Kuziela to the Tax Abatement Advisory Committee.



Posted 1/28/2014