The Chesterton Town
Council adopted the 2018 Salary Ordinance at its meeting Monday night.
For the second
consecutive year municipal employees will receive no across-the-board
raises, although the ordinance does provide for a handful of minor
In the Street
Assistant II goes from $16.73 to $17.25 per hour, to adjust for the gap
between the Assistant I position and the Assistant II. No one is currently
in the Assistant II position.
* Part-time Laborer
goes from $9.61 to $11 per hour for next year’s annual leaf program. The
change will add less than $1,000 per year to the budget.
* Senior Equipment
Operator goes from $18 to $18.50 per hour with five years of experience.
There are currently three employees in this position. The change will add
$3,120 to next year’s Motor Vehicle Highway fund.
* Change MS4
Engineer I from $24.26 to $26.15 per hour.
* Change MS4
Engineer II from $23.72 to $24.65 per hour.
* Change MS4
Operator I from $24.96 to $25.71 per hour to adjust for added
Fire Chief John
Jarka did take exception to these targeted raises on the ground that they
come at the same time members are telling department heads to trim expenses.
Jarka specifically told the council from the floor--echoing comments made
earlier in the meeting by Lt. Joe Christian of the Chesterton Police
Department--that the CFD is having a hard time retaining firefighters
because their wages aren’t competitive and that this year alone it lost two
to the Portage FD.
Later in the
meeting, members voted unanimously to approve the 2018 Salary Ordinance,
including the adjustments, without responding to Jarka’s remarks.
In other business,
members voted unanimously to approve a number of additional appropriations,
to tide over the town’s finances in the wake of an $800,000 shortfall in the
That shortfall is
the result of a miscalculation made last year by the Clerk-Treasurer’s
Office when preparing the 2017 budget. It occurred when non-controlled
funds--for the most part debt-service related--were inadvertently included
in the calculation for the maximum levy. Because those non-controlled funds
were included in that maximum-levy constraint, the controlled-fund levies
were short approximately $900,000. That mistake prompted the Indiana
Department of Local Government Finance late last winter to slash the town’s
2017 budget by the same amount. Hardest hit: the General Fund.
additional appropriations approved on Monday were $230,000 from the
Casino/Riverboat account and up to $160,000 from Cumulative Capital
Improvement (Cigarette Tax), to be transferred into the General Fund. Those
two transfers--plus approximately $500,000 in funds left from 2016--will be
used to cover the shortfall.
appropriation from Cumulative Capital Improvement (Street/Sewer) will be
used for stormwater repairs; and one of $13,701 from Cumulative Capital
Development to pay for a portion of an SUV purchased this year for the CFD.