Chesterton Tribune



Chesterton Town Council passes 2018 Salary Ordinance

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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 adjustments.

In the Street Department:

* Administrative 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.

In MS4:

* 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 responsibility.

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.

Additional Appropriations

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 General Fund.

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.

Among the 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.

A further 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.



Posted 12/13/2017




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