Full-time Town of
Chesterton municipal employees will be getting a 2-percent raise in 2020.
At its meeting
Monday night, the Town Council voted unanimously to grant that raise as part
of its 2020 advertised budget, which they approved on first reading
following a public hearing.
After the meeting,
Clerk-Treasurer Stephanie Kuziela told the Chesterton Tribune that
moneys for raises were freed by lowering the town’s annual allocation for
healthcare insurance claims: from $1.6 million this year to $1.4 million
that--though the town has seen an increase in costs because of employees’
claim history, “not more claims but more expensive ones”--it still has never
been on the hook for more than $1.4 million, “even with serious illnesses.”
And, with only two
more weeks left in the insurance plan year, the allocation currently has a
balance of $387,000, Kuziela added.
Prior to the vote,
President Nate Cobbs, R-4th, read the following statement: “It is important
to note that because our plan is self-funded, we have a fixed expense and
variable expense each year. This structure is regularly reviewed and
compared to other plans to ensure we are good stewards of our tax dollars.
Due to our town’s strong financial standing, our plan size, and the overall
good health of our employees, this continues to be the best health plan
“That said, our
fixed healthcare expense will be increasing $15,000 or 7 percent, which is
in line with healthcare costs across the country. The additional increases
that werre projected for next year are coming from the variable portion of
our healthcare plan. More specifically, this is the portion of medical
treatments that the town would pay next year. As you can imagine, that
number can vary greatly from year to year, family to family. However, as a
town the numbers are more consistent and I believe we have allocated
sufficient funding to cover these costs for 2020.
have allocated $1.4 million for our full-time employee healthcare costs,
including HSA and the wellness program.
“Finally, I have
spoken with my fellow council members . . . (and) we all agree that our
employees work hard for our residents and for that they deserve our thanks.
I’m happy to report that, due to our healthy financial situation, we will
also be able to give all full-time employees a 2-percent raise.
“The budget that is
submitted to the state will be out of balance but the town will have
sufficient residual cash balances at the end of 2019 to make up the
At the public
hearing which preceded the vote, no one spoke in favor of the advertised
2020 budget and no one in opposition.
In other business,
members voted unanimously, on the recommendation of the Chesterton Economic
Development Company (CEDC), to approve two loans to local businesses:
$20,000 to the Chesterton Montessori School; and $5,000 to Chesterton Toys,
which has moved to a new location across the street on South Calumet Road.
Two payments must
be made annually on the five-year loans, at an interest rate of 2 percent.
Ton noted that the
CEDC carefully reviewed the loan applications and conducted a credit check.
DeLaney, after the vote, urged residents to bring their trade to Chesterton
merchants. “It’s up to our residents to support their local businesses,” he
said. “These are our local people. They live and work and have invested in
our community. And a 2-percent rate? The bank can’t touch that.”
“You can’t beat 2
percent anywhere,” Ton agreed.