Chesterton Tribune



Council finds enough in CEDIT to give employees $1500 bonus

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Town of Chesterton municipal employees won’t be getting a raise in 2018.

But all full-time non-elected employees will be getting a $1,500 bonus, after Clerk-Treasurer Stephanie Kuziela and President Jim Ton, R-1st, went digging under the sofa cushions looking for loose change.

Following a polite but pointed exchange between Ton and Police Lt. Joe Christian at the council’s last meeting--the gist of which was that the town is hemorrhaging officers because of low salaries--Ton announced at Wednesday night’s special meeting that “sufficient funds” have been found in the town’s CEDIT coffers to award the bonuses to employees.

CEDIT moneys--a municipality’s share of the county economic development income tax--may be used for all manner of government spending. In Chesterton they’ve been used for paving, emergency road-salt purchases, licensing fees, grant matches, and a wide variety of other projects and acquisitions.

Ton said that the bonuses will be cobbled together from earmarked but unspent CEDIT funds, specifically from moneys originally intended to be used this year for town hall building repairs and the railroad quiet zone initiative; and from two projects which came in under budget, Phase II of the Westchester-Liberty Trail and this year’s paving work.

Ton did say that the council will re-allocate CEDIT funds in 2018 for the quiet zone initiative and town hall repairs.

Ton added that employees will have the option of having the bonus deposited into their tax-free health savings accounts or simply included in their paycheck.

Members voted unanimously to amend the 2017 Salary Ordinance to reflect the bonuses.

Salary Study Group

In related business, members voted unanimously at Ton’s urging to create an ad hoc study group to “compile data and facts” on the salary ordinances of other municipalities in Duneland and Porter County, specifically with the brief to “identify discrepancies” and make recommendations to the council on remedying them.

Appointed to that group: Clerk-Treasurer Stephanie Kuziela, Town Manager Bernie Doyle, and Member Dane Lafata, D-2nd.

Re: Insurance

Meanwhile, members voted unanimously to adopt the following recommendations of Anton Insurance Agency:

* Life and vision plans underwritten by Kansas City Life. The life plan provides for $25,000 life and accidental death and dismemberment coverage. The vision plan provides for $10 co-pay for exams and $25 co-pay for lenses. Both plans are significantly less expensive than the ones quoted by a second insurer.

* Workman’s compensation coverage underwritten by Indiana Public Employers, at a cost of $74,775, a few hundred dollars less than the town paid for the coverage this year.

* And, per a new state law to take effect on Jan. 1, $350 per week coverage for police reserve officers injured in the line of duty, plus a death benefit should they be killed in the line of duty, at a cost of $1,800 per year.

Member Nate Cobbs, R-4th, took a moment to extend his gratitude to Anton Insurance Company for its diligence, not only in saving the town money but especially in finding plans which save the employees money as well as increase their benefits.

Redevelopment Re-appointments

Re-appointed to the Redevelopment Commission were Jeff Trout, Nick Walding, Emerson DeLaney, Dane Lafata, and John Swibes.

It was necessary to make the re-appointments on Wednesday, the council’s last meeting of 2017, because the commission is scheduled to convene early in the New Year for its annual organizational meeting.

Executive Session

Ton announced that an executive session--for the purpose of discussing the job performance of an individual employee--will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 28.



Posted 12/22/2017




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