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.
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.
unanimously to amend the 2017 Salary Ordinance to reflect the bonuses.
Salary Study Group
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
Appointed to that
group: Clerk-Treasurer Stephanie Kuziela, Town Manager Bernie Doyle, and
Member Dane Lafata, D-2nd.
voted unanimously to adopt the following recommendations of Anton Insurance
* 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.
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
* 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.
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.
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.