The Chesterton Town Council has formally borrowed $400,000 from the Utility,
to make ends meet as the year closes.
At their meeting Monday night, members voted 4-0 to approve on first reading
an ordinance authorizing the loan, 4-0 to suspend the rules, then 4-0 to
approve the ordinance on final reading. Member Sharon Darnell, D-4th, was
not in attendance.
The purpose of the loan: to make good on a shortfall in the year’s General
Fund and Motor Vehicle Highway (MVH) fund.
That $400,000 shortfall is chiefly the result of cuts made earlier this year
by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance to the town’s 2012
budget. Some of those cuts were routine but others were Draconian, the
latter apparently because the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office missed the deadline
in the fall of 2011 by which, under Indiana Code, municipalities are
required to publish their advertised budgets.
About six years ago, the Utility made a similar loan to the town, so there
is precedent for the move. Under state law, the town must repay the loan no
later than 30 days after the final 2013 property-tax draw.
Also under state law, the Utility may only make the loan if it has at least
$400,000 in cash reserve over and above its anticipated needs and expenses.
At the Utility Service Board’s meeting last week—where the board approved
the loan—Associate Town Attorney Chuck Parkinson said that the Utility does
have sufficient cash reserves.
IAFF Local 4600
In other business, Fire Chief Mike Orlich announced that the 2013 contract
for the International Association of Firefighters Local 4600—representing
the CFD’s career firefighters—has been successfully negotiated, with no
Among other things, the agreement provides for the following: Local 4600
members may meet at the fire station, may post notices on a bulletin board
at the station, may hold elections at the station, and shall have their dues
deducted from their paychecks and remitted by the town to IAFF.
Meanwhile, members voted 4-0 to renew its health insurance policy with
American National, under which the town’s exposure will increase by 2.5
percent. The average market increase: between 6 and 8 percent.
“I see no downside,” said Member Jeff Trout, R-2nd.
Members also voted 4-0 to accept Franciscan Alliance’s proposal for an
employment assistance program, which FA will fold into its current clinic
program with the town at no extra charge.
assistance program provides counseling services to municipal employees. The
arrangement with FA will take effect on Jan. 1. Currently Porter-Starke
Services Inc. provides the service to the town.