Chesterton Tribune



Porter Council favors 3 percent raises for town workers in 2016

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The 2016 employee salary ordinance for the Town of Porter is likely to include across the board raises for, the first time in three years.

On Tuesday, Town Council President Greg Stinson said he followed up with his fellow Council members Elka Nelson and David Woodrich individually who, after talking with town department and reviewing the budgets, recommended an across the board raise for employees.

If the Council approves the salary ordinance, the total appropriation for the salary increases will be $50,000, or a 3.08 percent boost for each employee.

Eric Walsh, principal of Umbaugh & Associates, which advises the Town on finances, said the town spends nearly $1.5 million on personnel pay currently and a one percent raise would be an additional $15,000.

With some flexibility expected in next year’s levy, the Council felt the town employees deserved the raise for keeping spending to a minimum.

The salary ordinance will not be voted on until October, Stinson said, before the Council moves to adopt the 2016 budgets. But all present -- Stinson, Nelson, Woodrich and Council member Rob Pomeroy -- verbally agreed they were in favor of marking $50,000 for raises. Absent was member Jeannine Virtue.

The Council gave a first reading on amending the current 2015 salary ordinance, specifically to move a staff pay day to Dec. 31 this year instead of a date in January. The second hearing for the amendment will be given at the Council’s next meeting on Sept. 22.

Hearing set for NIPSCO easement

The next Council meeting will also include a public hearing on granting a 41’ wide by 265’ long easement to NIPSCO so the company can bury a gas line that currently runs above ground under the Waverly Rd. bridge as it crosses the Little Calumet River, just north of I-94 and Ackerman Drive.

In order to grant the easement, the Council would need to set a public hearing, said Town attorney Greg Sobkowksi.

Porter’s Director of Development and Building Commissioner Michael Barry was not at the meeting Tuesday but told the Chesterton Tribune this morning NIPSCO wishes to relocate the gas line on the west side of the pedestrian bridge adjacent to Waverly Rd. where it should keep the line from leaking.

The easement is on Town park land, part of Hawthorne Park, and doesn’t have any surrounding residential property, Barry noted.

In other business:

-- Porter Police Chief Jamie Spanier thanked the Council for the purchase last month of the rescue line launcher that can shoot a floatation device several hundred feet into the water to help if someone is caught in high waves on Lake Michigan. Spanier said officers will be trained to use the launcher in the next month and it will be stored securely on the beach. Stinson added, “It’s a great addition to public safety.”

-- Parks Director Brian Bugajski told the Council that the “Stash Dash” held last Sunday by Crazy Legs Race Series brought in $200 for the Porter Park Playground account. Also, Bugajski said the Perfect Pint Festival scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 10 is looking for items to include in its silent auction. Proceeds from the silent auction will help benefit the parks department and the Porter Fire Department. This will be the fifth year for the festival which is held at Hawthorne Park.

-- Stinson said September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. A supporter of efforts to boost childhood cancer research, he encouraged the public to get involved. “If you see somebody out there and there’s nothing you can do, give them your heart,” he said.


Posted 9/9/2015




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