Chesterton Tribune



'Circuit breaker' tripped; Chesterton town budget slashed

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The circuit breaker’s been tripped in the Town of Chesterton, and it looks as though department heads are going to have to scramble to make ends meet.

At the Town Council’s meeting Monday night, Clerk-Treasurer Stephanie Kuziela announced that the town’s 2016 certified levy--the total amount of property-tax revenues which Chesterton would otherwise have collected this year--has in fact been cut by 7.8 percent, that is, by $482,250.75, following the application of circuit-breaker credits.

The circuit breaker--or tax cap, as it’s been called--limits a property owner’s tax liability to a certain percentage of a property’s gross assessed value, 1, 2, or 3 percent, depending on the class of property.

A good thing for property owners, in other words, but a problem for a municipality when a bunch of taxpayers trip the circuit breaker at the same time.

The bulk of the $482,250.75 “shortfall,” moreover --$363,593.08 -- has been carved from a General Fund which had previously been certified at $4,044,321, Kuziela reported. Brass tacks: Police Chief Dave Cincoski and Fire Chief John Jarka will need to find a way to make do with less.

As will Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg, who saw his $679,608 certified levy for Motor Vehicle Highway get cut by 8.9 percent; and Park Superintendent Bruce Mathias, who saw his certified levy of $382,279 similarly get cut by 8.9 percent.

Kuziela told members that she would have more detailed information and recommendations at their next meeting.

Splash Pad

Contract Awarded

In other business, members voted 5-0 to award the contract for a new splash pad at Chesterton Park to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder, Rain Deck of Mesa, Ariz.

Rain Deck’s $104,686 bid was less than half of the second lowest one submitted: $216,470, by Vortex Midwest Aquatic Play Solutions of Williamston, Mich.

The splash pad--one of the projects being funded by a $2-million park bond issued in December--will be installed south of the tennis courts at Chesterton Park.

FD Truck Swap

Members also voted 5-0 to approve an ordinance formalizing a swap between the Chesterton Fire Department and the Burns Harbor FD, under which the former will transfer ownership of its old 1992 rescue truck to the latter, in exchange for which the CFD will get the BHFD’s 2006 light rescue truck and a $25,000 cash payment.

The 1992 rescue truck, originally acquired to carry the CFD’s rescue tools and has no hose- or water-carrying capability, will be made obsolete by the department’s new engine, currently being manufactured with sufficient compartment space for tools.


Posted 4/26/2016





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