Chesterton Tribune



Circuit breaker tripped: town's General Fund slashed by 10.5 percent

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The circuit breaker’s been tripped in the Town of Chesterton, and it’s going to cause some pain.

At the Town Council’s meeting Monday night, Clerk-Treasurer Stephanie Kuziela announced that the town’s 2015 certified levy of $6,036,548--the total amount of property-tax revenues which Chesterton would otherwise have collected this year--has in fact been cut by 9.1 percent, that is, by $551,451.99, following the application of circuit-breaker credits.

The circuit breaker--or tax cap, as it’s also 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 that $551,451.99 “shortfall,” moreover --$401,865.92 --has been carved from a General Fund which had previously been certified at $6,036,548, Kuziela reported. Brass tacks: Kuziela, Police Chief Dave Cincoski, and Fire Chief John Jarka must find a way--well into the seventh month of the year--to cut their daily operating budgets by 10.5 percent.

The Street Department and Park Department have taken identical hits: Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg lost 10.5 percent of Motor Vehicle Highway, certified at $779,525; Superintendent Bruce Mathias, 10.5 percent of Park & Recreation, certified at $368,144.

Where does the circuit breaker leave the proposed 1- or 2-percent employee raises which members have expressed an interest, in principle, in granting?

Kuziela doesn’t know. She promised to crunch the new numbers and report back.

Vacation Petition

In other business, members voted 5-0 to hold a public hearing at its Aug. 10 meeting on vacation petitions submitted by William and Mary Scott and Mark Montague.

The Scotts and Montague are seeking the vacation of the platted but unimproved terminus of East Michigan Ave., immediately east of North Calumet Road, which Schnadenberg told the Chesterton Tribune after the meeting stubs out into a strip of gravel.

New Utility Super Introduced

Assistant Utility Superintendent Terry Atherton took a moment to introduce his successor at the top job, newly hired Superintendent Dave Ryan,

Ryan comes to the Utility--as Atherton did before him--from Indiana American Water Company.

Atherton will stay with the Utility until the end of the year, showing Ryan the ropes and briefing him on the ongoing projects.

River Bottom Produce

Town Manager Bernie Doyle reported that River Bottom Produce--which for the past several years has operated a tented vegetable market in the parking lot across from the town hall, at Broadway and Eighth Street--has pulled up stakes.

And put them down again, literally, into the parking lot immediately east of the fire station. It’s an old lot whose asphalt won’t be damaged by tent stakes. The lot across the street from the town hall, on the other hand, was newly paved just last year.

Doyle did say that River Bottom had the devil’s own time in driving the tent stakes, which kept running up against some long buried relic of “ancient Chesterton.”

“There’ll be some sweet corn coming in the next couple of weeks,” Doyle added.

Engine 512

Jarka, for his part, reported that Engine 512 is out of service while an overheating problem is tended to.


Posted 7/15/2015




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