breaker’s been tripped in the Town of Chesterton, and it’s going to cause
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.
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.
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?
know. She promised to crunch the new numbers and report back.
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
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.
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.
Jarka, for his
part, reported that Engine 512 is out of service while an overheating
problem is tended to.