however, made it clear to the two citizens that its purview is confined to
Addison Pointe’s tax abatement and that they must take their complaints to
the proper regulatory agencies.
Begin with the
numbers submitted by LTCI attorney Nicholas Derda. When the LTCI applied for
the tax abatement in 2010, it committed to this statement of benefits, he
said: Addison Pointe would employ a total of 120 people with a combined
salary of $4,071,600; and it would employ, whenever possible, qualified Town
of Chesterton residents.
stated, Addison Pointe employs 137 employees, 17 or 14 percent more than the
number to which LTCI committed. The total payroll, on the other hand, is
right now $3,838,795, or 5.1 percent less than that pledged in the statement
Or as Derda told
the committee, “We’re right on track as far as the number of employees and
said, there was a total of 148 hires in 2013, following 11 separate
advertisements in four different sources, including the Chesterton
Tribune and the Town of Chesterton’s municipal website. Those 148 were
hired out of 305 total applications and of the 305 applicants, 67 were Town
of Chesterton residents, about 22 percent. Still, Derda said, 52 percent of
the Town of Chesterton residents who applied got jobs.
The committee duly
voted 4-0 to recommend to the Town Council renewing Addison Point’s tax
abatement for another year.
The fact that
Addison Pointe is employing 14 percent more staff, but paying all staff 5
percent less, than it committed to, goes to the “incredible” turnover rate
at the facility, Tammy Remkus said.
Remkus told the
committee that she “pulled” her mother out of Addison Pointe after various
problems with services, including the time when her mother fell and was left
alone for 25 minutes.
“Those are barely minimum wages,” she said.
“It’s very hard they’re paid so little. They could make as much money
working at McDonald’s. But they’re not flipping burgers. They’re taking care
of our parents.”
Derda thanked the
two for bringing these issues to his attention but noted that the only
subject before the commission was the renewal of Addison Pointe’s tax
abatement. He did say that he would be happy to discuss the matter with them
after the meeting.
Rick Hokanson agreed. “I don’t think it’s the committee’s position to be
involved in this,” he said.
Town Attorney Chuck
Lukmann, for his part, first noted that the Town of Chesterton has no
regulatory authority over the nursing home but expressed his gratitude to
the two for bringing these issues to the committee’s attention and urged
them to contact the proper regulators.
Town Council Renews
Four hours later on
Monday, at its meeting, the Town Council voted 5-0 without comment to renew
Addison Pointe’s tax abatement.