By JEFF SCHULTZ
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
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
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
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
-- 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.