Crown Point council OKs pay raises for city employees
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent September 26, 2013 11:54PM
Updated: September 30, 2013 9:25AM
CROWN POINT — Council members approved the 2014 budget despite a last-minute face-off between one councilman and the mayor over how some of the new income tax dollars are being spent.
The 2014 budget, which includes a 3 percent across-the-board pay hike for all full-time city employees and increased funding for roadwork, was approved by the Crown Point City Council by a 5-1 vote in a special meeting Thursday. Councilman Bill Feder, D-At Large, voted against the budget. Councilman Mark Schweitzer was absent.
Feder said he is still opposed to both a 3 percent raise for employees on top of a state-mandated 1.5 percent increase in contributions per employee to the Public Employee Retirement Fund.
Feder also said he does not see any increase in spending for road repairs and questioned how the new tax dollars for public safety are being used.
“I think we could have used our LOIT (local option income tax) funds better,” Feder said. “I can’t see where more streets are being paved and more sidewalks are being poured.”
Mayor David Uran called Feder’s claims unfounded blanket-statements about the budget that come with no suggestions for changes. Uran said all of the 0.25 percent county economic development tax, roughly $700,000 is going toward roads, along with an expected increase in the state’s contribution to the motor vehicle highway fund.
Salaries for key public safety officials including the police and fire chiefs and their assistants have been moved to the public safety income tax fund and will use about half of that. The other $350,000 is being held back in case it is needed for the city’s participation in the consolidated E-911 or to make up any shortfall in the budget once it is formally approved by the state.
Uran said until the unknowns of 2014 are worked out, including whether or not the Department of Local Government Finance approves the budget as presented, and until the exact amount of collections for the income tax is known, the city is moving forward cautiously. He said more money will be moved to road improvements if it is available once all is settled.
“(The budget) is a synopsis of the best case scenario. We can’t predict the future,” Uran said.