Cedar Lake adopts new 2001 budget
Wage increases await further
passage of salary ordinance
By Sandi Radoja
CEDAR LAKE - Final adoption of the 2001 budget took place at
Tuesday's Town Council meeting, but no salary increases are effective
despite provisions in the new budget until such time a salary ordinance
is passed, according to town attorney David Austgen.
"Until you adopt a salary ordinance, no
increase occurs," Austgen said in response to Councilman Robert
Carnahan's inquiry about the provision for increased salaries.
Bids on the sanitary sewer rehabilitation project
Phase II-B were opened. United Survey, Inc., of Cleveland, Ohio was the
apparent low bidder at $1.6 million, nearly $900,000 less than the
engineer's original estimate. The bids were taken under advisement.
Bonar Group is expected to review them and make a recommendation at the
next Council meeting.
Finally, Austgen advised the council it could be
another two weeks before an Agreed Order is in its final form, signed,
and accepted by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and
town officials. The document when approved is expected to end a long
period In which development has been hindered due to a ban on sewer
connections in town.
Once all proceedings regarding the Agreed Order
are complete, Cedar Lake is expected to receive as many as 200 new sewer
taps, paving the way for future development. Austgen said a realistic
time frame for receiving the taps could be as early as November.
Finally, Bonar Group was given authority to
proceed with the modification of equalization basin drawings to include
a concrete bottom. "IDEM's approval was based and predicated on a
concrete bottom design," said Josh Lantz of Bonar. "It will
increase the cost."
photo from www.state.in.us
Politics an elementary subject
State representative Kuzman visits
local grade schools
By Andrew Steele Star Managing Editor
Fourth-graders at six area elementary schools received a lesson in
the operation of the state legislature during the past week, and had a
chance to ask local State Rep. Robert Kuzman questions about his
As part of the National Conference of State
Legislature's "Back to School Day," Kuzman (D-Crown Point)
went to St. Edward and Oak Hill elementary schools in Lowell, Solon
Robinson, Timothy Ball and Winfield elementaries in Crown Point, and
Hebron Elementary School.
Kuzman urged the students to vote when they reach the
age of 18, and to stay in school. He told them not to believe that
legislators don't listen to constituents, or that they always do the
bidding of special interest groups.
Kuzman also told the students, who are studying
Indiana history this year, about how laws are made, and the need for
"You're not going to get everything you
want," he said. "If both parties are not happy you know you've
got a good piece of legislation."
Kuzman talked about the committee process, and about
the power of the Speaker of the House, John Greg, who "sort of
looks like Santa Claus."
He also encouraged students to apply to be pages when
they reach middle school.
"You get to miss a day of school," he said,
drawing a chorus of yeses; "but you still have to do your
homework," he added, drawing dejected nos from the groups.
The students at Solon Robinson were interested in
Kuzman's age - 33 - and how much state legislators earn - a little over
$11,000, plus $100 per day while the legislature is in session, and $25
per day when it isn't. One student asked if Kuzman would ever like to
president of the United States.
"I would like to be the president, but I don't
think I'll have the chance to do that," Kuzman said. But
"maybe governor someday."
At Oak Hill, one student asked about the possibility
of year-round school. "We're happy where we're at right now,"
Another asked about what bills Kuzman has written. He
said he sponsored legislation on brownfield-cleanup and the removal of
part of welfare burden from property taxes.
Kuzman also told the students his job wasn't easy.
"There are very tough decisions you have to make in a very short
period of time."
Kuzman is nearing the end of his second term as the
19th district's state representative. He faces Republican Ron Johnson,
Jr., in the Nov. 7 general election.
Crown Point approves final budget
Tax rate of $5.85 per $100 assessed valuation built into plan
By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor
CROWN POINT - The City Council gave final approval Monday to a 2001
budget that details $14.5 million in potential spending for the upcoming
The budget includes a tax rate of about $5.85 per
$100 of assessed valuation, though the actual tax rate is expected to be
more than $1 less. The inflated rate is a standard practice that covers
for the possibility of a low total assessed valuation.
Property taxes go mostly to pay for the $8.3 million
general fund, which funds the various city departments.
Last year's general fund was $7.7 million. The
largest departmental increase was in Parks and Recreation, which grew 21
percent to $524,063.
Much of that growth was in salaries, with the
addition of a $30,000 assistant parks director and a $26,000
"special salaries" line item.
Another significant jump was in the City Hall-Civic
Center budget, which increased 14 percent to $71,502. The extra $10,000
is budgeted for increased security - essentially, installation of bullet
proof glass - in the clerk-treasurer's office.
The Legal Department will see a 15 percent increase
in its budget to $114,631, mainly to increase the money in the
"additional attorney" line item from $7,500 to $20,000.
Much of the budget - about $6.2 million - consists of
a variety of special funds that have a variety of funding sources.
Among those funds are cumulative funds that allow the
city to save money from year to year for expensive projects.
The 2001 cumulative capital improvements fund
includes $86,656 split between four projects: curb and sidewalk
construction, the 50/50 sidewalk program, Hub Pool renovations, and park
grounds and equipment improvement.
The cumulative sewer fund of $425,280 includes
$300,000 for the Beasor Valley storm sewer project, as well as money for
miscellaneous sewer projects and drainage discharge permitting.
Hub Pool renovations are also included in the
$183,576 cumulative capital development fund, which also allocates money
to the Sportsplex at the old water plant on East North Street.
The city's share of casino boat tax revenue is also
included in the budget. The half-million dollars expected for that fund
is allocated for the Beasor Valley project and curb and sidewalk
construction on Indiana Avenue and Summit Street.