CROWN POINT | Lake County E-911 Executive Director Brian Hitchcock is making a second attempt to get the Lake County Council to hire a $75,000 assistant.
Hitchcock, who is overseeing the consolidation of 17 municipal and county police and fire E-911 systems into a single, countywide network, told a workshop session of the council Thursday he needs a deputy director to compose job-related policies for the future employees of county E-911 service and handle other daily affairs.
He made the same pitch last month, but put his request on hold after some council members said they couldn't go along with adding to the county's payroll until they know the total cost of operating the new system.
Councilman Dan Dernulc, R-Highland, said Thursday, "I still don't think we need this yet." Councilman Jerome Prince, D-Gary, said Hitchcock needs a helper to handle daily operations while Hitchcock concentrates on assembling the infrastructure of a new system that must go online next year.
The council could make a decision as early as Tuesday's regular meeting.
In other business, Robert Nickovich, CEO of the Lake County Parks Department, asked the County Council permission to borrow $3.6 million to provide new aquatic features to some county parks.
He said the funds are needed to build new slides at Deep River Water Park to boost attendance at the 20-year-old facility. He said other water parks add new features every two to three years, but there has been no expansion of the park since 2005. He said they also have to replace a metal tower that supports some of the current slides.
The council also is set to approve amendments to the $35 million pension plan for Lake County police officers. Many are technical changes requested by the Internal Revenue Service, and some are administrative changes that don't affect the cost of the pension plan to taxpayers or benefits to officers.
One change would cap the amount of overtime used to calculate pension benefits to ensure excessive payouts to retirees claiming higher benefits don't put the plan in financial danger.