Lake Station council agrees to court budget request

2013-10-17T22:00:00Z 2013-10-17T22:57:12Z Lake Station council agrees to court budget requestDeborah Laverty deborah.laverty@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 22223 nwitimes.com

LAKE STATION | The City Council moved funds around in the city court budget but in the end agreed to the $10,000 request by the city judge to add a part-time clerk.

Discussion of the city court budget, as part of the city's 2014 proposed $4.8 million general budget, preceded the regular meeting and lasted close to an hour.

City Judge Chris Anderson, who was informed of the changes made to his proposed city court budget, said he was pleased.

"I'm happy with the results because the $10,000 is much needed and there is a need for a part-time clerk because of our increased caseload," Anderson said.

The City Council cut some of the original requested budget of $187,000 including 9.5 percent and a 19 percent requested raises for the two full-time clerks.

"We should have four to five clerks in our office," Anderson said.

City Council President Todd Lara, who chaired the meeting, said there are no raises budgeted this year for either city employees or elected officials.

Although the council approved the proposed 2014 city budget on final reading, the council still needs a second reading on the proposed salary ordinance, Lara said.

Lara and other council members, prior to the regular meeting, agreed to keep the $10,000 in the court budget but only after making other cuts including $5,000 from the court health insurance fund.

Lara said the city advertised the court budget as $165,000 and had to stick with it.

"We have it right on the money," Lara said.

The council and city court have been at odds since last December when the council considered abolishing the court by Jan. 1, citing falling revenues.

That decision was abandoned by the council.

Anderson, after the meeting, said he saw the council providing him with at least part of his budget requests as a hopeful sign.

"Maybe the council has realized we have to work together," Anderson said.

Anderson said he still feels like his department was singled out since he had to make two presentations to the council at workshop sessions.

"We still feel under attack. We were questioned in a away that no other department was questioned," Anderson said.

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