VALPARAISO | With a brief agenda and a room full of high school students, Valparaiso officials used Monday's City Council meeting as a classroom in local government.
Valparaiso High School students attended as part of a school assignment. The agenda items all involved spending money for things like salaries and operating the parks department and the parking enforcement, so the students received explanations on the process for doing each.
The council approved amendments to the 2014 salary ordinance adopted in October that calls for 3 percent pay raises for city employees. City Administrator Bill Oeding said the crossing guards were not included in the original ordinance, and their pay was increased from $8,000 to $8,240 a year.
The ordinance also re-established the city's contribution to each employee's health savings account at $1.400 for employee's, $2,400 for an employee plus one family member and $2,900 for a family.
Contributions to a health savings account for employees whose costs exceed the out-of-pocket maximums for health care during the year also was approved at $1,500 for a single employee and $3,000 for employees plus one family member or for a family plan.
The ordinance for parking enforcement and for construction of a parking lot at the former site of the Needle and Thread business were introduced along with an ordinance expending the money raised from fees charged by the city's parks department. Those measures will be acted on at the council's Dec. 23 meeting.
Mayor Jon Costas encouraged the students to participate in the citywide visioning project by providing their ideas of what the city should be for the next 10 or 20 years.