Syracuse Town Council began discussing the 2015 budgets during its regular monthly meeting Tuesday night. Council president Brian Woody suggested that instead of reviewing each department, council members simply ask any questions they may have.
Woody suggested the council reconsider offering a 2 percent to 3 percent raise to employees. Previously no raise was going to be offered since 2015 will have 27 pay periods in it.
In addition, Woody explained funding for new equipment could possibly come from other resources such as the rainy day fund, riverboat gambling fund and others.
After much discussion, the council requested department heads rework their budgets to include a 3 percent raise, look for alternative funding for capital improvements and major purchases and still stay under the maximum levy.
The council also approved transferring $5,000 from the town manager’s professional services budget to all others to cover expenditures for the industrial park.
Brett Konarski of Jones Petrie Rafinski, the town’s engineering firm, reported the signs for the industrial park will be done by early September. Cripe Excavating has begun work on the Long Drive culvert and has run into a few problems.
In the department reports, town manager Henry DeJulia reported he is looking for a replacement to sit on the Kosciusko County Board of Zoning Appeals. The BZA meets twice a month, there is an $85 per meeting plus mileage stipend. The BZA meets in the mornings and the Syracuse Town Council would like a representative who lives within the town limits.
The Syracuse Redevelopment Commission recommended using $30,000 from the Oakwood Tax Increment Financing district for work in the park. The redevelopment commission also reported the Elkhart South Benton TIF has $55,869.68; The Oakwood TIF has $30,780 and the Syracuse TIF has $33, 364.73. The council approved the recommendation.
It was also noted completion of the Harkless Bridge has been delayed due to the recent storm.
In the police report, chief Tony Ciriello reported the Fourth of July went very well, the crowd was its normal size and there were no issues. He also said officer Jason Longmire will be leaving for the academy on July 28 and will be graduating in November.
Ciriello closed by giving kudos to the street department for its work in getting the storm damage cleaned up. Public works superintendent Jeremy Sponseller said approximately 250 dump truck loads of brush were hauled away as a result of the storm.
The Artisans and Farmers Market is going well, with a produce only market offered from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays. The park department is taking registration for the community garage sales.