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Valpo's proposed 2023 budget calls for more raises for city employees

Valparaiso Now Facebook page

Valparaiso city employees could get another pay raise next year. The proposed 2023 budget calls for salary increases ranging from a minimum of $500 to a maximum of four percent. That follows a four-percent raise this year.

City Administrator Mike Jessen told the city council Monday those figures stem from a recent wage study. "Our 2023 proposal for your consideration based on that information is to get all employees to the new halfway, the midpoint, of that salary study," Jessen explained.

Valparaiso is also adding $300,000 to its health insurance budget for next year. Jessen said premiums are going up by 9.5 percent, following a significant increase in claims. "In [July of] 2020 to June of 2021, we had a total claims of $3.4 million. The next year, so July '21 through June of '22, we saw an increase in claims to the point of roughly $6.2 million," Jessen said.

Meanwhile, the police department could lose some revenue since residents no longer have to get a handgun permit. The city is cutting its Local Police Education Fund by $10,000, due to the anticipated drop in permit fees.

Overall, the proposed 2023 budget totals around $43 million, but the property tax rate is set to go down slightly, since more land has been annexed into the city. The budget will be up for the Valparaiso City Council's final approval October 10.

Michael Gallenberger is a news reporter and producer that hosts All Things Considered on 89.1 FM | Lakeshore Public Media.