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Porter County's 2023 budget to include significant pay raises

Porter County government employees are set to get significant pay raises next year. The 2023 budget adopted by the county council Tuesday includes raises ranging from a minimum of $4,000 to a maximum of 20 percent.

Council member Mike Jessen said the goal is to get everyone to the internal base salary and halfway to the external midpoint set out in a recent wage study. "I think we are finally doing it right, in the sense that we're talking about employee pay and wages and compensation first, as opposed to waiting until the very end of the budget cycle and asking ourselves, 'Well, how much is left?'" Jessen said.

But there are exceptions for public safety personnel. 911 dispatchers will get an increase straight to the external midpoint, while sheriff's police officers will actually be put above the midpoint.

The raises required the council to cut other parts of the budget and dip into some of the remaining American Rescue Plan money. Council President Jeremy Rivas said the council wants to take care of county employees without burdening taxpayers.

"We had to make a lot of cuts. I know some people have letters and requests. I mean, some of them are just going to go unanswered. We have to prioritize, especially this year, to do what we did with the wage study," Rivas explained.

The 2023 budget now goes to the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance for final review.

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