Inform, Entertain, Inspire
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Elkhart Common Council approves 2023 budget in 5 to 4 vote

City of Elkhart
City of Elkhart

The Elkhart Common Council approved the city’s 2023 budget in a 5 to 4 vote Monday. It tops out at just over $100 million dollars, $7.4 million more than last year, and was opposed by the council’s Republican members.

Several said it was too high, that the city administration wasn’t transparent in the budget process and criticized the inclusion of $1,200 bonuses for city employees who live within the city limits.

Officials said those bonuses would apply to around 190 employees, but council member Megan Baughman said the city offers better benefits than the private sector.

In response, Council President Arvis Dawson said Elkhart isn’t a corporation focused on profits and needs to support its workers who provide city services.

“Our ROI is to our citizens,” Dawson said. “We have to provide the necessary services, so they are happy with what we’re doing.”

Council member David Henke said that’s true, but that the city should also consider how it spends taxpayer money — and that it’s not best spent on bonuses.

“I think you should ask the public, is it still worth living here based on the cost?” Henke said. “Am I getting the value, which is the true measure of city services?”

Amendments stripping the bonuses and capping the cost-of-living salary increases at 3 percent both failed in 5 to 4 votes.

Contact Jakob at or follow him on Twitter at @JakobLazzaro.

If you appreciate this kind of journalism on your local NPR station, please support it by donating here.

Jakob Lazzaro came to Indiana from Chicago, where he graduated from Northwestern University in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and a double major in History. Before joining WVPE, he wrote NPR's Source of the Week e-mail newsletter, and previously worked for CalMatters, Pittsburgh's 90.5 WESA and North by Northwestern.