Starke Council Approves New Position for Highway Department

Starke County Highway Superintendent Stephen "Rik" Ritzler
Starke County Highway Superintendent Stephen “Rik” Ritzler

The Starke County Highway Department this week cleared another hurdle as they seek to establish a new position in the county to hire a construction inspection supervisor. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler had previously approached the commissioners seeking their approval to create the position and his request was approved unanimously.

Monday night, the council reviewed the amendment to the salary ordinance regarding the new position and approved a motion to amend the ordinance to allow for the hire of the inspection supervisor. Ritzler said this will allow the county to forgo hiring inspectors for projects, saving money in the long run.

The supervisor would have to be INDOT certified, but Ritzler said there are already a number of residents within the county who would qualify for the position. He said he estimates the savings would be around $140,000 over two years, and the supervisor could train other highway department employees as well.

On top of that, Ritzler said there is a possibility that INDOT may reimburse some of the expense in hiring a supervisor.