Chesterton Tribune

Utility board formally endorses 2 percent sanitary sewer rate increase

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The average Chesterton household could see a small increase on its bimonthly sanitary sewer bill this year, under a 2-percent rate hike endorsed by the Utility Service Board.

At a special meeting Monday night, members voted 4-0 to endorse that hike and forward it to the Town Council, which must hold a public hearing on the proposed increase before taking any further action. Member Jim Raffin was not in attendance.

The average Chesterton household currently pays a bimonthly bill of $75.25 for sanitary service. A 2-percent hike would raise that amount by around $1.55, to $76.80.

Out-of-town customers—chiefly the Town of Porter and the Indian Boundary Conservancy District—would see no rate increase, because the hike as proposed by the Service Board is intended solely to offset the costs of maintaining the town’s collection system.

“So many things need to be done to the collection system,” President Larry Brandt told the Chesterton Tribune last week. “We have to maintain the lift stations and there are some repair projects that need to be done because of breaks. We’ll be spending more on the collection system than we thought, not less.”

Brandt did say that a rate hike this year would probably negate the need for one next year.

Bids Opened for

Downtown Sewer Project

In other business, members voted 4-0 to take under advisement the seven bids received for this spring’s Downtown sanitary sewer replacement project.

The base bids:

•Reith Riley Construction Company Inc. of Gary: $518,208.30.

•Woodruff & Sons of Michigan City: $572,899.50.

•Grimmer Construction Company Inc. of Highland: $646,642.55.

•G.E. Marshall Inc. of Valparaiso: $658,468.02.

•Gough Inc. of Merrillville: $745,675.

•de Boer Egolf Corporation of Portage: $786,700.50.

•Gariup Construction Company Inc. of Gary: $847,700.

The good news: the lower bids are better than ballpark. Town Engineer Mark O’Dell told the Tribune after the meeting that the original engineer’s estimate of the project’s cost was $600,000.

Dump Truck

Bid Awarded

Meanwhile, members voted 4-0 to award the bid for a new dump truck to Truck City of Gary.

Member John Schnadenberg, who reviewed the two bids—$144,799 from Chicago International Trucks of Hammond; $146,497 from Truck City—recommended the higher Truck City bid, because the lower Chicago International Trucks bid included 19 exceptions to the advertised specifications.

“Truck City met all specs,” Schnadenberg said.

He added that no one should expect delivery until September at the earliest.

IURC Intervention

Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann had one other piece of news for the Service Board, namely, that the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has named the Town of Chesterton an intervenor in the Damon Run Conservancy District’s petition to accept wastewater from Porter hospital’s new facility in Liberty Township.

Lukmann noted, however, that the town only has two weeks to file its testimony in the case.

On Lukmann’s recommendation, members voted 4-0 to retain the Indianapolis consulting firm London Witte Group LLC to appear on the town’s behalf before the IURC.


Posted 1/25/2011