Chesterton Tribune

$4 million sewer bond issue okayed

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By KEVIN NEVERS

The Chesterton Utility Service Board has green-lighted a $4 million bond issue to finance an ambitious package of infrastructure and plant improvements.

At its meeting Monday night, the Service Board voted 4-0 to proceed with the issue. President Larry Brandt was not in attendance.

In consultation with Interim Superintendent Mark O’Dell, members John Schnadenberg and Jim Raffin compiled a list of 31 collections system projects, with an estimated cost of $4,348,600, and 15 plant projects, with an estimated cost of $760,360, for a total estimated cost of $5,108,960.

No one on the Service Board actually expects to complete all 46 projects or the bond issue to finance the whole of the list, but members are hopeful of addressing some of the more pressing issues faced by the Utility:

*The long-discussed, long-postponed Downtown sanitary sewer separation and replacement project. Estimated cost: $672,000, the single most expensive project on the list.

*The replacement of the 16-inch ductile iron force main beneath Porter Ave. between South Calumet Road and Fifth Street. For reasons still unknown, that prematurely corroded main failed last summer between Fifth Street and Eighth Street and the portion of it east of Fifth Street was found to be in not much better shape. Estimated cost: $498,400.

*The purchase of new blowers at the wastewater treatment plant to reduce energy use. Estimated cost: $224,000.

*The purchase and install of variable frequency drivers for the influent pumps at the plant. Estimated cost: $84,000.

*The repair of the Morningside sewer supports and bridge and the re-lining of that sewer under the railroad right-of-way. Estimated cost: $186,000.

Town Council Members and Utility liaison Sharon Darnell, D-4th, noted that the first projects to be tackled will be the highest prioritized ones and then other projects can be pursued based on convenience, opportunity, and available funding.

Added Responsibility

In other business, and on Town Manager Bernie Doyle’s recommendation, members voted 4-0 to endorse the remuneration of O’Dell for his extra responsibilities while serving as interim superintendent: $500 per week, retroactive to his appointment to that position. “It’s fair and right,” Doyle said.

Schnadenberg concurred. “It’s gone on for weeks and it looks to go on into months,” he said. “I think it’s a reasonable request.”

O’Dell “has accepted a lot of responsibility and we asked him to do this,” Raffin added. “I think it’s just.”

“If I could have figured out a way to give you time off,” Member Scot McCord joked, “I would have loved it.”

The Town Council is likely to consider an amendment to the 2009 Salary Ordinance at its next meeting, on Monday.

Crane Truck

Meanwhile, Schnadenberg told his colleagues that he has succeeded in finding, at a cost of $51,000, a used crane truck to be used for lifting pumps from lift stations. The Service Board had expected the vehicle to run around $65,000.

Raffin thanked Schnadenberg for his work in the matter. “It’s important to the Utility and it’s about crew safety,” he said. “And that’s a very commendable thing.”

Red Flag Rule

Members voted 4-0 to approve an identity theft prevention program--in accordance with the so-called “Red Flag Rule” implemented by the Federal Trade Commission and applicable to utilities as creditors--intended to alert employees when new or existing accounts are opened using false information, will protect against the establishment of false accounts, and will provide methods to ensure that existing accounts were not opened using false information.

 

Posted 4/22/2009