Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

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If Operating Engineers Local 150 has not settled its strike against the Four County Highway Contractors Association by the close of business on Thursday, the Chesterton Utility Service Board will begin exploring alternatives to completing the Downtown utility project.

At their meeting Monday night, members agreed to hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 23, to discuss their options.

At this point the only real work remaining in the Downtown is the asphalting of South Calumet Road, which Town Engineer Mark O’Dell has estimated should only take a couple of days.

“We’re doing everything we can,” Member John Schnadenberg said. “I know the businesses are trying to be patient and hopefully we can get this resolved. It’s important that we do what’s best for the Downtown businesses.”

“Hopefully the union can settle before Thursday,” Member Scot McCord added. “I’d be tickled to death if (general contractor) Rieth-Riley can finish it. But if not, we have to look at other alternatives.”

It’s unclear what those alternatives might be, although President Larry Brandt told the Chesterton Tribune after the meeting that the Service Board is currently gathering information. “That’s what we’ll talk about on Thursday.”

On Saturday, Four County reported that the day before it had offered Local 150 a new three-year economic package of an additional $1.30 in the first year, $1.50 in the second, and $1.55 in the third: an improvement over its previous two-year offer of $1.00/$1.00.

But Local 150 spokesman Ed Maher said that the union rejected that offer because it came with unacceptable changes in work-rules language.

New Financial Adviser

In other business, the Service Board has apparently ended its long-time relationship with financial consultant H.J. Umbaugh & Associates, by voting 5-0 to retain the Indianapolis certified public accounting firm of London Witte Group.

Schnadenberg made the motion to retain London Witte to provide financial advice and to prepare the Utility’s biennial rate studies.

May in Review

In May, Chesterton used 60.6 percent of its 3,710,000 gallon per day (gpd) allotment of the wastewater treatment plant; Porter, 79.77 percent of its 809,000 gpd allotment; the Indian Boundary Conservancy District, 97.56 percent of its 81,000 gpd allotment; and the plant as a whole, 65.2 percent of its capacity.

May was an unusually wet month with a total of 7.45 inches of rain recorded, and the plant was forced to bypass an estimated 1,923,000 gallons of untreated wastewater into the Little Calumet River.

The Utility ran a surplus in May of $160,894 and in the year-to-date is running a surplus of $87,322.



Posted 6/21/2011




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