Chesterton Tribune



Chesterton Council to hold hearing Monday on proposed sewer rate hikes

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The Chesterton Town Council will meet at 7 p.m. Monday, April 22.

At that meeting, members will hold a public hearing on a proposed increase in sewer rate hikes for several categories of customer:

--Under the proposed schedule of increases, an average Chesterton household using 10,000 gallons of water would see a hike of 3.01 percent, increasing the bimonthly bill from $85.84 to $88.42.

--A 5.22-percent hike for the Town of Porter. Based on average usage, Porterís monthly payment to the Utility would increase from $56,598.10 to $59,552.34.

--A 5.21-percent hike for the Indian Boundary Conservancy District. Based on average usage, the IBCDís monthly payment would increase from $6,523.94 to $6,863.98.

--A 0.66-percent hike for Fox Chase Farms residents, increasing their monthly payments from $98.53 to $99.18.

Utility Service Board President Larry Brandt, in requesting the public hearing at the councilís last meeting, cited a variety of reasons for the rate hikes, beginning with the $152,000 annual Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) which the Utility is making over to the Town of Chestertonís General Fund in support of the wage increases granted last year by the Town Council to municipal employees. Porter, IBCD, and Fox Chase Farms would not be on the hook for the PILT; only Chesterton residents would be paying for it.

Brandt also cited general inflationary pressure, including a 2.88-percent increase in such operating expenses as wages, benefits, and pensions, as well as purchased power from NIPSCO; the necessity of increasing the Utilityís budget for vehicle replacement; and a requirement under the Utilityís agreement with the State Revolving Fund--which provided financing for the 1.2-million gallon storage tank to reduce combined sewer bypasses during heavy rain events--to generate net operating revenues equal to at least 125 of its annual maximum debt service.

In other business, the council is scheduled to authorize the appointment of two appraisers to determine the fair market value of the house and property at the southeast corner of South Calumet Road and East Porter Ave. Members are interested in possibly purchasing the property, which could be used for right-of-way at such time as the intersection of South Calumet Road and Porter Ave. is aligned and widened. Under state law, a municipality may pay no more than the average of two appraisals when acquiring private property.

The council will also hold a public hearing on the petition of Kasie Carmichael for the vacation of the platted but unimproved alley in the 200 block of South 21st Street; will hear from Maura Durham, president of Duneland Chamber of Commerce, who is scheduled to propose the expansion of the European Market; and will discuss a proposed new Lamar sign at an unspecified location in town.


Posted 4/19/2019





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