Chesterton Tribune



Chesterton council voices support of South Shore double tracking project

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The Chesterton Town Council has voiced its support for the South Shore commuter line’s double-tracking project.

At their meeting Monday night--and at the suggestion of President Jim Ton, R-1st--members voted unanimously to forward to the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) a resolution in support of the project, which would add a second track in the current single-track territory between Michigan City and Gary.

A public-comment period on the double-tracking project is currently open.

NICTD is pursuing the project to cut travel times to Chicago and add more trains to the schedule, in an effort to make Northwest Indiana a more attractive bedroom location for folks who work in Chicago. “It’s an economic development issue for the region,” Ton said. “It will create additional jobs and cut commute times down.”

“This is a very good, well thought out economic driver for Northwest Indiana,” agreed Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th. “It’s going to change the scope of the region.”

Appraisals for

Lipinski Property

In other business, members voted unanimously to obtain two appraisals--per Indiana Code--of the old Lipinski Automotive property at 1300 Broadway, with an eye to its possible acquisition.

The cost of the appraisals: $2,000 and $2,500.

The property--which Lipinski has put on the market--is contiguous to the rear of the municipal complex at 1490 Broadway and would provide not only an acre and a half for possible future expansion of the Street Department facilities at the complex but also an additional point of ingress and egress.

Associate Town Attorney Julie Paulson emphasized that contracting for the two appraisals in no way commits the town to the purchase of the property. Under state law, the town could offer no more for the property, if the council was of a mind to acquire it, than the average of the appraisals.

Crocker Vacation

Members also voted unanimously to approve the vacation of a platted but unimproved portion of Church Street in Crocker, where it dead-ends to the north.

The vacation was requested by Daniel Britzke of 1711 Church Street, who owns two parcels on either side of the right-of-way. Britzke told the council that he was seeking the vacation in order to consolidate the two parcels into a single piece of contiguous property.

At a public hearing prior to the vote, no one spoke in favor of the vacation and no one in opposition.

2018 Budget

Members voted unanimously as well to approve on first reading the town’s advertised 2018 budget.

That budget provides for a property-tax rate in 2018 of $0.9588 per $100 of assessed valuation, compared to a rate of $0.8079 this year and $0.9494 in 2016.

Although the 2018 rate represents a 19 percent-increase over the 2017 rate, the latter was slashed by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance following a calculation mistake last year by the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office. The 2018 rate represents less than a 1-percent increase, on the other hand, over the 2016 rate. “We’re back to what we should be collecting,” Clerk-Treasurer Stephanie Kuziela told the Chesterton Tribune after the meeting.

The 2018 budget also reflects a statutory 4-percent growth in property tax collection, Kuziela said.

At a public hearing prior to the vote, no one spoke in favor of the budget and no one in opposition.



Posted 10/10/2017




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