The Town of
Chesterton has taken official interest in Valparaiso City Utilities’ move to
acquire the infrastructure of the Damon Run Conservancy District.
At their meeting
Monday night, members voted unanimously to retain the services of the legal
firm Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP in what that firm refers to as a “sewer
territory dispute” in a contract acceptance letter to Associate Town
Attorney Chuck Parkinson.
Later in the
meeting, Member Jim Ton, R-1st, read a prepared statement in which he
unequivocally expresses the view that Valparaiso City Utilities (VCU) and
the City of Valparaiso itself appear to be interested in Lebensraum.
The text of that
statement in full:
“Oct. 22, 2019, the
Chesterton Tribune published Mr. Ron Stone’s view of the proposed
purchase of Damon Run sanitary service by Valparaiso City Utilities (VCU). I
concur with Ron’s analysis. This ‘deal’ is not in the best interests of the
public in general and, in particular, the people who currently use Damon Run
“This ‘deal’ is
“Damon Run property
owners have paid more for their utility services than others in the area due
to an annual debt service shortfall identified by the Indiana Utility
Regulatory Commission (IURC).
“It is disingenuous
for the ‘deal’ supporters to state that Chesterton Utility or the Town of
Chesterton demonstrated no interest in the purchase of Damon Run.
“The ‘deal’ is a
clear attempt by VCU and the city to enlarge its ‘sphere of influence’
northward regardless of the local residents’ desires or best interests.
and has been absent in this rush to make a ‘deal.’
must be provided by the best provider that is identified by the facts. We
ask that the IURC identify those facts and do so promptly.”
After the meeting
Associate Town Attorney Connor Nolan told the Chesterton Tribune that
in 2014 the Town of Chesterton adopted an exclusive sewer territorial
ordinance which stipulates that within a radius of four miles outside the
town’s corporate limits it has sole rights to provide sanitary sewer
service. The City of Valparaiso, however, adopted its own territorial
ordinance this fall which stipulates the same, within a radius of 10
miles outside of its corporate limits, thereby encroaching on the Town of
said, Bingham Greenebaum Doll will be reviewing a pair of legal strategies
to determine the most appropriate: either to intervene in this case before
the IURC; or else to file an independent petition before the IURC to enforce
its territorial ordinance.
RR Quiet Zone
In other business,
members voted unanimously to pay two claims as part of the railroad quiet
zone project, both submitted by railroads: a $5,400 claim by Norfolk
Southern; and a $6,000 claim by CSX.
Those are to pay
the administrative fees incurred by the railroads as they work with the
town’s quiet zone consultant, CTC Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas.
Town Manager Bernie
Doyle noted that CTC reps will travel to Chesterton on Nov. 7 for their
first face-to-face meeting with officials.
voted unanimously to approve on second reading the 2020 advertised budget.
provides for 2-percent raises for all full-time municipal employees. Moneys
were freed for those raises by lowering the town’s annual allocation for
healthcare insurance claims: from $1.6 million this year to $1.4 million
next year. That allocation currently has a balance of $387,000,
Clerk-Treasurer Stephanie Kuziela told the Chesterton Tribune.
Earlier in the
evening, at the monthly meeting of the Redevelopment Commission, members
voted unanimously to approve--pending legal review--a contract with Landmark
Sign Group in the amount of $3,600, to install a sign reading “Downtown
Chesterton” on the monument supporting Lamar’s new LED sign at the
intersection of North Calumet Road and Indian Boundary Road.
Doyle also reported
to the commission that the office of U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, is
currently investigating the delay in the Amtrak permitting needed to
complete the fiber optic network connection to Yost Elementary School in
Porter. “They’re on it,” Doyle said.