rates for Chesterton residents and out-of-town customers of the Utility will
remain stable for the next two years.
At its meeting
Monday night, the Town Council voted 5-0 to approve on first reading the
2015-16 rate ordinance, then 5-0 to approve it on final reading. The
ordinance was previously introduced at the council’s last meeting.
At a public hearing
prior to the vote, Utility Service Board President Larry Brandt told the
council that the biennial rate process was more complicated than usual owing
to the financing of the ongoing long term control plan (LTCP) to reduce
sewage bypasses into the Little Calumet River, the key component of which is
the construction of a 1.2-million gallon storage tank.
said, the Utility’s contracted rate consultant, London Witte Group, began
its review fully eight months ago, at the end of which it concluded that the
impact on rates of the LTCP’s financing is “negligible.”
For that reason,
London Witte Group advised the Utility to maintain the schedule of rates and
base charges mostly as it is.
There are some
exceptions, Brandt noted.
household in Chesterton, for example, may see some “slight reduction” in the
bimonthly bill, he said.
The Town of Porter,
on the other hand--which has spent $5 million to address the problems in its
collection system--will actually be assessed a slight rate increase, of
around 5 percent. That’s because the Town of Porter is now sending the
wastewater treatment plant less effluent, so its share of the cost of
treatment has gone up, Brandt said.
He hastened to add,
however, that in fact the Town of Porter’s “actual bills will go down,”
inasmuch as the plant is treating a great deal less of its wastewater.
One person spoke in
favor of the rate ordinance at the public hearing: Paul Tharp, who urged the
council to approve it. No one spoke in opposition to it.
In other business,
members voted 5-0 on Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg’s recommendation
to extend the town’s asphalt contract with Walsh & Kelly Inc. for another
This extension is
the second of the original contract, meaning that in 2015 asphalt will cost
the same as it did in 2013.
Jeff Trout, R-2nd, formally resigned his seat on the council, as the
Chesterton Tribune reported he would do in Monday’s edition.
Trout and his wife,
Bonnie, are moving to a different home, still in the Town of Chesterton, but
outside the 2nd District.
“My address will
change,” Trout said. “But my commitment to serve the good people of
Chesterton will not.”
“We’re going to
miss Jeff on the council,” said Member Nick Walding, R-3rd. “He’s not
leaving Chesterton, which is good. But we’ll miss his experience.”
Members did vote
4-0, with Trout abstaining, to reaffirm his membership on the Redevelopment
Commission and the Advisory Plan Commission through the end of the year.