Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Chesterton Town Council okays 2015-16 sewer rates; no real change

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By KEVIN NEVERS

Sanitary sewer 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.

Indeed, Brandt 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.

The average 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.

Asphalt Contract

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 year.

This extension is the second of the original contract, meaning that in 2015 asphalt will cost the same as it did in 2013.

Trout Resigns

Meanwhile, Member 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.

 

 

Posted 12/9/2014