Chesterton Tribune



Chesterton Utility ends 2013 not quite in the black

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The Chesterton Utility finished 2013 in the red, but only a bit.

At its meeting Monday night, Utility Service Board President Larry Brandt reported that the Utility ran a a deficit last year of $7,194.07. “Out of a $2 million spending budget, I think that’s outstanding.”

Total revenues in 2013 were $3,867,405.90; total operating revenues, $2,031,080.04; and total expenditures, $2,038,274.11.

Brandt also noted that the Utility currently has a strong cash position of $1,741,583.08 in the Depreciation, Plant Maintenance, and Operation Fund accounts, with debt service earmarks for 2014 already in the bank. That cash is “available,” he said, in case of emergency.

In 2013 the wastewater treatment plant bypassed a total of 154,505 gallons, virtually all of it during a single event in June, which saw 5.17 inches of rain. “What’s nice to see is that what (the Town of) Porter’s doing with upgrading the system and what we’re doing is making a difference,” Member Scot McCord said.

In 2012, by way of contrast, the plant bypassed a total of 65,074 gallons; in 2011, 3.574 million gallons.

In 2013 Chesterton used 42.19 percent of its 3,668,000 gallons per day (gpd) allotment of the wastewater treatment plant; Porter, 48.94 percent of its 851,000 gpd allotment; the Indian Boundary Conservancy District, 63.25 percent of its 81,000 gpd allotment; and the plant as a whole, 43.81 percent of its capacity.

The plant treated 735,557,000 million gallons in 2013, compared to 700,688,000 in 2012 and 852,400,000 in 2011.

Long Term Control Plan

In other business, Mark Nye of DLZ reported that work is progressing on the construction of the 1.2-million gallon storage tank, the centerpiece of the federally mandated long term control plan to reduce sewage bypasses into the Little Calumet River.

The tank’s bottom slab has been poured, Nye said, and crews are preparing to pour the walls.

“Can they work with concrete in this weather?” Member Andy Michel asked.

“When it’s really cold, they put additives in the concrete and cover it when it’s poured,” Nye replied.

In any case, McCord noted, “there was a window (in the weather) when they poured this.”

“There’s a lot of activity at the treatment plant now,” Nye concluded. “Everything seems to be going well so far.”

Election of Officers

By 4-0 votes, the Service Board re-elected Brandt to the presidency, McCord to the vice-presidency, and Deb Schoenfelt to the secretariat. The Service Board also voted 4-0 to retain Harris Welsh & Lukmann as its legal counsel.

Member John Schnadenberg was not in attendance.

The Service Board voted 4-0 as well to re-schedule next month’s meeting from 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17--Presidents’ Day and a municipal holiday--to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18.

Snow Debrief

Superintendent Terry Atherton had good things to say about the performance of his employees during the Polar Vortex event. “Appreciation is expressed to the Utility staff for going above and beyond to see that the needs of the Utility were met during the severe cold and snow experienced over the last several weeks,” Atherton said. “Laboratory staff, operations, maintenance, and administrative personnel thankfully made it in to work. Thanks also goes to those who support the staff efforts to maintain and improve our facilities. Few problems were experienced at the plant during the cold weather, partly due to our preparation.” Atherton noted that the collections crew logged 40 hours in two different shifts, in assistance to the Street Department, clearing the town’s alleys of snow.

Member Jim Raffin thanked the Utility employees who helped the Street Department plow. “I’m speaking probably for everybody in town,” he said.

December in Review

In December, Chesterton used 39.97 percent of its allotment; Porter, 45.3 percent; the Indian Boundary Conservancy District, 57.15 percent; and the plant as a whole, 40.65 percent of its capacity.

The Utility bypassed five gallons of wastewater last month.

Also in December, the Utility ran a surplus of $6,102.25.

Last Thoughts

Both Michel and Raffin took a moment at the end of the meeting to thank the Town Council for re-appointing them to the Service Board. “With everything that’s going on, it’s nice to retain the same board,” Michel said. “We’ve got a good working board,” McCord said. “We’ve done a good job trying to get things on the right track.”



Posted 1/24/2014