By KEVIN NEVERS
The Department of Local
Government Finance (DLGF) has granted the Town of Chesterton the whole of
the excess levy which it was seeking to provide services to a pair of newly
annexed areas: $860,583.
There is a catch, however:
the excess levy has a phase-in of three years, with the bulk of
it—$517,215—front-loaded to 2009, another $234,736 authorized in 2010, and
the balance of $108,722 authorized in 2011.
An excess levy is a request
to collect more property taxes than the annual increase allowed by law.
Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann
gave the good news to the Town Council at its meeting Monday night. He noted
that DLGF phased the excess levy in the event that proposed development does
not actually occur in the second of the two annexed areas, that one acquired
by I-80 LLC south of the Indiana Toll Road and east of Ind. 49, where Bob
Rossman is planning to develop a retail mall.
At the November meeting of
the Advisory Plan Commission Vlad and Eric Gastevich, the developers of the
first annexed area—the old Olson Farm property located at the terminus of
East Porter Ave. east of 250E—announced that homes in their 360-unit
single-family planned unit development should be ready for construction
within two years.
The excess levy is intended
to be used to hire additional police officers, firefighters, and other town
employees as well as vehicles and equipment to service the two annexed
It is unclear at this point
how much the authorized excess levy of $517,215 will impact the Town of
Chesterton’s municipal tax rate in 2009.
The 2008 municipal tax rate,
on the other hand, did dip by 4.5 percent, from $0.5931 per $100 of assessed
valuation in 2007 to $0.5663 per $100 of assessed valuation, a drop of 2.68
At the end of the meeting
Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th, took a moment to reflect on the year that was
and the one that will be. This year, he said, has been marked by “some
catastrophic things,” including the flood, the Porter Ave. sanitary sewer
failure, and of course the loss of “some near and dear residents.”
Next year, however, may well
be a watershed year, as new development begins to go on line. “Our town is
growing in new directions,” DeLaney said. “We’ve taken on some very large
annexations and if you think’s nothing’s going to happen, think again.”
“Our town is more than the
road to Michigan,” DeLaney remarked. “We want people to come to visit. And
we need to brand our town.” DeLaney then pointed to a number of projects
ongoing and proposed, including the South Calumet District project, the 15th
Street facility rehab, and Downtown improvements.
“I implore the residents of
our town to get out, be more involved, be proud,” DeLaney urged. “Come to
board meetings. Bring your children because they’re our next leaders.”
“I would like to see us, our
town, our council, the department heads, move forward and work together a
little better,” DeLaney also said.
Hometown Christmas Parade
Member Jeff Trout, R-2nd,
encouraged everyone in Duneland to attend the Hometown Christmas Parade in
the Downtown on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.
It starts at 5:30 p.m. and
is a great way to kick off the Christmas season, he said. “It’s quite an
Member Dave Cincoski, R-3rd,
also took a moment to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season.