Chesterton Tribune

Chesterton wins approval to collect more property taxes

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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 areas.

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 cents.

Looking Ahead

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 event.”

Holiday Wishes

Member Dave Cincoski, R-3rd, also took a moment to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season.

 

 Posted 11/25/2008