Turns out, the
Chesterton Utility has exactly $607,076 in surplus bond proceeds left over
from a pair of issues: the $10.7-million bond issued in 2013 used to finance
the federally mandated long term control plan to reduce combined sewer
overflows into the Little Calumet River, the key component of which was the
construction of a 1.2-million gallon storage tank; and from the $2.1-million
bond issued in 2015 to finance the Fox Chase Farms sewer tie-in project.
And those moneys
may be put to other uses, specifically the rebuild and reconditioning of
several of the clarifiers at the wastewater treatment plant.
At its meeting
Monday night, the Town Council voted unanimously to adopt a resolution
authorizing the expenditure of those surplus bond proceeds on the clarifier
Superintendent Dave Ryan told the Chesterton Tribune after the
meeting that the six primary clarifiers and three secondary ones--the large
circular basins located just north of the Utility’s offices on League Lane
in Porter--remove solids from wastewater by first agitating the water and
then, in essence, squeegeeing them out.
The clarifiers, he
noted, are 30 years old and have seen better days. The total cost of the
project has been estimated at between $800,000 and $900,000.
The fact that there
are surplus proceeds at all goes to the Utility’s thriftiness, Town Attorney
Chuck Lukmann said. “That’s from good competitive bidding and everyone on
the team keeping costs down, so there’s money left over.”
In other business,
and on Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg’s recommendation, members voted
unanimously to renew the town’s 2016 asphalt contract with Rieth Riley
said he’s been researching market conditions and eyeing the price of oil as
it continues to inch up, suggested that locking in the 2016 asphalt price is
likely a good idea.
The town has done
so before. In 2014 the council extended its 2013 contract with Walsh & Kelly
Inc. and then did so again in 2015, when steep hikes in the price of oil
made asphalt a lot more expensive. Then, last year, when the oil market
softened considerably, Schnadenberg pushed to put the asphalt contract back
up to bid. That too proved a smart move, as Rieth Riley underbid Walsh &
Kelly by $2.50 per ton for surface. With two hefty paving projects last
season--Indian Boundary Road east of Ind. 49 and 1100N between Fifth Street
and Pearson Road--the savings were substantial.
also voted unanimously to pay four department heads for vacation time which
they didn’t take in 2016, per the town’s personnel policy.
are eligible to receive payouts in the New Year for up to 80 hours of unused
vacation time. Clerk-Treasurer Stephanie Kuziela was paid for 27 unused
hours; Police Chief Dave Cincoski for 78; Town Engineer Mark O’Dell for 80;
and Schnadenberg for 80.
Members also voted
unanimously to increase the hourly rate paid to partners in the town’s
contracted legal firm, Harris Welsh & Lukmann, from $150 to $210. Members
noted that the rate has remained unchanged for 15 years.
The firm is paid
that rate for any counsel over and above the annual retainer of $12,657,
which remains unchanged.
Harris Welsh &
Lukmann gives all of its municipal clients a discount on the hourly rate
charged its regular clients.
At the suggestion
of President Jim Ton, R-1st, the council began the meeting by voting
unanimously to re-appoint all department heads. “They’ve done a great job in
my estimation over 2016,” Ton said.
Kittredge, R-2nd, concurred. “Everybody really seems to have the town first
and foremost in their job,” he said.