customers whose accounts are in arrears received in their last billing
statement, mailed Sept. 17, an application for a flexible payment plan, to
help them chip away at their outstanding balances over time.
The deadline for
submitting the application: Oct. 2. The number of accounts in arrears as of
Sept 21: 1,158, totaling $96,000. The number of customers who actually
submitted an application for a payment plan: 40.
Dave Ryan reported to the Utility Service Board at its meeting Monday night.
“So out of all
those late bills, only 40 signed up out of hundreds?” Member John
Schnadenberg said. “Wow. That’s troubling.”
Ryan agreed that it
is troubling. At least as troubling is the fact that these hundreds of
customers now risk losing their water service. Because the “first line of
recourse,” as Ryan told the Service Board, is assessing penalties, then
pursuing water shut-offs. The next scheduled penalty assessment is Dec. 14,
with shut-offs to follow the week after.
Christmas,” remarked Member Scot McCord. “I’d hate to do that at Christmas
time. We’re giving everybody an opportunity to reach out and do something.
But to only have 40 people respond, well, that’s not good.”
Ryan noted that
both Portage and Michigan City have indicated their intention to begin water
shut-offs for delinquent customers in November, but that for his part he’s
open to suggestions from the Service Board.
the possibility of waiting until the New Year to take action but made no
decision on Monday. “We’ll wait for the numbers in November,” President
Larry Brandt said. “Then we’ll have a better idea.”
Ryan told the
Chesterton Tribune after the meeting that, though it’s true the deadline
has come and gone for submitting an application for a payment plan,
customers in arrears should still contact the Utility now and inquire about
a payment plan. “Nothing’s guaranteed but we’ll certainly review it and see
if they’re qualified,” he said.
Of the 40
applications received, 25 were for a 12-month payment plan; three for
10-month; one each for nine- and eight-month; six for six-month; and two
each for four- and three-month.
Call the Utility
Billing Office at 926-1572.
In other business,
members voted unanimously to declare surplus a pair of Gardner Denver
20-horsepower rotary screw air compressors.
Ryan told the
Service Board that the air compressors are 17 years old.
September in Review
Chesterton used 49.07 percent of its 3,668,000 gallon per day (gpd)
allotment of the wastewater treatment plant; Porter, 42.9 percent of its
851,000 gpd allotment; the Indian Boundary Conservancy District, 51.82
percent of its 81,000 gpd allotment; and the treatment plant as a whole,
47.98 percent of its capacity.
There were no
overflows of wastewater last month into the Little Calumet River. Total
rainfall recorded at the treatment plant in September: 2.03 inches.
Also in September,
the Utility ran a surplus of $393,832.48 and in the year-to-date is running
a surplus of $786,992.23.
Last Thought: Vote
McCord took a
moment at the end of the meeting to urge people to vote. “I’m happy to see
people getting out to vote,” he said. “I’ve always been a stickler for that.
It’s not only an important vote in the presidential election but in our
county and our community.”