Chesterton Tribune



Pending bill would exempt farmers, churches, schools from stormwater fees

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Legislation currently pending in the Indiana General Assembly could cost the Chesterton Stormwater Utility more than $25,000 in annual revenues from the stormwater fee which it currently charges certain categories of customers.

Under Senate Bill 502--authored by State Sens. Aaron Freeman, R-32nd, and Blake Doriot, R-12th--church, school, and agricultural property all would be exempted from paying stormwater fees, as Associate Town Attorney Connor Nolan told the Stormwater Management Board at its meeting Tuesday night.

As matters stand now, the Stormwater Utility collects an annual total of $26,341.20 from the 12 churches and five Duneland School properties located in the Town of Chesterton.

Of the 12 churches, St. Patrick Catholic Church pays the highest annual fee ($3,221.16); the Duneland Community Church at 1552 Pioneer Trail pays the second highest ($1,128.36); while the Church of Christ at 219 S. 15th St. and the Crocker Bible Baptist Church at 1050 Church St. pay the lowest fee ($81.96). The average annual fee: $602.98.

The Duneland School Corporation, for its part, pays an annual total of $19,105.44 among its five properties: Chesterton High School, Chesterton Middle School, Westchester Intermediate, Bailly Elementary, and the Brown Mansion.

Some municipal stormwater utilities would be hit much harder than Chesterton’s if the legislation is enacted, Town Engineer Mark O’Dell noted. Dyer’s stands to lose something on the order of $100,000.

As it happens, neither churches nor schools appear to be driving the legislation. On the contrary, farmers are. “Farmers in unincorporated areas are opposing stormwater fees,” Nolan said.

The Stormwater Management Board voted unanimously to voice its opposition to SB 502 and to instruct its attorney to draft a letter against the legislation.

Drainage Projects

In other business, Street Commission John Schnadenberg reported that he’s eyeing a pair of drainage projects.

The first would remedy a pooling problem in the alley between Wabash Ave. and Grant Ave., west of North Calumet Road. After the fix has been made, Schnadenberg said, that alley would then be paved.

The second would address a long-standing pooling problem on South 11th Street at the intersection of Crab Tree Lane, just north of 1100N, by piping runoff to a stormwater sewer 300 feet to the east.

Street Department Activities

Schnadenberg also reported that, with February’s unseasonably mild weather, the Street Department has gotten a jump on spring.

Among other things, crews have been grading alleys, streetsweeping main roads, and replacing old street-name signage in a number of subdivisions. Today, Schnadenberg said, a crew was scheduled to begin removal of a couple of hazard trees.

“Things we normally do in the spring we’re going to go ahead and get an early start on,” he noted. “We haven’t been busy with snow but we’ve been busy doing a lot of other things.”

January in Review

In January the Stormwater Utility ran a surplus of $16,347.


Posted 2/22/2017




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