Chesterton Tribune


Public hearing November 13 on proposed 6 percent sewer rate hike

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The Chesterton Town Council will hold a public hearing at its next meeting on a proposed sanitary sewer rate hike of just under 6 percent.

At its meeting Monday night, the council voted 5-0 to hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13.

Note: the council is meeting on the second Tuesday of the month—not its regular day, the second Monday—because that Monday falls on Veterans Day, a federal holiday observed by the town.

As the Chesterton Tribune reported last week, under the proposed rate hike, the average residential household using 10,000 gallons of water per month would see its bimonthly bill rise from $76.80 to $81.26: a hike of $4.46 or $2.23 per month or 5.81 percent.

If the council approves the proposed increase, it would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2013.

Representatives of the Utility Service Board will be on hand at the public hearing to make the case for the rate hike, which they say is needed to pay for the long term control plan mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—and administered by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management—under which the Utility is required to build a 1.2-million gallon storage tank to hold stormwater during heavy rain events. The estimated cost of that tank and associated upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant: $14.9 million.

The Service Board is currently seeking to finance that project through a loan from the State Revolving Fund.

The most recent sanitary sewer hike went into effect on April 1, 2011: one of 2 percent, enacted to offset the costs of maintaining the town’s collection system.

Two years before that, on Jan. 1, 2009, a 14-percent rate hike went into effect, to support the 2009 bond issue floated to finance a package of infrastructure projects and equipment acquisitions.

Under the currently proposed rate increase, outside users—the Town of Porter and the Indian Boundary Conservancy District—would also see their rate increase: by 16 percent, exactly the same percentage hike which would be assessed to Chesterton rate-payers, for the treatment portion of their bill. When all components of the Chesterton rate-payers’ bill are calculated, however, the overall hike would be around 6 percent.


Posted 10/23/2012