Chesterton Tribune



Stormwater Board adopts 2019 budget with deficit

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The Chesterton Stormwater Management Board has approved a 2019 budget which projects a net deficit for the year of $58,960.

At their meeting Monday night, members voted unanimously to adopt the budget as submitted by Stormwater Utility Superintendent Mark O’Dell.

That budget projects total revenues of $520,850; and revenues for operation of $508,850.

Projected expenses: $281,335 for salaries and wages; $139,813 for employee pensions and benefits; $9,550 for materials and supplies; $15,500 for contractual services; $7,500 for transportation; $1,500 for MS4 public education; $13,250 for miscellaneous expenses; and $99,362 for total debt service.

Total expenses: $567,810, with a projected net deficit of $58,960.

“We’ll be monitoring the budget closely next year,” O’Dell told the board.

After the meeting Clerk-Treasurer Stephanie Kuziela told the Chesterton Tribune that the projected deficit is chiefly due to the Stormwater Utility’s assumption this year of debt service on the $800,000 stormwater bond issued in 2011. Formerly--and going back to the Clerk-Treasurership of the late Gayle Polakowski--debt service on stormwater bonds was customarily paid through property-taxes. The decision was made last year, Kuziela said, to shift that debt-service to the Stormwater Utility’s rate-payers, which include--for instance--tax-exempt entities like the Duneland School Corporation.

“The idea is for the rate-payers to pay for improvements that benefit them,” Kuziela said. “In any case, both the Stormwater Utility and the Sanitary Sewer Utility are considered ‘enterprises’ whose revenues should be sufficient to cover their own debt.”

Hotel Project

In other business, MS4 Operator Jennifer Gadzala reported that she’s conducted her initial review of the Stormwater Pollution Protection Permit application filed by Amerilodge Group of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., the developer of a proposed double-hotel project at Coffee Creek Center, located immediately north of the Speedway gas station and the Culver’s restaurant.

Amerilodge is proposing to build a Holiday Inn Express and a Fairfield Inn & Suites. The Holiday Inn would feature 90 rooms in four stories; the Fairfield, 87 rooms in three stories. The complex would be accessed via Matson Street and Blackwell Lane.

Later in the evening on Monday, the Utility Service Board voted unanimously to grant Amerilodge a sanitary sewer service allocation for the two hotels, at the request of Amerilodge’s local attorney, Greg Babcock.

The Chesterton Advisory Plan Commission is scheduled to hold a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29, on the primary plat for the pair of hotels.

October in Review

In October the Stormwater Utility ran a surplus of $33,526 and in the year-to-date is running a surplus of $181,874.



Posted 1/20/2018




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