Chesterton Tribune



Stormwater Management Board endorses rate hike of 12 percent

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A public hearing Monday night on a proposed 12-percent hike in the monthly stormwater rate was unattended by members of the public.

The Chesterton Stormwater Management Board duly voted 3-0 to endorse that rate hike, which will now go the Town Council for final action. If approved, the increase would go into effect on Aug. 9.

Under the proposal, the base rate paid by residential users of the stormwater system would go from $4.15 to $4.65; the variable rate from $1.95 to $2.18; and the total monthly rate from $6.15 to $6.83.

Non-residential users would see their base rate similarly increased, from $4.15 to $4.65; and the variable rate from $1.95 to $2.18 per equivalent residential unit (ERU), calculated to equal 3,585 square feet of impervious surface.

Over the course of an entire year, residents would see their total annual stormwater rate go from $73.20 to $81.96, an increase of $8.76 or around 12 percent. The rate hasn’t changed since it was originally established 10 years ago, in 2006.

Folks pay the stormwater rate on a bimonthly basis; it appears on their sanitary sewer bills, along with their refuse and recycling fee and their brush and leaf collection assessment.

Driving the rate hike is the Town Council’s desire to make the Stormwater Utility “self-sufficient,” Clerk-Treasurer Stephanie Kuziela has said. Currently the Stormwater Utility is “absorbing debt,” by using the revenues from dedicated property-tax rates to pay the annual debt service of $133,575 on its 2011 stormwater bond. The Stormwater Utility, however, is in fact a “public utility” and should be using the revenues generated by its rates to pay debt service, Kuziela said.

Fishing Derby

In other business, MS4 Operator Jennifer Gadzala reported that the second annual Kids’ Fishing DerbyÑco-sponsored by the Porter Park Department and the Porter Public Works Department and held at Indian Springs Park on June 29Ñwas a smashing success.

About 20 kids participated, she said. “It was a beautiful day. Lots of fish. It was the first time I ever saw a white crappie. A beautiful fish.”

“The kids caught perch, blue gill, crappie, and bass,” Gadzala added. “And we talked to them about keeping stormwater clean. ‘Only rain in the drain.’ It was a good time.”

June in Review

In June the Stormwater Utility ran a surplus of $8,457 and in the year-to-date is running a deficit of $3,935.


Posted 7/20/2016





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