Chesterton Tribune



Town applies for 50 50 grant for six road projects

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Chesterton Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg is hopeful of securing, for the third consecutive year, a 50/50 Community Crossings state infrastructure grant which would, in 2019, halve the town’s out-of-pocket for six major roadwork projects.

As Schnadenberg reported at Monday night’s Town Council meeting, he, Town Engineer Mark O’Dell, and MS4 Operator Jennifer Gadzala have completed and submitted the town’s application for the next round of Community Crossings grant awards.

The six projects:

* The replacement of curbs along East Morgan Ave. from Coffee Creek Park east to Roosevelt Street in Morgan Park. Those curbs, installed in the 1920s, are now crumbling. Also: full-depth patching of portions of the concrete roadway.

* The re-pave of South 11th Street from Park Ave. south to 1100N.

* The re-pave of South Eighth Street from West Porter Ave. to Broadway.

* The re-pave of 100E from 1100N to 1050N.

* The re-pave of West Porter Ave. from South Calumet Road to South Eighth Street.

* And the re-pave of South 15th Street from Broadway to Washington Ave.

These projects will be pursued whether or not the town receives a Community Crossings grant, as the council agreed earlier this year to issue a $1.8-million general obligation bond to finance roadwork and sidewalk repairs. But the Community Crossings grant would add more bang to the buck.

Community Crossings grants have previously halved the cost of re-paving 1100N from Pearson Road to South Fifth Street; and--this year--the cost of re-paving South Calumet Road from Porter Ave. to the Chesterton Post Office, re-paving Wabash Ave. from North Calumet Road to Waverly Road and then Waverly Road north to Woodlawn Ave., and replacing the old bridge on East Porter Ave. over Sand Creek.

Animal Control

In other business, members tabled a proposed three-year Animal Control contract with Porter County at an annual cost of $27,347.

Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th, indicated that he first wants an Animal Control representative to appear before the council to justify the expense of it. “I’m not going to approve it if I don’t get an explanation,” he said.

Over the years the council has argued that Chesterton residents are getting double-billed for animal control services provided by the county, inasmuch as their property-tax bills should already reflect those services.

Health Insurance Renewal

Meanwhile, members voted unanimously to renew its municipal health insurance coverage for 2019, at a more favorable rate.

Next year the town’s 12-month maximum out-of-pocket liability will be $1,377,041, compared to this year’s 10-month maximum out-of-pocket of $1,386,848. That amounts to an annualized savings of $287,176, Clerk-Treasurer Stephanie Kuziela said.

Fiber Optic Operating Fund

Member also voted unanimously to approve an ordinance establishing a dedicated operating fund for the town’s fiber optic network, for the purpose of receiving revenues from the network and expending moneys.

Under an agreement with the network’s contracted operator, NITCO, the town will earn, on a quarterly basis, a percent of the gross revenue generated by the network: 7.5 percent of non-residential services over the first 25 years; 3.75 percent of residential services; and 7.5 percent from recurring fees paid by other municipalities.

The town itself is responsible for the cost of constructing the fiber-optic backbone and will own the infrastructure. But NITCO will be responsible for the cost of installing all lateral legs; for maintaining, repairing, and upgrading the network; and for all marketing, technical support, operations, billing, and collection, and any bad debts will be NITCO’s sole responsibility and loss.



Posted 9/25/2018




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