New sewer rates for
customers of the Chesterton Utility are now officially in effect.
At its meeting
Monday night, the Town Council voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance
codifying a schedule of rate hikes for several categories of customer.
At a public hearing
which preceded the vote, no one spoke in favor of the rate hikes and no one
The schedule of
hike for the average Chesterton household using 10,000 gallons of water,
increasing the bimonthly bill from $85.84 to $88.42.
hike for the Town of Porter. Based on average usage, Porter’s monthly
payment to the Utility will increase from $56,598.10 to $59,552.34.
hike for the Indian Boundary Conservancy District. Based on average usage,
the IBCD’s monthly payment will increase from $6,523.94 to $6,863.98.
hike for Fox Chase Farms residents, increasing their monthly payments from
$98.53 to $99.18.
Board President Larry Brandt, in requesting the public hearing at the
council’s last meeting, cited a variety of reasons for the rate hikes,
beginning with the $152,000 annual Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) which the
Utility is making over to the Town of Chesterton’s General Fund in support
of the wage increases granted last year by the Town Council to municipal
employees. Porter, IBCD, and Fox Chase Farms are not on the hook for
the PILT; only Chesterton residents are paying for it.
Brandt also cited
general inflationary pressure, including a 2.88-percent increase in such
operating expenses as wages, benefits, and pensions, as well as purchased
power from NIPSCO; the necessity of increasing the Utility’s budget for
vehicle replacement; and a requirement under the Utility’s agreement with
the State Revolving Fund--which provided financing for the 1.2-million
gallon storage tank to reduce combined sewer bypasses during heavy rain
events--to generate net operating revenues equal to at least 125 of its
annual maximum debt service.
The rate hikes are
retroactive to Saturday, April 20, the beginning of a new billing cycle for
“If (the Utility
Service Board is) raising the rates, it’s needed,” said Member Dane Lafata,
“This has been well
researched,” noted Member Jim Ton, R-1st. “We have the tank to pay for.”
In other business,
members voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance vacating a platted but
unimproved north/south alley in the 200 block of South 21st Street.
Petitioning for the
vacation was Kasie Carmichael of 258 S. 21st St., who discovered on putting
her home up for sale that it partially encroaches on the alley to the rear
of her property. “The last survey was done in the 50s,” she told the
council. “I just found out.”
neighbors on either side of her home and The Healing Place church on the far
side of the alley to the east were all notified of the pending vacation.
At a public hearing
which preceded the vote, no one spoke in favor the vacation and no one in