The Chesterton Town
Council has approved a 12-percent stormwater rate hike.
unanimously for the increase at their meeting Monday night, one week after
the Stormwater Management Board unanimously endorsed it.
The rate hike will
go into effect on Aug. 9. It’s the first such hike since the stormwater rate
was originally established 10 years ago, in 2006.
Under the new
schedule, the base rate paid by residential users of the stormwater system
will 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.
users will 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, residential users will see their total annual stormwater
obligation go from $73.20 to $81.96, an increase of $8.76 or around 12
Folks pay the
stormwater rate on a bimonthly basis; it appears on their sanitary sewer
bills, along with the refuse and recycling fee and their brush and leaf
the rate hike without comment.
Driving the rate
hike is a consensus to make the Stormwater Utility “self-sufficient,”
Clerk-Treasurer Stephanie Kuziela has told the Chesterton Tribune.
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 the debt service, Kuziela said.
In other business,
one year after the council adopted an “abandoned building” ordinance
requiring the owners of vacant buildings officially determined to be unsafe
to register their properties with the town, Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann
reported that no buildings to date have been registered.
As Lukmann noted,
the mere vacancy of a building isn’t enough to force the owner to register
it. The building must also be unsafe, or the owner’s property-tax
installment must be delinquent or there must be an unpaid lien on the
property, and so far none of those triggers has been pulled.
But, Lukmann said,
he’s asked Interim Building Commissioner Mark O’Dell to inspect several
eligible vacant buildings in town to determine whether they’re in violation
of the town’s unsafe building ordinance. O’Dell may have his findings in
time for the council’s next meeting, on Aug. 8.
Lukmann did say
that the question of tall grass and weeds is a separate issue, and though
the town has in some cases mowed private property deemed to be a
nuisance--and slapped a lien on the property to recoup the expense of doing
so--Lukmann suggested that a better solution may be one more costly to the
absentee property owner: citing the owner for every day grass and weeds are
found to be in violation of ordinance and then taking the owner to court for
payment of the accumulated fine.
The maximum daily
fine for an ordinance violation: $2,500.
“Citation might get
property owners’ attention,” Lukmann suggested.
unanimously to authorize Lukmann to pursue that strategy.
voted unanimously to adopt an “inducement resolution” authorizing the
issuance of economic development bonds to the developer of the StoryPoint
senior living community on Dickinson Road.
resolution extends the Chesterton Economic Development Corporation’s
tax-exempt status to the StoryPoint developer. The developer’s lender, in
turn, can treat the interest on borrowed moneys as tax-exempt, which allows
the lender to make available to the developer a considerably lower interest
resolution does not expose the town to any liability at all and does not
affect its debt limit or bonding capacity, Lukmann told the Chesterton
Tribune. He added that many commercial structures built in Chesterton in
the 1970s were financed in the same way.
feature 162 units and create a total of 60 jobs, 27 of them full-time and
benefit-eligible, with an estimated annual payroll just under $1 million.