Chesterton Tribune

Town says county would incur no maintenance costs for sewer line

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By KEVIN NEVERS

The county will incur no ongoing maintenance costs of sanitary sewer infrastructure, should the Porter County Council vote to authorize a $740,000 expenditure to partner with the Town of Chesterton in the Ind. 49 Utility Corridor project.

More: the county would have the opportunity to recoup at least two thirds of that expenditure, under a special connection fee which would be applied to all property owners in unincorporated Liberty Township who ultimately tap on to the infrastructure.

At its meeting Monday night, the Town Council voted 4-0 to approve an agreement with Porter County governing so-called “Alternate 1,” that is, the specifications for those upgrades to the sanitary sewer infrastructure which the town is set to install under the Indiana Toll Road all the way to its southernmost corporate limit.

Those upgrades would allow property owners in unincorporated Liberty Township, along Ind. 49, to flow their wastewater to Chesterton’s treatment plant. The low bid for those upgrades: that of LSG Plumbing Inc. of Crown Point, for $742,409.

Should the County Council, at its meeting tonight, opt not to partner with the town—and pay for the upsizing of the line—the town’s infrastructure will not be capable of serving any property owners outside of Chesterton.

The specifics of that agreement:

• The Town of Chesterton “agrees and covenants that there will be no ongoing or recurring costs to Porter County concerning the construction of the project and Alternate 1, including but not limited to maintenance of the project and Alternate 1.” County Council member Jim Biggs has stated publicly that he opposes the partnership at least partly because, according to him, the county would incur such costs.

• The town “agrees to approve a special connection fee as part of its sewer rate structure that shall apply to property in unincorporated Porter County that connects to Alternate 1. The special connection fee shall, when collected, be reimbursed to Porter County for the sewer infrastructure costs of this project, which are estimated to be $572,775, which shall be based on the actual costs of this infrastructure at the completion of the project. Chesterton shall not charge Porter County any sums of money for providing this service to it.”

• The remaining portion of the $742,409 expenditure is related to water infrastructure, and the town “will utilize its best efforts to obtain a water reimbursement contract with Indiana-American Water Company. Any sums of money received for Alternate 1 of the project from Indiana-American Water Company for property in unincorporated Porter County that connects to the water infrastructure in Alternate 1 shall be reimbursed to Porter County.”

• The town agrees “not to waive any or all of the special connection fee for any person or entity who proposes to connect to Alternate 1 without the express written consent of Porter County.”

• The town will “allow a sewer main to be connected to Alternate 1, which sewer main must be approved by the Chesterton Utility so long as all ordinances and rules and regulations of the Town of Chesterton and its Utility Service Board have been followed in making the connection. Any sewer main(s) will become directly connected to or ultimately have sewage flow in Alternate 1 shall become the property of the Town of Chesterton and Chesterton shall be responsible for all ongoing maintenance for same upon its acceptance of the sewer main(s).”

According to the agreement, “Alternate 1 is in the best interests of the citizens of Porter County as Alternate 1 will promote economic development and job creation opportunities.”

 

 

Posted 7/24/2012