The Chesterton Stormwater Utility has recently entered discussions with the
Northwest Indiana Paddlers Association about the feasibility of clearing
trees and logs jamming the east branch of the Little Calumet River.
It’s a good idea, Town Engineer Mark O’Dell thinks. Not only would doing so
make it easier for kayakers to recreate, it would reduce the flooding risk
during heavy rain events.
Problem is, O’Dell told the Stormwater Management Board at its meeting
Monday night, the Little Calumet River east of the wastewater treatment
plant is a regulated drain under the jurisdiction of the Porter County
So—in order to obtain the necessary clearing permits from the Indiana
Department of Natural Resources—the town needs to partner with the county.
“We’re not committing to anything at this point,” O’Dell said. “We just want
to have discussions. We’re in the fact-finding phase right now.”
Members accordingly voted 3-0 to authorize O’Dell to get the ball rolling.
O’Dell noted that any clearing wouldn’t be done until July and August and
that a lot of the work can probably be accomplished by hand, with chainsaws.
The big expense would be “moving logs and hauling them away,” O’Dell said.
“We’d have to talk to (Street Commissioner) John Schnadenberg and see what
the Street Department could do.”
O’Dell did say that the Porter County Drainage Board is planning to do some
of its own clearing of the Little Calumet, near C.R. 600E in Pine Township,
where Gov. Mitch Daniels recently transferred 1,250 acres from the
Department of Correction to DNR for the purpose of establishing the state’s
largest gamebird habitat area.
Call for School
In other business, MS4 Operator Jennifer Gadzala announced that she’ll be
inviting students at the elementary schools, at the intermediate and middle
schools, and at Chesterton High School to produce works of art to be posted
on a new website for the “Does Your Stream Have a Temperature?” project,
being developed for science classes in the Duneland School Corporation.
As part of the project, students will use computer technology to learn about
the effect of stormwater on a stream’s temperature and the effect of
temperature changes on the stream’s eco-system.
Students will be able to obtain near real-time data on temperature and
rainfall on the website.
One piece of art each will be selected from those submitted by elementary
students, intermediate/middle school students, and CHS students, Gadzala
Meanwhile, members voted 3-0 to write-off $187.83 in uncollectible
stormwater fees owed by folks who’ve sold their homes and left town.
Members voted 3-0 to approve the 2012 Stormwater Utility budget.
•Projected revenues: $432,500.
•Projected revenues for operations: $402,500.
•Projected expenses: $402,350, including $243,000 for wages and salaries;
$108,600 for pensions and benefits; $5,000 for materials and supplies;
$13,500 for contractual services; $5,500 for transportation; $14,000 for MS4
education and outreach; and $12,750 for miscellaneous expenses.
•Net surplus: $150.
In November the Stormwater Utility ran a deficit of $1,074 and in the
year-to-date is running a deficit of $10,104.
President Tom Kopko took a moment at the end of the meeting to thank
staff—O’Dell, Gadzala, Associate Town Engineer Chris Nesper—as well as his
colleagues on the board, Bruce Mathias and Christine Livingston, for their
hard work and a good year.