Chesterton Tribune



Under new ordinance Utility customers facing water shutoff could get a hearing

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Under a proposed new ordinance set to go before the Chesterton Town Council, customers of the Utility delinquent in the payment of their sanitary sewer bill will have the opportunity to request a hearing before the Utility Service Board before their water is shut off.

At its meeting Monday night, the Utility Service Board voted 4-0 to endorse the proposed ordinance and to forward it to the Town Council for review.

The system would work like this:

*Customers would receive notice of a pending water shut-off, indicating that their sanitary sewer bill is past due and that a 10-percent penalty has been added to that past due amount.

*In that notice, customers would be informed of the date on which Indiana-American Water Company (IAWC) is scheduled to shut off their water, and the date by which they must pay their past due amount in order to keep their water service active.

*In that same notice, customers will also be informed that they have a right to request, in writing or in person, a hearing prior to the shut-off. Request for a hearing must be made no later than 12 p.m. two days prior to the final due date, NOT prior to the shut-off date.

*Customers will then subsequently be notified of the hearing date, time, and location. That hearing will be held before the Service Board.

*At that hearing, customers will have the right to present evidence and/or witnesses, to be represented by counsel, and to cross-examine witnesses.

*The Service Board will then consider the evidence and “issue a decision at the conclusion of the hearing affirming, reversing, or modifying the shut-off.”

*Should the Service Board affirm the shut-off, water service will be discontinued by IAWC no earlier than three days after the Service Board’s decision.

*Extension of the shutoff date may be granted to allow the customer time to make payment arrangements or for other good cause.

*Should a customer’s water service be shut off, there will be a disconnection and recheck fee charged to the customer, totalling $72. Those charges will be added to the customer’s bill. Before water service is to be turned back on, the customer will have to pay all delinquent service use fees plus the actual expense of turning off and turning on the water service as well as a $10 administrative charge.

*If, after a recheck of the water shut-off, it is found that the water has been turned back on without authorization, the customer’s water service may be dug up and detached from the main.

The Service Board voted 4-0 on Monday to endorse the proposed ordinance and to forward it to the Town Council for review.

March in Review

In March, Chesterton used 43.71 percent of its 3,668,000 gallon per day (gpd) allotment at the wastewater treatment plant; Porter, 54.53 percent of its 851,000 gpd allotment; the Indian Boundary Conservancy District, 75.89 percent of its 81,000 gpd allotment; and the plant as a whole, 46.28 percent of its capacity.

There were 1.7 inches of precipitation recorded at the wastewater plant in March. There were no bypasses of sewage into the Little Calumet River.

The financials for March were not available.


Posted 4/18/2013