By KEVIN NEVERS
landlords: does this problem sound familiar?
A tenant has broken
his lease or otherwise vacated the apartment you’ve rented to him. You’ve
returned his security deposit, as required to do, within the statutory
window. And then--maybe even a couple of months later--you receive the
former tenant’s bill from the Utility, which of course
includes not only an amount due for sanitary sewer service but also amounts
due for trash collection and stormwater.
It’s probably a
bill in the area of $225 to $250 and now it’s yours. You’re stuck with it.
That problem has
frequently been Robert Booras’, who appeared before the Utility Service
Board to ask for some kind of relief, in the form of an amendment to Town
Attorney Chuck Parkinson suggested that rather than amend code--which
currently requires a deposit for sanitary service of a sum equivalent to
three months’ worth
of bills--the best solution might be a more timely mailing of those bills to
And there’s another
thing, Parkinson said. The Utility has no jurisdiction over refuse and
stormwater and it would appear that the town does not right now require
security deposits for either of those services. The Town Council and the
Stormwater Management Board would need to address the issue themselves.
In any case, the
Service Board agreed that Booras’ concerns have merit and promised to review
the problem. “We’ll see if there’s any way to speed up the process so
landlords don’t get caught,” President Larry Brandt said.
And, he said to
Booras, “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I didn’t realize we
were that out of date.”
Coping with Winter
In other business,
Superintendent Terry Atherton reported that the winter has not only crushed
spirits throughout Duneland but has taken its toll on the Utility.
Among other things,
the new lift station for the Ind. 49 utility corridor was flooded when a
water line broke in the main building. The facility had to be cleaned and
the electrical gear dried, Atherton said.
Crews, too, have
been performing a large number of emergency locates for Indiana-American
Water Company (IAWC), which has been dealing with other main breaks all over
town. While repairing one of them, an IAWC crew disrupted the power in the
area of North Calumet Road and Taylor Street and rendered the Walroe lift
station juiceless for three hours, Atherton said.
The frigid temps
have been playing havoc as well with the Utility’s own mechanical gear. The
trickler charges on two generators failed after being unable to keep up with
the batteries’ charging demand, Atherton said, while a seal on a pump at the
Barrington lift station also failed.
2013 in Review
provided members with a brief summary of achievements and milestones from
* The cost of
treating sewage was near a five-year low in 2013. Last year the Utility
spent $248.29 to treat every million gallons of it (with a total of 735.5
million gallons of wastewater treated). That amount compares to $276.69 in
2012; $254.80 in 2011; $241.10 in 2010; and $259.55 in 2009.
* It cost $103,318
to operate and maintain the Utility’s 33 lift
stations, at $3,131 per.
* Fully 38 percent
of the town’s 23 miles of sewer were cleaned in 2013
and two and a half miles of pipe internally televised.
* Crews performed
952 locates of its system for other utilities, nearly double the previous
* Staff worked a
total of 44,702 man-hours without a single OSHA reportable injury.
* Once again the
Utility’s lab has been recognized for excellence by
the Indiana Water Environment Association.
* The Utility now
serves a total of 5,609 premises. Its customer count grew by 20 in 2013. And
it generated 34,697 bills.
January in Review
Chesterton used 39.55 percent of its 3,668,000 gallon per day (gpd)
allotment of the wastewater treatment plant; Porter, 52.45 percent of its
851,000 gpd allotment; the Indian Boundary Conservancy District, 64.29
percent of its 81,000 gpd allotment; and the plant as a whole, 42.37 percent
of its capacity.
There were no
bypasses last month.
Also in January,
the Utility ran a surplus of $126,639.95.