Chesterton Tribune



Town of Chesterton Utility finishes 2016 solidly in the black

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The Chesterton Utility finished 2016 solidly in the black, with a surplus of $845,581.83, Superintendent Dave Ryan reported at the Utility Service Board’s meeting Monday night. That compares to a projected surplus of $33,607.

“Money-wise, it looks like we had a pretty good year,” President Larry Brandt noted.

The surplus is attributable to total operating revenues outperforming projected revenues by $593,730.55 or 15 percent; and total operating expenses coming in under projected expenses by $218,244.36 or 9 percent.

The bulk of the unanticipated revenues were in tap-on fees (outperforming projected fees of $147,000 by $273,899.55) and miscellaneous income (outperforming projected income of $17,000 by $273,906.31.

Total operating expenses were less than projected in almost every category, with notable savings in the following line items:

* Wages, salaries, and benefits: $91,282.91 under budget.

* Purchased power: $29,589.85 under budget.

* Materials and supplies: $34,463.65 under budget.

* Engineering services: $18,017.68 under budget.

* Transportation: $13,305.92 under budget.

In 2016, Chesterton used 46.0 percent of its 3,688,000 gallon per day (gpd) allotment of the wastewater treatment plant (44.8 percent in 2015); Porter, 51.8 percent of its 851,000 gpd allotment (49.2 percent in 2015); the Indian Boundary Conservancy District, 63.4 percent of its 81,000 gpd allotment (58.5 percent in 2015); and the plant as a whole, 47.3 percent of its capacity (45.9 percent in 2015).

There was a single sewage bypass last year, in July, when 128,000 gallons were released from the plant during a power outage.

Total rainfall was 40.43 inches recorded at the plant, which made 2016 not a particularly wet yea. There was, however, one very wet month: August, when 8.75 inches fell, making it the wettest in Duneland since the Great Flood month of September 2008, when 18.15 inches fell, approximately 12 of them in the space of 72 hours.

Bids for the Clarifier Project

In other business, members voted unanimously to take under advisement the four bids received for the overhaul of several of the wastewater treatment plant’s clarifiers.

The base bids:

* $768,300, Gaskill & Walton Construction Company of Chicago Heights, Ill.

* $849,750, Bowen Engineering of Indianapolis.

* $868,000,, Thieneman Construction of Merrillville.

At its meeting last week, the Town Council approved the use of $607,076 in surplus bonds to pay for the clarifier project. Those moneys are left over from the $10.7-million bond issued in 2013 to finance the Utility’s long term control plan to reduce combined sewer overflows into the Little Calumet River; and from the $2.1-million bond issued in 2015 to finance the Fox Chase Farms sewer connection.

There are six primary clarifiers and three secondary ones at the plant--the large circular basins located just north of the Utility’s offices on League Lane--used to remove solids from wastewater by first agitating the water and then squeegeeing them out. The clarifiers are around 30 years old and in need of a rebuild, Ryan has told the Chesterton Tribune.

The total estimated cost of the project: between $800,000 and $900,000.

Credit Card Usage

Meanwhile, Superintendent Dave Ryan reported that a growing number of customers are paying their sewer bills with a credit card.

Credit-card usage totaled 10.79 percent of all payments in 2016, compared to 6.75 percent in 2015, when the Utility first began accepting credit-card payments.

Election of 2017 Officers

The Service Board also voted unanimously to re-elect Member Larry Brandt as president and Member Scot McCord as vice-president, re-appoint Deb Schoenfelt as secretary, and retain Harris Welsh & Lukmann as legal counsel.



Posted 1/18/2017




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