Chesterton Tribune



Utility in 2017: Higher than expected revenues, lower than expected costs

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The Chesterton Utility ended 2017 with a solid cushion.

At the Utility Service Board’s meeting Monday night, Superintendent Dave Ryan reported a surplus at year’s end of $1,048,223, exceeding the original projection of $339,709 by fully 209 percent.

That’s partly the result of higher than expected revenues: commercial sales--the revenues generated by sewer rates--totaled $3,159,928: $175,923 or 6 percent more than projected; tap-on fees, on the other hand, totaled $570,282: $375,282 or 192 percent more than projected.

At the same time total operating expenses were $2,253,433: $158,444 or 7 percent less than projected.

“It’s nice to see we have a good surplus,” President Larry Brandt noted but added that the cushion is needed not only in case of emergency--a collapsed main, for instance--but also to deal with one particular issue “looming on the horizon”: the sliplining and general rehabbing of the 48-inch monster main which comes up South and North Eighth Street on its way to the plant.

There was only a single bypass in 2017, the diversion of 1.8 million gallons during a heavy rain event in October. That was the result of a significant portion of the wastewater treatment plant’s capacity being off line during the rehabbing of the facility’s clarifiers. The wettest month of the year: October with 8.69 inches, followed by July with 5.84 inches. Rainfall in 2017 totaled 41.33 inches.

Last year Chesterton used on average 50.8 percent of its 3,668,000 gallon per day (gpd) allotment at the wastewater treatment plant; Porter, 51.60 percent of its 851,000 gpd allotment; the Indian Boundary Conservancy District, 62.99 percent of its 81,000 gpd allotment; and the plant as a whole, 51.1 percent of its capacity.

The Frigid Weather

In other business, Ryan reported that the furnace in the headworks building has been malfunctioning and that a technician was scheduled to work on it Tuesday. “It only happens when it goes below zero,” he said. “It kicks out.”

“That’s when it’s supposed to work,” Brandt suggested.

Otherwise, Ryan added, the crew has done a great job dealing with the cold weather, “thawing things out.”

“When it gets that cold, everyone is working real hard to make things work,” Member Jim Raffin agreed. “So kudos to the staff.”

Election of Officers

Meanwhile, by unanimous vote members re-elected Brandt to the presidency and Scott McCord to the vice-presidency, re-appointed Deb Schoenfelt secretary, and retained again the legal services of Harris Welsh & Lukmann.

Last Thoughts

Member Andy Michel took a moment at the end of the meeting to thank the Town Council for re-appointing him to the Service Board. “We’ve been together for quite awhile and it seems we have a good working relationship,” he said. “We don’t always agree, but it means we’re making decisions with due regard.”

McCord concurred. “Thanks for the keeping the board together,” he said.

McCord also thanked Member--and Street Commissioner--John Schnadenberg, for his crews’ superb job so far this winter keeping the streets clear.


Posted 1/17/2017




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