Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Utility reports drop in past due accounts

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By KEVIN NEVERS

Chesterton Utility Superintendent Dave Ryan had a spot of good news about the spate of delinquent customer accounts at the Utility Service Board’s meeting Monday night.

The number of accounts with outstanding balances has dropped considerably in the last month, from 1,158 in October to approximately 500 now, while the total amount owed has fallen from $96,000 last month to “just under $50,000,” Ryan said. “It looks like an improvement, comparatively speaking.”

Customers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic who are still in arrears are urged to call the Utility Billing Office at 926-1572.

High Winds

In other business, Ryan reported that recent high winds caused several power flickers at the wastewater treatment plant. Resulting power surges did no damage to any critical equipment, but did fry “some small-ticket items that will need to be replaced.”

“They did their job protecting the big equipment,” Ryan noted.

ACH

Ryan also reported that the Utility’s implementation of an automated clearing house (ACH) system for accepting customers’ payments is proceeding. A successful test of the ACH system was recently completed, and an ACH application form has been included as a stuffer in the November billing statements.

ACH will allow the Utility to automatically withdraw bimonthly rate payments from customers’ checking accounts. In August Ryan told the Service Board that nationwide ACH payments grew by 6 percent between 2015 and 2018, while check payments fell a corresponding 7 percent during the same period, and Ryan is guessing that a fair number of Utility customers will be interested in taking advantage of the ACH system.

COVID

Meanwhile, queried by President Larry Brandt, Ryan told the Service Board that there have been four confirmed COVID-19 cases among the Utility’s staff but all have recovered.

“Everybody who’s had it is back to work at the Utility and we’re back to full staff,” Ryan said.

2021 Budget

Members agreed by consensus to delegate Brandt to discuss the Utility’s 2021 budget with Ryan, then advise them of the conclusions of that discussion at their next meeting, Dec. 21.

October in Review

In October, Chesterton used 50.77 percent of its 3,668,000 gallon per day (gpd) allotment at the wastewater treatment plant; Porter, 41.13 percent of its 851,000 gpd allotment; the Indian Boundary Conservancy District, 49.79 percent of its 81,000 gpd allotment; and the plant as a whole, 48.7 percent of its capacity.

There were no overflows of wastewater into the Little Calumet River in October. A total of 3.42 inches of rain was recorded last month at the plant.

Also in October, the Utility ran a deficit of $155,161.11 and in the year-to-date is running a surplus of $631,831.12.

 

 

Posted 11/18/2020

 
 
 
 

 

 

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