The Chesterton Utility will mail bimonthly bills on Wednesday, Jan. 18. They
will be due on Tuesday, Feb. 7.
And if you haven’t received your bill by early next week, say, you would do
well to call Utility Billing Clerk Donna Simmers at 926-1572.
Because—it turns out—the U.S. Postal Service has been having some problems
getting the bills to customers on a timely basis.
As Superintendent Rob Lovell told the Utility Service Board at its meeting
Monday night, one customer received a bill due on Dec. 7 on Dec. 6.
Another customer unaccountably received a bill postmarked Jamestown, N.Y.
Town Council Member and Utility liaison Sharon Darnell, D-4th, for her part,
never received a recent bill at all. But she did get a shut-off notice.
Mail posted by Chesterton residents to Chesterton addresses does not
actually stay in Chesterton to be processed. It goes to Gary to be
processed, then returns here. But the USPS is currently mulling a proposal
to close the Gary distribution center and consolidate its operations with
the South Bend center.
So Lovell isn’t especially hopeful that the situation will improve. “This
has been an ongoing problem,” he said, “and it seems to be getting worse.”
Lovell has talked to the Chesterton Postmaster and apparently there’s
nothing much to be done. “It is what it is,” he said.
In other business, the Service Board asked Lovell for quotes on the price of
a new sludge conveyor, after Lovell reported that the current one is
becoming costly to maintain. “Several parts have been repaired or replaced
and we need to look at replacing the conveyor as soon as possible,” Lovell
said. “This is a very important part of the sludge handling equipment.”
Lovell ballparked the price range of a new conveyor at anything between
$60,000 and $170,000.
Members did vote 4-0 to approve the purchase of two new acid pumps, at a
total cost of $11,780. “The plant has only one pump left and no spare
parts,” Lovell noted.
Member Jim Raffin was not in attendance.
Meanwhile, the Service Board—interested in filing liens against 14 property
owners to secure a total of $12,296.88 in unpaid sanitary sewer fees—asked
Associate Town Attorney Chuck Parkinson whether the Utility would break even
by doing so, after paying the legal costs.
Parkinson said that standard hourly billing would probably make lien-filing
impractical but that Harris Welsh & Lukmann could propose an alternative
arrangement, for instance a percentage of the amount recovered.
Parkinson promised to have a proposal for the Service at its next meeting.
By 4-0 votes, the Service Board re-elected Member Larry Brandt to the
presidency, Scot McCord to the vice-presidency, and Simmers to the
The Service Board also voted 4-0 to retain Harris Welsh & Lukmann as its
legal counsel in 2012.
Members voted 4-0 as well to re-schedule their next monthly meeting from
Monday, Feb. 20—Presidents’ Day, a federal holiday observed by the Town of
Chesterton—to Tuesday, Feb. 21, at the regular time of 7 p.m.