Chesterton Tribune

Utility says Post Office having trouble getting bills to residents on time

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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.

The Treatment Plant

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 secretariat.

The Service Board also voted 4-0 to retain Harris Welsh & Lukmann as its legal counsel in 2012.

Presidents’ Day

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.



Posted 1/17/2012