Chesterton Tribune

Porter residents speak out in support of sewer bond issue

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Michael and Mary Beth Connolly of Franklin Street said if anyone knows how badly Porter sanitary sewers need to be upgraded, it’s them.

From November to March, water from their home wouldn’t go into the sewer, he said Tuesday, speaking in support of spending $5.1 million to modernize the antiquated system.

Flushing toilets and taking showers had to be rationed before the sewer was dug up and fixed, Michael Connolly added. “We completely support this (appropriation) because we’re not the only ones having these problems.”

His comments came during a public hearing on the Porter Redevelopment Commission’s planned revenue-bond sale to finance the sewer upgrade; repayment will be shared with the Town Council and take up to 15 years.

LeAnn McCrum told the RDC there would be dire consequences if the sewers aren’t fixed, and town Public Works superintendent Brenda Brueckheimer stepped down to speak as a resident who lives near the Porter Avenue lift station that will be moved and substantially modernized.

“I’m so looking forward to these improvements for the Town of Porter. With your funding and the bonding it will bring Porter where it should be (and) knowing we’ll take care of the future residents of the town,” added Brueckheimer.

Jennifer Klug said it’s a good thing if the bond proceeds are used exclusively to modernize the sewer system, but she questioned if the language in the resolution appropriating the funds was unnecessarily vague. “If this can be used for something else, that’s not a good idea.”

Tenley Drescher-Rhoades of bond counsel Baker & Daniels said the language is boilerplate to give the town flexibility in case something unforseen comes up. “You don’t want to pin yourself into a specific definition because once you start digging in the ground, you don’t know what you’ll find.”

RDC member Al Raffin said it will be up to the commission to decide what is a legitimate expense.

The bond sale is being split into two series: $4.1 million for projects located within the RDC’s designated economic-development areas that will be financed by the RDC, and $1 million for projects outside those areas to be funded by the Town Council.

The RDC voted 5-0 with non-voting member Ron Stone of the Duneland School Board absent to approve spending the future bond proceeds; in a separate motion the RDC adopted a final bond resolution authorizing the sale later this summer.

In a related matter, town director of engineering Matt Keiser said engineering for the first projects can begin including upgrades at Six Box Lane near Wagner Road, and the new Porter Avenue lift station, gravity line and force main. Some of the construction will need state permits.

Also Tuesday, the RDC took under advisement three proposals for a new public parking lot on Lincoln Street to serve as overflow for the town hall. The project includes removal of a road and trees, and the extension of a sidewalk east to Tilden Enterprises.

Submitting proposals were Apex Excavation at $37,596; R.V. Sutton at $48,000; and Hobart Paving at $55,200. The project began with an estimate of $25,000 for the parking lot alone.



Posted 7/28/2010