Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Porter Stormwater board votes in favor of new fee

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

The Town of Porter’s Stormwater management board voted unanimously its approval of increasing the Town’s monthly stormwater fee from $4 to $6, following a brief public hearing on Tuesday.

One resident, Jennifer Klug, spoke in favor of the increase saying she knows no one likes to pay higher fees but understands the Town must take on the costs of the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) program created under the federal government.

“This is something like an unfunded mandate,” Klug said. “You can’t get around that.”

The Town Council opted in September to draft a resolution to increase the fee, the first time it would do so since the fee was created about a decade ago.

Discussion to raise the fee began in May with the Stormwater Board looking at an estimated price tag of $970,000 to $1.3 million for infrastructure upgrades and repairs in its latest master plan.

Public Works Director Brenda Brueckheimer mentioned too that the Stormwater Board is responsible for the MS4 program which is calling for stricter standards on monitoring pollution and waste entering ditches, streams and lakes.

The $4 fee currently generates about $200,000 per year, meaning a 50 percent increase will see about $300,000 going forward. The fee is to go into effect in January, according to the resolution, if it is approved by the Town Council.

Voting in favor of the new fee was Board President Daniel Colbert and members Jim Erikkson and William Lopez.

Lopez, a Town Council member, echoed Klug’s comments that “nobody wants to see fees go up but it’s necessary to continue with the projects we have.”

“I don’t think we have a choice,” Erikkson commented.

In other business, the board voted 3-0 to reimburse Brueckheimer $30 to attend a workshop on the MS4 program at the Lake County Fairgrounds on Nov. 3. The event will be hosted by the International Erosion Control Association’s Great Lakes Chapter and will provide a lot of helpful information, Brueckheimer said.

Brueckheimer announced that she, Parks Director Brian Bugajski and Town Director of Development Michael Barry were successful in obtaining a LOIT grant from NIPSCO to plant 15 sugar maple trees. The trees will be planted around Franklin St. and Waverly Rd. and the Town will maintain them.

Wagner Hills

Barry told the board that as of Monday, the drainage work in Wagner Hills is complete. The Town dedicated $100,000 in its county economic development income tax funds this April to upsize drainage pipes in Town right of ways and dredging detention ponds.

The project was one of the top priorities listed on the board’s master plan.

“That’s outstanding news,” Colbert told Barry.

 

Posted 10/27/2016

 
 
 
 

 

 

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