Chesterton Tribune



Commissioners advance $20 million bond to fix drainage in South Haven

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The Porter County Commissioners, acting as the County’s Stormwater Management Board, on Tuesday said they hope to issue a bond for $20 million to tackle the ongoing drainage woes around South Haven and Salt Creek Commons in the Twin Creeks Conservancy District.

The bond will be paid off with the user fees collected for the County’s Stormwater System established about two years ago, said Commissioner President Jeff Good, R-Center, and won’t be a hit to the County’s general fund. Even with the bond, the Stormwater Management Department will still have roughly $1.5 million to continue projects through the year, he said.

“That is still a lot of money,” said Good, who said that prior to the implementation of the stormwater fee, the County had budgeted $200,000 annually for drainage.

The South Haven area was identified in a countywide drainage study done in 2010 as one of the top troubled spots. Sinkholes have occurred every year and the issue has become a threat to safety, Good said.

“It’s not a good situation out there and the system is failing,” he said.

The County has been unable to make repairs because of the areas being in the jurisdiction of the conservancy district. The Commissioners have made progress talking to the heads of the district and they are in agreement now to join the County’s stormwater system, said Good.

“This is something when I came into office somebody told me you could never do it. Well, we did it,” said Good, commending the work of the Stormwater Management Board. “This is another milestone achieved.”

The South Haven project will cost around $17 million and the other $3 million from the bond will be used for other stormwater projects undertaken.

Commissioner Jim Biggs, R-North, said when it was apparent the stormwater system was failing, it was the “tipping point” for the conservancy district to join up with the County.

“The waiting is over in South Haven. We can’t wait. It shouldn’t wait. It’s gotten to be a public safety issue. They’re going to see a lot of work going on in the next two to three years on their infrastructure, but it’s all going to occur quick,” Biggs said.

Commissioner Laura Shurr Blaney, D-South, also agreed on the bond. “The whole county should be raised up to the level of quality of life we come to expect.”

A public hearing for the bond will be held by the Stormwater Management Board at its next meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 19, at 9 a.m., said County Attorney Scott McClure. The meeting will be in the Commissioners Chambers inside the Porter County Administration Building.

Good said because of the Porter County Government Nonprofit Charitable Foundation endowment fund, the board will be able “to get some pretty decent interest rates on bonds.”

Plaza bid

Meanwhile, the Commissioners received one bid from their request for proposals to redesign the front plaza of the Administration Center.

The bid came in from Garriup Construction at $793,000, which Biggs pointed out as being much less than the $1 million the Commissioners were estimating.

Good said they will review the bid and make a decision on the bid at a special meeting or at the Sept. 19 meeting.


Posted 8/16/2017





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