Chesterton Tribune

2 percent sewer rate hike official in Chesterton

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By KEVIN NEVERS

Effective April 1, Chesterton residents will be paying 2 percent more on their bimonthly sanitary sewer service bills.

At its meeting Monday night, the Town Council voted 5-0 to approve the rate hike on first reading, 5-0 to suspend the rules, then 5-0 to approve it on final reading.

Currently the average Chesterton household pays a bimonthly bill of $75.25 for sanitary service. Under the 2-percent hike, that amount will increase by around $1.55, to $76.80.

Out-of-town customers—chiefly the Town of Porter and the Indian Boundary Conservancy District—will see no rate hike, because the increase as endorsed by the Utility Service Board is intended solely to offset the costs of maintaining the town’s collection system.

Service Board President Larry Brandt has said that a rate hike this year will probably negate the need for one next year.

No one spoke in opposition to the hike at a public meaning prior to the vote. One person spoke in favor of it, Paul Tharp, who said that the “2-percent request will only amount to $10, maybe $12, per year for a ratepayer and will give some working capital to the Utility.”

“Ordinarily when someone’s asking for more money, I’m on the other side of the fence,” Tharp remarked. “I feel this is a reasonable request.”

Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th, noted that the 2-percent figure was the recommendation of a biennial rate study conducted by the Utility’s contracted rate consultant, H.J. Umbaugh & Associates. “This was the rate felt conducive to meet the needs of the Utility,” he said.

Partial Smoke-free

In other business, members voted 5-0 to approve on first reading only an ordinance which would ban smoking within inside enclosed municipal buildings and within 15 feet of them.

Member Jim Ton, R-1st, said that he wants to give department heads time to make their dispositions before enacting the ordinance on final reading.

The provisions:

•Smoking will be prohibited inside all enclosed municipal buildings.

•It will be prohibited within 15 of those buildings, “to insure that tobacco smoke does not enter the designated smoke-free facility through entrances, windows, ventilation systems, or other means.”

•It will also be prohibited in all vehicles owned, leased, or operated by the town.

•The Parks and Recreation Department will be required to formulate rules governing non-smoking areas in the park system.

As its last meeting, the council agreed by consensus to make a first, partial move on smoke-free, given the very real possibility that the Indiana General Assembly—with Democrats still hunkering down in Illinois—will fail to enact a statewide smoke-free statute during this session.

Interest on Hospital Sale Proceeds

Meanwhile, members voted 5-0 to instruct Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann to draft a letter to the Porter County Council expressing their support of a proposal made by County Council Member Jim Biggs, R-1st, namely, that interest on the proceeds from the county’s sale of Porter hospital to Community Health Systems Inc. be disbursed to the municipalities on a pro rata basis: either by population or by assessed valuation.

 

Posted 3/15/2011