Effective Oct. 1,
Chesterton residents will see their monthly brush and leaf collection
fee--assessed on their sanitary sewer bills--double, from $1 to $2.
At its meeting
Monday night, the Town Council voted unanimously to increase the fee, as
part of a multi-pronged effort to make sustainable the wage hikes granted to
all municipal employees in April.
At the same time,
the council voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance authorizing revenues
from the fee to be used for wages.
At a public hearing
which preceded the vote no one spoke in opposition to the proposed fee hike
but two employees spoke in favor of it.
funds are necessary to preserve our current level of service,” said Engineer
Steve Williams, president of International Association of Firefighters Local
Williams added that
the raises granted in April have already gone a long way to resolving two of
the problems facing both the CFD and the Chesterton Police Department:
recruitment and retention. “Those are key to a strong workforce,” he said.
CPD Lt. Joe
Christian, for his part, acknowledged that “nobody likes to pay any more
than they have to.” But, he said, “an extra $12 per year is a small price to
pay to have your families safe and well protected.”
Christian also made
this suggestion: residents can pay for the first 20 months of the $1 per
month hike by participating in a Daily Travel Survey currently being
promoted by the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, which
will pay folks $20 to complete the survey. For more information, visit
www.nirpc.org, go to “Public Comment
Opportunities,” click on “Hot Topics/News,” and read “NIRPC to conduct
household travel survey of 2,000 households in Lake, Porter, and LaPorte
The council has
previously implemented two other funding sources to make the employee raises
* An increase in
the dedicated property-tax rate used to fund Cumulative Capital Improvement
(CCI), from $0.0029 per $100 of assessed valuation to $0.0059. Under state
law, the maximum property-tax rate allowable for CCI is $0.33, about 56
times higher than the new $0.0059 rate. CCI is used for technology
acquisition, among other things, and by increasing CCI revenues the council
now has an alternative source of funding for expenses which had been covered
by the General Fund.
* An annual payment
in lieu of tax from the utility in the amount of $77,751; and a return on
the wastewater treatment plant of $79,544. Both sums have been made over to
the General Fund. Although, as a public utility, the Chesterton Utility does
not pay property taxes, under state law a municipality may collect from a
utility an annual amount equivalent to what the utility would pay in taxes
if it were a private entity. The Utility is paying that amount only on
infrastructure physically installed in the Town of Chesterton, that is, on
its underground collection system and the series of lift stations.
In other business,
members vote unanimously to waive the building permit fee for the
installation of a deck at the Westchester Migratory Bird Sanctuary.
operated by the not-for-profit PorterCo Conservation Trust, is located on
the west side of South 11th Street, directly across from the rear entrance
to Westchester Intermediate School.
approved by consensus the Duneland Chamber of Commerce’s request for the use
of Thomas Centennial Park for three annual events:
Downtown, Friday, Oct. 26, with the closure of Calumet Road from Grant Ave.
to West Indiana Ave.; and Broadway from South Calumet Road to Third Street.
Christmas Celebration, Saturday, Nov. 24, including the Twilight Christmas
Parade and a special edition of the European Market.
* Mistletoe Market,
Saturday, Dec. 1.
Members also voted
unanimously to hold their 2019 budget workshop at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept.
will have leaves for farmers
Organic farmers in
Duneland in need of leaves to mix into their soil can get as many pounds of
them as they like for free. At the Town Council’s meeting Monday night,
Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg reported that the Street Department
will make leaves available to farmers for the asking. Call the Street
Department at 926-2222 for more information.
Every season the
Street Department collects leaves enough to fill 200 dump trucks.