Commissioner John Schnadenberg is hoping for a mild winter.
That’s because the
price of road salt--purchased through the state--has gone through the roof.
told the Town Council at its meeting Monday night, last year the town paid
$48.84 per ton.
This year, it’ll be
paying $73.32 per ton. That’s a spike of $24.48 per ton or 50 percent.
Under the state’s
purchasing requirements, the town will have to buy a minimum of 80 percent
of its 2,000-ton contract. Compare: last winter a minimum purchase of 1,600
tons would have cost $78,144. This year winter it’ll cost $117,312, or a
budget-busting $39,168 more.
“It’s hard to
budget for a 50-percent increase,” Schnadenberg told the council. “And
there’s nothing we can do about it. Everybody will be in the same boat.”
Actually, the Town
of Chesterton is probably better positioned going into the winter than a lot
of other municipalities. In April, Schnadenberg took an opportunity to
purchase a full load of salt at the lower price of $48.84. “So we saved
quite a bit of money filling up the building in spring.”
that the state is attributing the increase in the salt price to the
extraordinary demand generated by the brutality of the 2012-13 winter.
In other business,
Schnadenberg told members that, at their next meeting, Aug. 25, he will
likely present a proposal by Republic Service--doing business in town as
Able Disposal--to extend the company’s existing three-year contract for
refuse and recycle collection.
That contract is
due to expire at the end of the year.
Under the proposal
as Schnadenberg summarized it, there would be no increase in the contract in
its first year, 2015. Schnadenberg told the Chesterton Tribune after
the meeting that, under state law, a municipality may renew a contract
without re-bidding it if there’s no increase in the terms of that contract.
are paying $14.64 per month. Put that number in context. In the final year
of Able Disposal’s previous contract with the town--2011--residents were
paying $15.53 per month. And they weren’t getting the two 95-gallon
roll-away garbage cans which they are now.
“It looks very
positive,” Schnadenberg said.
Schnadenberg reported that, contrary to his belief at the start of the
season, it looks as though all paving projects being funded by this year’s
$1.5-million bond issue will be completed this year.
Among the roadways
re-surfaced this summer: 11th Street from West Porter Ave. to 1050N; Fifth
Street from West Porter Ave. to 1050N; 1050N from Fifth Street to 11th
Street; 1050N from 200W to Ind. 149; West Porter Ave. from 15th Street to
23rd Street; and 23rd Street from Washington Ave. to 1100N.
Under the terms of
the bond issue, the Porter County Treasurer’s Office purchased the bonds at
an interest rate of 2 percent. Of the $1.5 million in bond revenues, around
$500,000 was or will be used to re-pave roads in the tax increment financing
district, so that amount will be re-paid with TIF funds. The remaining $1
million will be re-paid with property-tax revenues, which Town Attorney
Chuck Lukmann has estimated will added a liability of $32.45 per year over
the five-year life of the bonds to a Town of Chesterton homestead valued at
“I can’t tell you
how pleased I am with (paving contractor) Walsh & Kelly this year,”
Schnadenberg said. “And the Street Department staff has worked long hours on
traffic control. That’s worked out very well too.”
“I think the new
roads are fabulous,” said Member Nick Walding, R-3rd. “I think when school
starts, people will see how nice it is to travel on the new roads. And John
(Schnadenberg) will maintain them. That’s save the taxpayers a lot over the
“That’s the key,”
Schnadenberg agreed. “Maintenance.”
One casualty of
this season’s furious paving schedule: the three-year sidewalk replacement
program authorized by the council in June, which the Street Department
simply hasn’t had the time to begin.
members whether the $30,000 earmarked this year for sidewalk replacement
might be carried over into 2015.
Darnell, D-4th, said that that amount can indeed be encumbered to next year.