Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Road salt prices go through the roof, Chesterton Town Council is told

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By KEVIN NEVERS

Chesterton Street 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.

As Schnadenberg 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.”

Schnadenberg noted that the state is attributing the increase in the salt price to the extraordinary demand generated by the brutality of the 2012-13 winter.

Able Disposal Contract

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.

Currently, folks 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.

Paving

Meanwhile, 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 $200,000.

“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 years.”

“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.

Schnadenberg asked members whether the $30,000 earmarked this year for sidewalk replacement might be carried over into 2015.

Member Sharon Darnell, D-4th, said that that amount can indeed be encumbered to next year.

 

Posted 8/12/2014