On Tuesday, Dec.
10, Valparaiso City Utilities officially closed on its purchase of the Damon
Run Conservancy District’s sanitary sewer infrastructure.
Two of Damon Run’s
largest customers, however, are now interested in bolting, and obtaining
sewer service instead from the Chesterton Utility.
Utility Superintendent Dave Ryan reported at Monday night’s meeting of the
Utility Service Board, on Nov. 26 he met with Porter Regional Hospital CEO
Sean Dardeau, “to explore their interest in connecting to our sewer system.”
Dardeau, Ryan said,
is “very interested in an opportunity to save money. We expect to hear more
feedback in the near future.”
Meanwhile, also at
Monday’s meeting, Duneland Schools Superintendent Chip Pettit and School
Board President Brandon Croft asked the Service Board to formalize an
agreement under which the Chesterton Utility will provide sewer service to
Liberty Elementary and Intermediate schools.
The Service Board
was happy to do so, voting unanimously to instruct legal counsel to prepare
an outside sewer user agreement, as well as to waive tap-on fees.
At a special
meeting on Dec. 2, the Duneland School Board voted to cancel its contract
with Damon Run. “We owe a responsibility to our taxpayers to save them money
and go to Chesterton,” Croft told the Service Board on Monday. “We would
hope everyone in Damon Run has the opportunity to seek service from
“We welcome you to
Chesterton,” Service Board President Larry Brandt said.
The Liberty school
campus is located on C.R. 900N in unincorporated Liberty Township,
approximately half a mile from the intersection of Meridian Road, where the
Chesterton Utility some years ago installed a force main to serve Fox Chase
Payment in Lieu of
In other business,
members voted unanimously to approve a payment in lieu of taxes, plus a
return on the wastewater treatment plant, of $152,000, to be made to the
Town of Chesterton, to help cover the cost of the wage and salary increases
approved for municipal employees in 2018.
At its last meeting
the Town Council also unanimously approved a mirror document.
Last year’s payment
in lieu of taxes was slightly higher: $156,115.
Under Indiana Code,
as a public utility the Chesterton Utility does not pay property taxes, but
a municipality may collect from a utility an annual amount equivalent
to what the utility would pay in property taxes if it were a private
entity. Because the wastewater treatment plant is actually located in the
Town of Porter, the Utility is paying an amount in lieu of taxes on its
infrastructure installed in the Town of Chesterton, that is, its underground
collection system and the series of lift stations.
The annual return
on the plant refers to the return on investment which the town has made in
the wastewater treatment plant.
Members also voted
unanimously to approve uncollectable sewer write-offs totaling $1,929.96, an
amount much lower than in the past, Brandt observed. “It used to be, like,
Stephanie Kuziela, Brandt added, has been extremely aggressive in pursuing
payment from outstanding accounts.
are from former customers whose homes were foreclosed on or who moved out of
November in Review
Chesterton used 58 percent of its 3,668,000 gallon per day (gpd) allotment
of the wastewater treatment plant; Porter, 51.45 percent of its 851,000 gpd
allotment; the Indian Boundary Conservancy District, 65.38 percent of its
allotment; and the plant as a whole, 55.85 percent of its capacity.
A total of 1.4
inches of rain was recorded last month at the plant. There were no overflows
of wastewater into the Little Calumet River.
Also in November,
the Utility ran a surplus of $386,325.82 and in the year-to-date is running
a surplus of $1,307,328.44.