Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Schools seek Chesterton sewer service for Liberty campus; Porter Hospital interested too

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By KEVIN NEVERS

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.

As Chesterton 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 Chesterton.”

“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 Farms.

Payment in Lieu of Taxes

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.

Write-offs

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, $10,000.”

Clerk-Treasurer Stephanie Kuziela, Brandt added, has been extremely aggressive in pursuing payment from outstanding accounts.

These write-offs are from former customers whose homes were foreclosed on or who moved out of town.

November in Review

In November, 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.

 

 

 

Posted 12/17/2019

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

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