Chesterton Tribune



Town Council approves sewer rate increases

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New sewer rates for customers of the Chesterton Utility are now officially in effect.

At its meeting Monday night, the Town Council voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance codifying a schedule of rate hikes for several categories of customer.

At a public hearing which preceded the vote, no one spoke in favor of the rate hikes and no one in opposition.

The schedule of hikes:

--A 3.01-percent hike for the average Chesterton household using 10,000 gallons of water, increasing the bimonthly bill from $85.84 to $88.42.

--A 5.22-percent hike for the Town of Porter. Based on average usage, Porter’s monthly payment to the Utility will increase from $56,598.10 to $59,552.34.

--A 5.21-percent hike for the Indian Boundary Conservancy District. Based on average usage, the IBCD’s monthly payment will increase from $6,523.94 to $6,863.98.

--A 0.66-percent hike for Fox Chase Farms residents, increasing their monthly payments from $98.53 to $99.18.

Utility Service Board President Larry Brandt, in requesting the public hearing at the council’s last meeting, cited a variety of reasons for the rate hikes, beginning with the $152,000 annual Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) which the Utility is making over to the Town of Chesterton’s General Fund in support of the wage increases granted last year by the Town Council to municipal employees. Porter, IBCD, and Fox Chase Farms are not on the hook for the PILT; only Chesterton residents are paying for it.

Brandt also cited general inflationary pressure, including a 2.88-percent increase in such operating expenses as wages, benefits, and pensions, as well as purchased power from NIPSCO; the necessity of increasing the Utility’s budget for vehicle replacement; and a requirement under the Utility’s agreement with the State Revolving Fund--which provided financing for the 1.2-million gallon storage tank to reduce combined sewer bypasses during heavy rain events--to generate net operating revenues equal to at least 125 of its annual maximum debt service.

The rate hikes are retroactive to Saturday, April 20, the beginning of a new billing cycle for the Utility.

“If (the Utility Service Board is) raising the rates, it’s needed,” said Member Dane Lafata, D-3rd.

“This has been well researched,” noted Member Jim Ton, R-1st. “We have the tank to pay for.”

Alley Vacation

In other business, members voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance vacating a platted but unimproved north/south alley in the 200 block of South 21st Street.

Petitioning for the vacation was Kasie Carmichael of 258 S. 21st St., who discovered on putting her home up for sale that it partially encroaches on the alley to the rear of her property. “The last survey was done in the 50s,” she told the council. “I just found out.”

Carmichael’s neighbors on either side of her home and The Healing Place church on the far side of the alley to the east were all notified of the pending vacation.

At a public hearing which preceded the vote, no one spoke in favor the vacation and no one in opposition.


Posted 4/23/2019




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