Intermediate and Elementary schools are now just one more vote away from
becoming customers of the Chesterton Utility.
At its meeting
Monday night, the Utility Service Board voted unanimously to approve a
sanitary sewer user agreement under which the Utility would provide service
to the two schools, located on C.R. 900N in unincorporated Liberty Township.
The agreement now
goes to the Duneland School Board for its approval.
Under the terms of
the agreement, DSC will install and maintain at its own cost a force main
connecting to the Fox Chase subdivision, located west of Meridian Road and
serviced by a lift station constructed a couple of years ago by the Utility
off C.R. 900N just west of Ind. 49.
The Utility will
waive all tap-on, inspection, and administrative fees associated with DSC’s
tie-in to the Chesterton sanitary sewer system and will be billed the
following: treatment rate per 1,000 gallons of $4.27; user charge per
three-inch meter per month of $308; and a debt service charge per EDU of
$42.61, to be reduced to $35.51 after 2021.
DSC, which had been
a customer of the Damon Run Conservancy District, approached the Service
Board late last year to request a tie-in, after the Duneland School Board
formally terminated its relationship with Damon Run. That break followed
Valparaiso City Utilities’ acquisition of the Damon Run infrastructure and
its declaration of a 10-mile service territory outside of the city’s
Utility is challenging that territory declaration before the Indiana Utility
Regulatory Commission, on the ground that Valpo’s 10-mile service territory
encroaches on Chesterton’s four-mile territory, declared by the Town Council
by ordinance five years ago.
Schools,” Member Scott McCord said.
Brandt, for his part, thanked Superintendent Dave Ryan and Associate Town
Attorney Chuck Parkinson for their “outstanding” work on the agreement.
told the Service Board that staff is working on the dispute. “Time continues
to be spent with lawyers and engineers on moving forward with the Valpo/DRCD
territorial issue,” he said. “Our attorneys sent a settlement proposal offer
to Valpo on Dec. 20. We have not yet heard a response back.”
In other business,
Ryan told members that financials presented to the Service Board for
December and 2019 are preliminary and may yet change somewhat.
As they stand,
however, the Utility ran a deficit in December of $341,394.02 and in
full-year 2019 a surplus of $965,934.42: that latter figure exceeds
projection by $555,956.42 or more than 100 percent. By the same token, the
Utility’s total operating expenses last year were $145,327.63 less
than the $2,677,893 than originally projected.
“If I read this
correctly, pending any major changes, we ended the year well in the
positive,” Brandt noted.
replied. “We had a great year.”
In 2019 Chesterton
used 58.61 percent of its 3,668,000 gallon per day (gpd) allotment of the
wastewater treatment plant; Porter, 56.72 percent of its 851,000 gpd
allotment; the Indian Boundary Conservancy District, 73.78 percent of its
81,000 gpd allotment; and the plant as a whole, 58.56 percent of its
The plant treated
980,567,000 gallons in 2019, for an average daily flow of 2,694,083 gallons:
13 percent more than in 2018. There was one bypass, in September, which saw
8.19 inches of rain, the most of any month. A total of 45.90 inches of rain
fell in 2019, compared to 41.71 inches in 2018 and 41.33 inches in 2017.
Even with all the
rain, even with the 13 percent increase in daily average usage, the
wastewater plant is still only operating at 59 percent of its capacity,
Brandt observed. “That’s amazing,” he said. “That’s absolutely amazing.”
Members also voted
unanimously to approve the 2020 budget as submitted by Ryan.
projects total revenues of $4,655,504; debt service of $1,361,191; total
operating revenue of $3,294,313; expenses of $2,741,997; and surplus of
Both Brandt and
Member Andy Michael praised Ryan for the clarity, detail, comprehensiveness,
and rigor of the budget documents.
“In all the budgets
we’ve gotten over the last 20-plus years, this is probably the more
comprehensive and understandable one we’ve ever had,” Michael said.
McCord took a
moment at the end of the meeting to express his gratitude to the Town
Council for re-appointing both himself and Brandt to the Service Board.
“Thank you for the
confidence,” McCord said. “Hopefully we can continue to do the job you
expect of us.”