Porter County moves to help pay for Chesterton utility expansion
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent July 5, 2012 12:34PM
Updated: August 7, 2012 6:27AM
VALPARAISO — Porter County is moving forward in chipping in for Chesterton’s new utility corridor.
The Porter County Board of Commissioners voted 2-1 Tuesday to forward a proposal for $742,000 in local income tax money for the project to the Porter County Council. Commissioner Carole Knoblock, D-South, voted against the measure.
The joint project, if it moves forward, will bring a water and sewer line south from Coffee Creek to just north of County Road 900N, along Indiana 49. Without the county’s financial contribution — which is $158,000 less than early estimates — the utility line would end in the center of town.
The town of Chesterton is already covering the soft costs of the project, which include legal and engineering fees and the cost of acquiring right of way, Chesterton Town Councilman Jeff Trout told the commissioners.
The proposal has come before both the commissioners and the council before without a firm commitment from the county, but Trout wanted to make one last bid to the county for the project, especially since the price dropped.
“We’re really anxious to get started but we wanted to make one more effort to see if the county wanted to get involved,” Trout said.
Water will be provided by Indiana American Water Co., and sewer rates would be comparable to those in Portage, Trout said.
The expanded utility line will encourage development and jobs that will otherwise be lost to other places. “Unless we’ve got sewer and water and are shovel-ready, they go somewhere else,” Trout said.
Knoblock said she had just received the proposal the day of the meeting. She declined further comment after the meeting.
Partnering with local municipalities is part of the responsibility of county government, said Board of Commissioners President John Evans, R-North.
“To be prepared (for development) is to be smart, and I think this will help with that,” he said.