RTC gets its motor
Committee's writ will last until the end of the year
By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor
CROWN POINT - The county's new Regional Transportation Committee
chose a chairman at its inaugural meeting last week, but left other
'housekeeping' measures for its next meeting.
Calumet College President Dennis Rittenmeyer was
elected chairman by acclamation at the June 28 meeting. The committee
members agreed to meet again on July 12 to consider how they will go
about their business.
Exactly what that business is was the subject of
three-quarters of last week's two-hour meeting. The committee listened
to a presentation on a $350,000 study done by a Cambridge, Mass., firm
that recommends expanding bus service in the county.
The study calls for investment of $1.8 million and an
annual operating budget of $3.75 million, to be funded by user fares and
local, state and federal governments.
County Council President Will Smith (D-Gary), who is
not an RTC member, had asked the presentation be given so committee
members would know that work had already been done on the subject of
"You don't need to reinvent the wheel,"
The RTC has no real power; it can only recommend
action on the subject of regional transportation. Creation of the RTC
was a compromise between supporters of a more powerful Regional
Transportation Authority, which would have the power to raise money for
public transportation, and RTA opponents.
The RTC's writ lasts through the end of the
year, when the County Council will reconsider the issue.
South Lake County is represented on the committee by
Crown Point Mayor James Metros.
Utility connection may become mandatory
Southern edge of Winfield may be
exempt from the requirement
By Sean McNab
Star Staff Writer
WINFIELD - The town of Winfield is discussing
a possible mandatory utility connection for residents within the town
limits with the only exclusion being those that live in the southeast
corner of it.
For with all of the utility access problems
subdivisions within Winfield have recently experienced - specifically
that of water, town officials may be proposing mandatory hook-up for
most of its residents.
"By doing this, the town will be resolving some
the problems it has recently been plagued with. First, we will be able
to keep tabs on the questionable amounts of water flowing through our
aquifers. Additionally, it will clear up any discrepancy as to the
residential concerns with new development taking place in the
town," stated Town Council Attorney George Patrick.
The territorial limits that the town has imposed on
this possible connection stems from the fact that not all residents are
getting water from the same source.
"Those at the southern end of town may not be
eligible for Lake Michigan water (the source that the town wants)
because of the lining with the Kankakee River," added
Because of this, those residents would not have to
incur any of the cost that would take place if this idea came to
Residents at the last Town Council Meeting were not
very enthusiastic about this possible sanction feeling that most have
already paid 'tap-in' fees for water on their property.
Town Council President Joyce Furto refuted the
complaints by explaining that the residents cannot play 'both sides of
the fence' on this issue.
"45 percent of our budget comes from new
development within our town. Either way it seems that the residents are
going to be disgruntled on the issue of utilities. They do not want any
development within the town until the water issue is finally resolved,
but until that time comes they do no not want their taxes raised because
of this lack of development."
The possible proposal would be based on a grid system
in which any residential property that is adjacent to the main water
artery be required to pay for the utility connection setup.
Local developer Tom Simstad voiced a suggestion to
impose a possible moratorium on the town utilities.
Patrick responded , "I just recently spoke with
Water Management and the unofficial word on this issue was that well and
septic within the town are not a municipality, and, therefore, the town
does not govern it."
It was noted that even if the town mandates utility
hook-up by most of its residents resulting in additional fees paid, the
value of the residents' homes will increase resulting in a partial
offsetting some of the incurred cost.