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Feature Stories for Thursday, July 5, 2001

The STAR is distributed every Thursday.  
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Tap fee increase moves forward

By Sean McNab
Star Staff Writer

CEDAR LAKE - After several remonstrators voiced opposition to the possible increase in the town's sewer tap-in fees, members of the Town Council on a 6-1 vote moved to continue the ordinance until its next meeting to research the increase.
     The new fee would be $1,655 per tap-in, up from $500.
     Charles Dalton, a representative of town consultant H.J. Umbaugh & Associates, explained, "The rates per tap-in are based on the equity that each customer has with the sewer utility. It has always been this way. We are not doing anything different."
     Attorney Mike Muenich, representing developers Timothy Henderlong, Gregory Burke and Jack Kovich, filed a grievance against the increase.
     Kovich, developer of the Havenwood subdivision, stated, "All of members of the council need to take a closer look at this price increase because if it is passed it will have a definite effect on future building in the town."
     Others had concern that the school system would suffer if this rate were passed.
     "If this is passed it will have an effect on construction within the town with a good possibility that school enrollment will decrease," said Hanover teacher Louise Roys.
     Others were concerned that Cedar Lake isn't operating its sewage system efficiently.
     "I really would like to know what other surrounding communities are paying to tap-in to sewer utilities because we really need to be on the same level as them. I think if this ordinance is passed it will have a effect on our future growth," said Chris Kelleher, a representative from DeMotte State Bank.
     Town Attorney David Austgen stated at the June 12 council meeting that the new rate was comparable to other entities within the state.


Stencils will mark drains

By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor

CROWN POINT - The Board of Public Works last week authorized the Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District to organize a program to stencil the city's stormwater drains in an effort to raise awareness of the link between neighborhoods and the areas natural water system.
     The stenciling project is motivated by new laws that require the cleanup of lakes, rivers, streams, and creeks. The painted messages will remind people that many neighborhood drainage systems go directly to those bodies of water.
     "You can't believe how people don't know what's going on (with stormwater drainage), said the district's Phyllis Reeder at the board's June 28 meeting.
     She said groups like Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and 4-H will do the stenciling, and will pass out literature explaining it.
     According to the conservation district, the dumping of antifreeze, oil, and other wastes in storm sewers is common. Also, rainwater picks up litter, yard waste, excess fertilizers, and pesticides.
     The district urges people to "dump nothing down the storm drain you wouldn't swim in or drink."
     The stenciling project is part of the public education aspect of the new environmental guidelines.
     In addition, Mayor James Metros said the city will hire Commonwealth Engineers to create a stormwater plan. City Engineer Jeff Ban said the city needs to identify all the points at which stormwater enters local streams.
     Ban said the stenciling will begin in newer subdivisions, where officials know storm and sanitary sewers are separate. In those areas, sanitary sewage goes to the wastewater treatment plant where it is cleaned before being released into Beaver Dam Ditch. Storm sewage, though, goes directly into open streams.
     In many older parts of the city, the storm and sanitary sewers are combined, meaning all of it is routed to the wastewater treatment plant.
     In another stormwater matter, Ban said he will bring a proposal for the first phase of the Besor Valley relief project to the board this month.
     The first phase is a new sewer interceptor line down East Street.
     Future phases are expected to include a pumping station at West and South streets, and detention basins located within the Besor drainage basin in the center of the city.
     Also at the June 28 meeting, Ban said work on the water tower at the old water plant on East Street was expected to be completed by the fourth of July.
    "We should have water in it by the end of the week," Ban said.


For questions concerning the Star Newspaper or content on their articles, please contact
Star-Register Publications
112 West Clark Street
P.O. Box 419
Crown Point, IN 46307
(219) 663-4212

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