MUNSTER | The waters of a slender ditch running north alongside an undistinguished street in Munster are being stirred by the latest debate in the Lake County surveyor's race.
Republican Eric Krieg, a candidate for surveyor, is accusing his Democratic opponent, incumbent George Van Til, of hastily covering up the office's lack of oversight of a $191,000 drainage improvement project the county awarded last fall to a Munster contractor.
Van Til said Krieg's latest accusation raises the total of misrepresentations Van Til has found in a series of Krieg's attacks in recent weeks.
"He doesn't know what he is talking about," Van Til said.
The two are facing off in the Nov. 6 general election.
County commissioners awarded a contract to a Munster contractor last year to dredge up sediment from the Spring Street Ditch bed and stabilize its banks against future erosion.
Krieg states in a news release dated Sunday, "We walked the Spring Street Ditch project down on July 29th, and the erosion blankets, seeding, and other items were not completed, on a project that was paid for in November and December of 2011."
Krieg said he then requested public documents about the project from Van Til's office several weeks ago, "which tipped them off that we were looking."
Krieg said he inspected the project again Friday and found the missing erosion blanket had been installed in recent days.
"It would make sense to install the erosion blanket and seeding in the spring," Krieg said. "But August? Is that a good time to grow grass?"
Van Til said Krieg's accusations of a coverup are false because Krieg hasn't requested any information from his office.
He said the contractor is still finishing that job and hasn't yet been fully paid, despite Krieg's allegations to the contrary. Van Til said a final inspection probably will take place in a few days.