Chesterton again accused of misusing tollway proceeds

2013-06-16T18:15:00Z 2013-06-16T21:51:04Z Chesterton again accused of misusing tollway proceedsBob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com

The state has again suggested the town of Chesterton improperly used proceeds from the lease of the Indiana Toll Road toward the construction of a municipal building.

The neighboring town of Porter was called out by the state for problems involving sewer billing and a long-standing emergency services contract with NIPSCO.

The concerns in both towns were raised in recently-released audits by the Indiana State Board of Accounts.

The Chesterton funds in question, which are a part of the state's Major Moves program, are restricted for the construction of highways, economic development, inter-local agreements and as a municipality's contribution to the regional development authority, according to the 2011 audit.

Town officials continue to disagree with the state's finding, arguing the project at Broadway and 15th Street meets the criteria for economic development by promoting opportunities for gainful employment and attracting or retaining a major business.

Charlie Pride, an office supervisor with the Board of Accounts, has said the disagreement over the funding is not likely go any further unless someone files a complaint with the Porter County prosecutor's office. 

The Board of Accounts lacks the authority to pursue its objection further, he said.

The 2010-11 audit carried out in Porter says the town has failed to collect $22,488 owed to it by NIPSCO for police and fire services at the company's industrial property. The annual $150,000 contract dates to 1985.

Porter Clerk-Treasurer Carol Pomeroy said she has been in contact with NIPSCO and disagrees that the town is owed the money.

The state board also said the town was failing to differentiate its sewage treatment bills based on water meter size, as is called for by local ordinance.

Pomeroy said the problem has been corrected.

 

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