- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—VALPARAISO — The Valparaiso City Council on Monday approved $10 million in economic development revenue bonds for the construction of a sewage pretreatment facility at Pratt Industries paper mill.

The bonds, which already received the approval of the city’s Utilities Board, would be issued through the city’s Redevelopment Commission and paid by Pratt through an additional surcharge on its monthly sewer bill.

The pretreatment facility is part of a $270 million, 250,000-square-foot paper recycling plant next to Pratt’s cardboard box plant — an expansion Pratt announced in 2013. That facility is under construction and scheduled to be completed by October.

The City Council was supposed to take action on the bonds in November but Randy Palmateer, business manager for the Northwestern Indiana Building & Construction Trades Council, expressed some concerns with members of various unions regarding the project.

City Economic Development Director Patrick Lyp said the matter has been resolved.

Lyp said he did speak to Palmateer who said he was not opposed to the City Council moving forward issuing the bonds.

Gary Byrd, president of Pratt Holdings, said at the City Council meeting that “we continue to be extremely excited about the project.”

Byrd said 1,500 workers have been on the site since the inception of the project. He said today there are more than 400 workers, about 74 percent who are union members who are predominately local.

Byrd said hiring has been going “very well” for the new facility. Pratt projected 104 new workers for the facility and have hired 87 so far, many from the local community, Byrd said.

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