a Porter Regional Hospital ambulance will be based out of the Burns Harbor
fire station and begin responding to emergency medical calls in town.
will lease a portion of the station and pay associated costs for its
advanced-life-support ambulance and employees to operate there around the
clock, seven days a week.
The move means the
Fire Department’s 14-month operation of its own ALS ambulance ends; the
required 24-hour paramedic staffing drove the cost up and became a drain on
town finances. The Fire Department will continue to use its modified ALS
ambulance to respond to basic-life-support calls not requiring specialized
The Town Council
voted 4-0 to authorize Porter to operate out of the fire station effective
Feb. 1, but a contract for the partnership hasn’t been finalized. A
timetable to execute one is in Porter Hospital’s hands, said councilman Mike
Freeze said he agrees with the move, as long as Porter won’t walk away from
the arrangement soon after beginning it.
Perrine said it
makes financial sense for Porter to relocate one of its ALS rigs now based
at the hospital’s Chesterton ambulance station; earlier this year the Town
of Chesterton entered into a contract with Superior Ambulance to respond to
contractual agreements are in place, a mutual aid pact between Porter
County’s emergency services provides back-up when needed if equipment and
personnel are available.
In other business
at Thursday’s special meeting, with forecasts for a new snowstorm on the way
the council voted 4-0 with member Greg Miller absent to purchase an
International 2014 snow plow truck for $92,650 from Lindco Equipment Sales
Lindco’s was deemed
the best bid of three submitted because the truck is fully equipped with a
snow plow, LED strobes, salt box and tailgate spreader; the truck is ready
to deliver to the Street Department.
Jane Jordan said the town can pay cash for the truck or finance it. She
described two proposals for bank financing and the council opted to go with
LaPorte Savings Bank over five years at 2.99 percent interest for 60 months
as long as early repayment is allowed.
said even if they can afford to buy the truck outright, it’s advisable to
finance it in light of the Indiana General Assembly’s move to enact big tax
cuts for Hoosier business.
Republican-controlled chambers approved such reductions Thursday, although
additional votes are needed. Said Freeze, “If the (business ) tax makes it
through, it will be devastating to anyone with significant business property
tax in their town. It will be a killer.”
Jordan said 64
percent of the town’s revenue comes from business personal property taxes so
it would hit the town as hard as when Indiana imposed a frozen levy to cap
tax collections for local governments. Burns Harbor could still tax to
support its budget, said Jordan, but the rate would have to climb
dramatically yet a state circuit-breaker limit curbs how much can be
collected on each class of property.
Jim McGee said Burns Harbor also survived the Bethlehem Steel bankruptcy,
which slashed its tax revenue by more than two-thirds. Now business tax cuts
are looming. “We’ve had everything thrown at us as a town.”
Freeze said the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission is helping
member cities and towns who are low on road salt to find more, and talks are
underway to have Rieth-Riley open an asphalt plant so potholes can be filled
with hot-patch because cold-patch is not working on potholes.
announced it would consider hiring a police officer at next month’s
rescheduled Feb. 5 meeting.