The Chesterton Town
Council is currently reviewing Fire Chief John Jarka’s proposal for the
establishment of an advanced life support (ALS) ambulance service, but made
one thing crystal clear at its meeting Monday night.
Namely, that an ALS
service would have to be self-supporting, as the town simply can’t afford to
Jarka submitted the
proposal at the council’s last meeting, two weeks after he reported that
Superior Air-Ground Ambulance Service had demanded an immediate subsidy of
$150,000 to continue providing ALS to Chesterton residents. Members said
Nuts to that. Barring an unforeseen development, Porter Regional
Hospital EMS will begin running ambulances again in Chesterton on Dec. 30 or
“I am working with
911 to transition seamlessly,” Jarka told the council on Monday. “I am
working with them to get the right hour and date.”
voted unanimously to approve a punch-list of items for legal to review, as
part of a due-diligence consideration of Jarka’s proposal:
services based in Indiana.
services of the town’s contracted financial consultant, London Witte Group,
or else some other third party, to crunch the revenue projections prepared
by Jarka and his predecessor as chief, Mike Orlich. “The proof is in the
pudding,” as Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th, put it.
prices for the equipment which the CFD would need to acquire for ALS
service: a Lifepak monitor and chest compression device.
--Have the state
certify the CFD’s ambulance as an ALS rig.
--Prepare a job
description for the part-time paramedics who would staff the ambulance.
to compile a hiring list of part-time paramedics.
--Amend the town’s
Personnel Policy as appropriate.
--And consult with
the Redevelopment Commission on the feasibility of using tax increment
financing to purchase a second ambulance rig. “That is long term,” observed
Member Jim Ton, R-1st. “Long term.”
The linchpin of a
viable ALS service, however, is billing, Ton emphasized. “We have to recoup
the cost of running the rig,” he said. “If we can’t recoup the cost, or at
least 75 percent of it, we can’t afford this service. That’s where we need
to start: can we collect the money for this? It should be self-funded
through the billing process.”
“This has to be done so this council or the next one can make a
due-diligence decision,” he said.
In other business,
members unanimously voted to approve an ordinance which codifies and
clarifies--as Associate Town Attorney Chuck Parkinson explained--a number of
customary practices and procedures which the Town Council has actually
followed for years in the absence of any comprehensive ordinance stipulating
--That the council
shall meet at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Monday of the month.
--That the council
may hold executive sessions so long as proper notification has been given in
accordance with the Open Door Law.
--That any council
member may submit an item for business on a meeting agenda, but no later
than five business days prior to the meeting. The Clerk-Treasurer may
distribute the agenda to members no later than two business days prior to
--That all matters
relating to municipal employment, including the settlement of claims and
litigation relating to employment, must be enacted by ordinance of the Town
--That no ordinance
may be adopted unless the ordinance has appeared on the council’s agenda for
the meeting at which it is to be considered. A two-thirds vote is required
for the council to suspend the rules and pass the ordinance on second
reading at the same meeting at which the ordinance is introduced.
--That no ordinance
which has failed to obtain a majority of votes on first reading may be
placed on the agenda for a period of 60 days following the date of first
reading, unless a majority of members agrees to consider that ordinance at
their next meeting.
reading” of an ordinance constitutes its introduction.