The Chesterton Fire Department will hold a public information session
tonight, at 6 p.m. at the town hall, on the municipal advance support
ambulance service which the Town Council voted late in the summer to support
At the information session, the CFD will discuss the parameters of the
service, its rationale, and its funding.
At its meeting on Aug. 28, the council voted 3-1 to advertise in the 2013
budget a “non-reverting fund” for the exclusive use of an ambulance service.
At the moment, that’s the extent of it. No ambulances will be purchased any
time soon and no new paramedics hired.
The idea, however, is generally this:
•The non-reverting fund would be used to defray the cost of the service’s
daily operations, its paramedics’ wages and benefits, and the maintenance of
a two-ambulance fleet.
•Revenues from the service—from the fee charged to users of the
service—would be deposited into the non-reverting fund.
•Once the service is up and running, with a tentative start date of April 1,
2013, those revenues are expected to cover all costs associated with the
•The Indiana Department of Local Government Finance would not count the
non-reverting fund against the town, when approving the annual municipal
budget, and it would have no impact on property-tax rates.
•Nor would the service have an impact on any other municipal department’s
budgets or on the General Fund. That’s the conclusion of the town’s
contracted financial consultant, the London Witte Group.
•Fire Chief Mike Orlich has estimated that it will take between $150,00 and
$175,000 in start-up seed money to cover the service’s initial operating
expenses for the first six to eight months. He has suggested the possibility
of a loan of CEDIT funds to pay for those expenses but anticipates an actual
revenue stream from the service in the first 30 to 60 days.
Orlich has put the cost of acquiring two ambulances—one new, one used—at
around $200,000, and is exploring a number of options for the acquisition of
the vehicles, including grants and public/private partnerships.