discussion by either board Tuesday, the Porter County Commissioners and
County Council both voted unanimously for $517,000 in remaining proceeds
from the sale of Porter Memorial Hospital to be used to cover subsidies to
Porter Regional Hospital, the City of Portage and Portage Twp. to provide
ambulance service to the unincorporated parts of the county.
Most of the
discussion took place at last month’s County Council meeting when the
Commissioners originally proposed using county income tax (CEDIT) sources.
Council member Dan Whitten, D-at large, felt that it was risky to dip into
CEDIT as the amount of unallocated funds is diminishing and the County is
facing other funding projects.
The County last
year set aside $10 million of hospital sale proceeds for capital projects
and emergencies while about $140 million was invested into the Porter County
Government Charitable Foundation to generate a higher rate of interest.
members sided with Whitten for the ambulance costs to be paid out of the
available hospital proceeds and the Commissioners came back Tuesday with a
request for those funds after voting 3-0 to approve the appropriation at
their meeting earlier in the day.
“I think we have
discussed this ad nauseam,” said Whitten, making the motion to approve. The
motion was passed 7-0 by the Council.
with the Porter Regional Hospital this year, the Commissioners and the
Hospital agreed to a lower cost of $450,000 for ambulance services instead
of $750,000 annually and are discussing a new contract.
and Council approved a second request -- an appropriation of $317,197 in
Major Moves funds from the sale of the Toll Road to match a grant from the
Regional Development Authority for the Porter County Regional Airport runway
reconstruction. The funds were approved last year but the payment was
delayed due to some additional paperwork.
Health Dept. fees
at their meeting also voted 3-0 in favor of an ordinance to increase fees at
the Porter County Health Department.
County Health Board
attorney Dave Hollenbeck said the Health board would like to request a
rather modest increase in its charges for certificates, some of which
haven’t changed for years.
Hollenbeck said, is to “correlate” the fees charged for services against the
fees of providing those services in an effort to free up money in the Health
Department’s general fund. The fees go into a freestanding fund for the
In the new fees
structure, a birth certificate cost would rise from $6 to $8, a death
certificate from $9 to $10, a paternity affidavit fee from $25 to $30, and
an affidavit amendment fee from $25 to $30.
The increased fees,
Hollenbeck said, are in the bottom half of comparative counties in terms of
what is charged. The higher fees collected will lower the tax rate for the
Health Dept., which has its own rate.
No one from the
public spoke in favor of or in opposition to the ordinance.