contract Porter County Government holds with Porter Health Care System for
ambulance service is being looked at by both parties, County Commissioner
President Jeff Good, R-Center, said at Tuesday’s County Board of
Part of the
meeting’s consent agenda contained a response data report for Porter EMS
services during 2016.
Good said that
members of the press were calling to inquire about the report a few days
before the meeting, asking what it might mean for the contract for EMS
services. He said a discussion about considered revisions for the contract
will take place at a future meeting but currently the Commissioners are
“This has been a
hot button topic with a lot of questions (by County officials) about it,”
Good said. “With the response data report we got for fiscal year 2016, it
gives us a bunch of information on ambulance service calls and other data
that we have taken a look at.”
board in 2014 voted to extend the ambulance contract for five years to
receive a savings of more than $1 million with the hospital freezing its
rate at $750,000 instead of increasing it to $1 million.
Members of the
Porter County Council last year, including current Commissioner Jim Biggs,
R-North, said they were caught off guard to learn of the extension and
argued for more discussion on what other options were possible.
Good said new
discussions need to be held now that the County is moving on an
800-megahertz communications system upgrade for emergency response agencies.
“We are taking a
step back and look at it from a holistic standpoint. The ambulance contract
is just one part of this re-look and this whole picture look at our whole
911 situation,” Good said.
He added that he
and County Attorney Scott McClure have had dialogue with Porter Health
officials which have been “very positive.”
“We learned a lot
of things. We are going to continue to meet and move forward to resolve this
issue and come up with an outcome that is good for Porter County and is good
for Porter Hospital,” Good said.
contract had been paid for with part of the principal from the sale of the
county’s Porter Memorial Hospital in 2007. After the money from the
principal was invested into the Porter County non-profit Community
Foundation last year, officials planned to pay the contract using cumulative
capital development funds. However, McClure said, the state has cut the
County’s CCD funds and the County Council will need to decide in the next
few months where to draw more funds from in order to satisfy the contract.
signed off 3-0 on a petition by the National Lakeshore to vacate three
subdivision right-of-ways within the National Lakeshore -- Dunewood
Subdivision, Hawleywood Subdivision and Pottawatomie Vista.
Director of the
Department of Development and Stormwater Management Robert Thompson said
these right-of-ways, located off Tremont Rd. in Westchester Twp., were
included in the discussion from 2012 of County roads to close within the
Lakeshore. There however has been no ordinance yet to follow up on vacating
the parcels, Thompson said.
“The Lakeshore owns
all the lots in these right-of-ways and has tried to vacate them themselves
but this would be the quickest and easiest way to do it,” Thompson said
There are no
structures remaining on the lots, according to Thompson. Pottawatomie Vista
has gates around it to keep people from dumping garbage. Hawleywood North
has nothing on it and as for Dunewood Subdivision, “If you can find it, good
luck. It’s pretty much overgrown,” he said.
rounded out their board appointments for 2017, naming representatives to the
County Redevelopment Commission and the Northwest Indiana Shared Ethics
and attorney Courtney C. Smith will be the citizen appointment to the Ethics
Commission. Commissioner Laura Shurr Blaney, D-South, will also have a seat
on the Ethics Commission.
appointments to the RDC are Jason Gilliana and Stephen Sularski, both
Good hinted that
the Commissioners will be “energizing” the RDC this year. The RDC was
created in 2012 but has not yet been able to determine a tax increment
financing allocation area. One of the sites talked about is the U.S. 6
corridor around Porter Regional Hospital in Liberty Twp.
Commissioners named Robert Gilliana to a seat on the Stormwater Advisory
voted 3-0 in favor of a letter of agreement for Mary Ann Gregg to open and
close the Paul C. Zona, Sr. Wildlife Foundation at 601 E. CR 950N in Jackson
Twp. on a daily basis for $225 per month.
Good said that
Gregg has been receiving pay to open and close the Foundation for “quite
some time” but recently there had been a letter, or contract, to
substantiate it. The letter will now be placed on record, he said.
In a step forward
in the County’s efforts to reduce the inmate population at the Porter County
Jail, Chief Public Defender Ken Elwood said the County is to receive $52,000
in grant money from the Department of Justice to be used for bond hearings.
This is a pilot
program that the DOJ is establishing for the purpose of releasing
non-violent low-risk offenders from jail, Elwood said. An offender will be
assessed at initial bond hearings as a high, moderate or low risk, by the
Porter County is
one of six counties participating in this pilot program in six pilot states,
voted in favor of creating a fund for the grant money on first reading, 3-0.
Biggs asked Elwood
what percentage the County can expect as a release rate for low-risk
offenders. Elwood said there are no projections yet as the process is only
in the first phase, which is gathering data. He expects to have a better
idea by the end of the year.