Burns Harbor is no longer one of the few communities in the state that has
the town pay for its fire hydrant fees.
Residents will see a new charge of $4.12 on their monthly water bills as the
Town Council took a 5-0 vote on Wednesday in support of the measure
following a public hearing.
Clerk-Treasurer Jane Jordan said the town pays more than $70,000 per year on
hydrant costs to the Indiana American Water Company, or $61 per month on its
89 hydrants. Residents could see the fee increase a few cents for every
hydrant that is added as the town continues to develop.
Councilman Mike Perrine said the charge is a “relatively small amount per
household” and said the Town of Porter is the only other municipality in the
county which does not pass hydrant costs on to residents.
The revenue will free up some operating funds for the town’s new
advanced-life-support ambulance service.
No one from the audience expressed opposition to the fee. Former town
council member Cliff Fleming said he welcomes the new revenue source adding
that it would benefit the town, which is struggling with operating expenses.
He commended the Council and said residents must realize “there’s no such
thing as a free lunch.”
Since it is an ordinance, attorney Julie Paulson, who sat in for town
counsel Bob Welsh, said a second reading is required which will be held at
the next Council meeting.
Fire Chief Bill Arney mentioned the ALS ambulance will kick off the morning
of Saturday, Nov. 3 with an opening ceremony at the fire department and
invited the Council members and the donors to attend.
The contract with the hospital has been signed and the ambulance will be
inspected next Monday.
“Everything’s ready to start protecting the town,” Arney said.
Fifty part-time EMS and paramedic workers have been hired for ALS ambulance
staff, a mix of those already currently working for the fire department and
The ALS ambulance received about $50,000 from local town businesses to
purchase equipment and other related expenses.
“It couldn’t have gone smoother,” Councilman Greg Miller said.
In another matter, Arney, who is also the town’s building commissioner, said
a decrepit residential structure near the area of Meadowbrook Road and
Westport Road has had many folks calling in asking if something can be done
to eliminate the hazard.
“The house is in horrible shape,” Arney said.
The Council mulled taking steps to condemn the property citing safety
concerns. According to Jordan, the property is bank owned and it has been
listed on the Sheriff’s Sale multiple times.
Stepping in to demolish the building could mean an expense for the town both
legally and physically, Arney said. Perrine asked Arney to get estimates for
a firm to do the razing.
Paulson said the town could put a lien on the property to recoup the costs.
Meanwhile, Councilman Jeff Freeze said he has been contacted by a consultant
willing to help with getting the town in line with the federal government
requirements to have a plan to make all of the town’s buildings, sidewalks
and roads handicap accessible.
The Council was told by the Northern Indiana Regional Planning Commission’s
transit compliance officer earlier this month that the town, like all other
municipalities, has until Dec. 31 to show a commitment to meet the standards
of the Americans with Disabilities Act or risk losing its eligibility for
funding from the Federal Highway Department.
Freeze said Desila Rossetti offered to get the town’s transition plan
organized just as she had helped in LaPorte County. The Council agreed on a
motion to compensate Rossetti up to $1,000 to work with the different town
departments. A lot of the assessment work will be done by the town as Arney
has been actively taking pictures for the packet that will be submitted to
More Trees for
Jordan said besides the six trees the town thought it would be getting to be
planted at Bollinger Park in Harbor Trails, Great Oaks Nursery was generous
enough to throw in a few more trees.
The town thought it would be getting one more tree in addition to the six
with the $100 donation made by Amy and Greg Poparad. Once the donation was
made, Great Oaks ended up doubling the amount for a total of 14 trees.
It’s time once again to get hungry for some Italian cuisine and support the
Burns Harbor Fire Department. Arney said the annual dinner will be Saturday,
Nov. 3 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Fire Dept. Tickets are $6 at the door or can
be purchased ahead of time. For carry out meals, it’s $1 extra.
“It’s always a good time,” Arney said.
In more community event news, Perrine invited the public to attend the Burns
Harbor Lions Club annual Halloween costume sale which will take place this
Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Westport Community Club.
In other matters, the board voted unanimously to pass the proposed 2013
budget. Total estimates for all budgets came in at $2,982,937 with a $1.75
million General Fund. The estimated maximum levy is $2,483,210 based on an
assessed value of $508 million. A public hearing took place on Sept. 19.
Also, it was announced by the Council that Janice Hines of the Plan
Commission has resigned her position. Council President Jim McGee said they
will wait until January to replace her. That’s also when the Council will
make its other board appointments.
Fire and Police
During September, Arney said the Fire Department responded to 24 calls
spending 8 hours and 39 minutes on emergency scenes, nine assists to EMS,
one water rescue and two vehicle fires. Firefighters spent 97.5 hours
training and 64 duty hours on station, and fire vehicles traveled 488 miles.
Town marshal Mike Heckman said in September the police department saw 338
incidents, investigated five vehicle crashes with three resulting in
personal injury and two in property damage, made 12 arrests (two felonies,
ten misdemeanors), wrote 86 tickets, gave 220 verbal and written warnings,
and police vehicles traveled 8,152 miles.
Trick-or-Treat time for Burns Harbor will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Oct.
31, Heckman reported.