The Burns Harbor
Redevelopment Commission earmarked more funds for Town ambulance service at
its meeting Wednesday night.
Fire Chief Bill
Arney said his 26 ambulance employees work approximately 1,428 hours a
month, and the total cost of ambulance staff payroll each month is around
$20,000. As of Wednesday, there wasn’t enough money in the payroll account
to finish out June.
The RDC has already
pledged a total of $100,000 for an addition to the fire department, upfront
costs for starting Town ambulance service, and ambulance staff salaries
since the Town ended its contract with Superior after the company proposed a
rate hike last summer. Certain expenses were funded by Tax Increment
Financing (TIF) money, as allowed by law, while the salaries were funded
from Tax abatement fees.
Jane Jordan said the RDC would have to make an additional appropriation to
use the funds that the ambulance service has brought in through billing, and
the process of advertising the additional and holding a public hearing would
take the Board to its July meeting.
RDC member Ray
Poparad motioned for the RDC to allocate another $25,000 to keep the
salaries funded while the Board goes through the additional appropriation
process. The Board approved.
Jordan also noted
the RDC members can decide during budgeting this year if they want to set up
a pathway for ambulance worker salaries to be directly funded from the
proceeds of the ambulance service.
RDC President Eric
Hull said, though the ambulance service is bringing in money, it takes at
least 90 days for the Town to get a check after a bill is sent. “The
ambulance service is billing out quite a bit, I understand, and it takes a
long time for the part where the checks hit the bank,” Hull said.
Poparad noted the
spreadsheets from the company that handles billing show improvements. “Each
month the payments are coming in a little bit quicker,” Poparad said.
The RDC is
committed to maintaining the Town ambulance service, though it isn’t yet
funding itself, according to Hull. “We knew what we were getting into when
we started this,” Hull said. “We knew this was going to be something we’d
have to work through, and we still don’t know all the hurdles.”
Good of the Order
resident Sara Oudman said she was concerned about Food Truck Square after
the Duneland Chamber of Commerce’s posts on social media about this month’s
vendors got complaints from people who weren’t impressed with the lineup for
Wednesday, June 12.
Hull said the
Chamber has been struggling to get the same vendors it had last year--even
at the Chesterton European Market--because it appears many of its former
vendors are inactive or have gone out of business.
“My opinion at
first was there was some lack of effort, but after doing a little homework,
I think it’s more than someone not doing their job,” Hull said.
the Chamber should be more open with the public about problems finding
vendors so people don’t assume it’s from lack of effort.
Holladay Properties, the master developer on the Town Center project, is
putting together a timeline for their work. Going forward, representatives
from Holladay will come to RDC meetings when they have something to report.
In other business,
Hull asked RDC Vice-president Brad Enslen to look into improving wayfinding
signs around Town. “A lot of the signs in Town are worn out, or falling
apart, hidden by trees, or pointing to places that no longer exist. We’d
like to see what it would cost or what it would take to replace a lot of
those signs,” Hull said.
Enslen will work
with Street Commissioner Pat Melton to find out which signs are inaccurate
and come up with a plan to improve them. Enslen said he leaned toward
keeping the same style of signs Burns Harbor has now. A lot may change in
the coming years, so Enslen said now may not be the best time to invest in
new or expensive signs.
reported Wednesday that RDC coffers would be renewed Friday, when tax
abatement fees and TIF revenue were scheduled to arrive. Jordan said the RDC
would gain $276,070.89 in tax abatement fees from Praxair and ArcelorMittal
and $501,348.13 in TIF money.