Chesterton Tribune



Burns Harbor Town Council mulls fate of old fire engine

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The Burns Harbor Town Council is mulling what to do with the Town’s 1996 fire engine now that the new BHFD engine from E-One is nearing completion.

Fire Chief Bill Arney said at Monday’s Town Council meeting that he completed a final inspection on the new engine and will officially take ownership of it Wednesday, after which a company in St. John will begin outfitting it with gear.

The new engine has a 7,500 gallon capacity, and replaces the Town’s 1996 model that presented with insurmountable repair costs in recent years. Council member Ray Poparad noted the old engine would need over $200,000 in repairs, including a new pump, parts for which are no longer made.

Nonetheless, Arney said he has received interest in the engine from the San Pierre Fire Department, a small volunteer operation in need of a new fire truck.

Arney said the San Pierre FD sent him a letter of interest, which he will forward to the Council members. They’re hoping for a donation.

Arney said his research suggests the engine would fetch as little as $5,000 for scrap or to a collector, though similar engines in better condition have sold for up to $10,000.

Poparad said he knows small, volunteer-run departments always struggle, but was unsure about such a large donation. “In the past we’ve donated equipment to other departments, but never a truck. We’ve donated old bunker gear, fire hoses,” Poparad said.

Town Attorney Clay Patton suggested the Town should try to get something for the engine, perhaps ask the San Pierre FD to make an offer on it. The Council didn’t take any further action Monday.

In other Fire Department business, Arney reported construction on the new Fire Department building is almost complete, and the next Town Council meeting, as well as a ribbon cutting for the new engine, will be held there on April 10.

Arney also received the go-ahead from the Council and the Redevelopment Commission to begin the hiring process for EMTs to cover night and weekend shifts manning the Town’s ambulance. Arney reported he has taken applications and done interviews, and he hopes to have new EMTs start as early as March 25.


Street Superintendent Pat Melton reported that spring clean-up is April 22. In the meantime, the Street Department has started roadside trash pick-up and yearly maintenance on mowers and other equipment. Organized brush pick-up begins in May and runs on the first and third Mondays of each month.

Saturday, April 13 is the Park Department Easter Egg Hunt at Lakeland Park. The Spectacular Hunt for kids with vision or mobility impairments, special sensory needs, and the like, begins at 10 a.m. The regular Egg Hunt follows at 10:30 a.m. Kids up to 12 are welcome at both events.

Good of the Order

Poparad noted that the bridge on Old Porter Road over Salt Creek is closed because the southwest corner support for the bridge deck has crumbled. Poparad said he checked with the County, and the bridge, which sees between 2,900 and 3,100 cars a day, is at the top of the list for replacement. Poparad noted, however, that top of the list still means it will be out until October or November as the County goes through the bidding process.

Other Business

Council member Toni Biancardi suggested the Council begin tracking and approving all vendors the Town uses. Clerk-treasurer Jane Jordan was on board, saying it’s a good internal controls practice. The Council voted to begin an audit of current vendors, which will involve every department producing a spreadsheet of what vendors they use and for what purposes.

The Council unanimously passed a resolution to adopt a Title VI non-discrimination policy and implementation plan. Biancardi said such a policy guiding Town employees’ behavior must be in place for the Town to be eligible for certain federal grants.

Council President Nick Loving reported the farmer who has been planting on the recently-acquired 28-acre parcel adjoining the Food Truck Square site has expressed interest in leasing the land for another year. The Council has no objections since there are no plans to begin developing the parcel this growing season. The Council directed Patton to contact the farmer and finalize a contract.

Loving also announced that he sent a letter to the County Clerk saying Burns Harbor has no need to hold a primary election because there are not more than five candidates for either party running for Town Council. There will still be a polling location in Town due to the Duneland School Referendum question,


Posted 3/20/2019




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