The Chesterton Fire
Department’s fleet currently has two engines: it’s go-to vehicle, the
workhorse, a 2000 model already 14 years old; and a back-up engine, a 1992
model, getting a little gray at 22 years old.
What the CFD
doesn’t have is an engine replacement plan, along the lines of the
dump-truck replacement plan which the Street Department does its best to
At its meeting
Monday night, the Town Council took a step in the direction of remedying
that lack, by voting 5-0 to authorize Fire Chief Mike Orlich to consult with
legal and prepare specs for a new engine, which would be the first one
acquired under a proposed seven-year plan.
How exactly to pay
for it--with an estimated price tag of $450,000--is, of course, the issue.
Township Board has committed to make the first two annual payments on a new
engine, up to $65,000 per year, Orlich told members. And, he suggested, in
the following years the annual payment which the township makes to the town
for fire protection service--an amount usually in the neighborhood of
$30,000 and customarily deposited straight into the General Fund--could be
applied instead to the engine, with the balance coming from Cumulative
Capital Development (CCD).
Member Nick Walding,
R-3rd, suggested that “it makes sense” for the CFD “actually to use the
Darnell, D-4th, advised caution, however, as shifting $30,000 every year
from the General Fund to the CFD could possibly impose a hardship on some
CCD, meanwhile, is
a fund with a dedicated property-tax rate used exclusively for the purchase
of emergency vehicles. But the CFD shares CCD moneys with the Chesterton
Police Department and some of those moneys are right now paying off the
therefore, that a great deal more financial data are needed before Orlich
gets the go-ahead to advertise for bids on a new engine.
support for an engine replacement plan, as Member Jim Ton, R-1st, put it,
“is a conceptual position subject to additional scrutiny.”
But Ton called
Orlich’s proposal “very proactive.”
Re: The Facade
In other business,
members voted 5-0 at Clerk-Treasurer Stephanie Kuziela’s recommendation to
declare a one-year moratorium on the town’s facade program, which makes
low-interest loans to businesses for the purpose of sprucing up storefronts.
Kuziela said that
the program, which hasn’t been updated since created in the 1980s, needs a
thorough-going face lift itself and an overhaul of the regulations.
Town Attorney Chuck
Lukmann noted that the amounts which businesses have taken to requesting are
“way out of line” with the original intent of the program, “which was a
$1,000 here and a $1,000 there.”
Cub Scout Pack 929
Ton took a moment
at the end of the meeting to thank Cub Scout Pack 929 for the great job
policing litter along South Calumet Road.
“Your work was
deeply appreciated,” Ton said.