Chesterton Tribune



Superior Ambulance to pay town $1,000 monthly for quarters at CFD fire station

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For the fourth consecutive year, the Chesterton Town Council has extended--for another 12 months--its contract with Superior Ambulance Service.

This time, however, the contract extension includes new language.

As Associate Town Attorney Julie Paulson told the council at its meeting Tuesday night, the contract extension now includes a termination clause, under which either party may terminate the contract after giving 60 days’ notification.

Of somewhat more interest, however, under the new extension Superior will now pay the town $1,000 per month to offset the costs to the Fire Department of providing the company and its crews quarters and facilities at the fire station.

“I think its good we’re finally getting back some money now,” observed Member Jim Ton, R-1st.

Superior’s original three-year contract with the town expired in 2016. Under the terms of that contract, the privately owned Superior provides advanced life support EMS services to Chesterton residents at no public cost. The agreement requires Superior to operate an ALS ambulance, manned by certified two-person crews, from the CFD station house, on a 24/7/365 basis; to transport patients to the hospital of their choice; to accept Medicaid and Medicare on all claims for covered services; and to bill third-party payments at its usual and customary rates.

The contract also specifies that, in the event of Superior’s recovering gross receipts over a certain amount, it will split the surplus 50/50 with the town, “up to an amount equal to the percentage of the town’s budgeted expenses which are attributable to EMS.”

In point of fact, however, Fire Chief John Jarka has previously said that the town has not recouped the costs associated with EMS assists, as Superior has never hit the gross-receipts threshold.

Members voted unanimously on Monday to approve the contract extension, after voting unanimously to establish a non-reverting fund into which Superior’s monthly $1,000 payment will be deposited.

Fireworks Extravaganza

In other business, members voted unanimously to approve an expenditure of $2,500 in cash to support the annual fireworks extravaganza at the lakefront as well as an in-kind contribution of police and fire services for the event, also valued at $2,500.

Maura Durham, president of the Duneland Chamber of Commerce, requested the donation.

The fireworks will be held on Monday, July 1, with a rain date of Tuesday, July 2.

Blowback from Kmart Story

Meanwhile, Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th, took a moment at the end of the meeting to respond to comments made on social media about a story which ran in the Friday, May 24, edition of the Chesterton Tribune, which reported that Town Manager Bernie Doyle and Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann have been in quiet discussions with the owner of the old Kmart property and a possible new anchor tenant for the property.

Several people on Facebook took it amiss that the conversations have not been made public and that--as the rumor mill continues to churn--the town has not identified the possible anchor tenant.

“I don’t normally comment on the social media,” DeLaney said. But, he said, it’s important for folks to understand one thing. “Private enterprise is free enterprise. Landlords and tenants can do pretty much what they want as long as they follow ordinance. Due to the sensitivity of negotiations, we are not at liberty to say anything, despite a lot of speculation in the community.”

DeLaney added that the two parties approached the town for information, and that Doyle and Lukmann were happy to provide it, but that neither party is willing or prepared at this point to make a public announcement.

DeLaney encouraged folks to contact Doyle directly at 926-1098. Or better yet, he said, “Come to a meeting and ask your question. We’ll share what information we can. We’ll be as transparent as we can given the request of the developer.”


Posted 5/29/2019




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