Chesterton Tribune

Tri-Towns consider idea of creating Duneland fire territory

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The Tri-Towns are currently in early discussions about the feasibility of establishing a fire territory covering Duneland.

So Chesterton Town Council Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th, revealed at the council’s meeting Monday night.

Within the last week, Fire Chief Mike Orlich told the Chesterton Tribune after the meeting, he, Porter Fire Chief Lewis Craig, Burns Harbor Fire Chief Bill Arney, and a representative from each of the Tri-Town councils met and agreed to obtain quotes on the cost of conducting a financial impact study of such a fire territory.

Indiana Code specifically provides for the establishment of fire territories, Orlich explained: essentially separate taxing units allowing municipalities and other governmental classes to provide fire protection to a designated area.

Fire territories “spread the cost out” of fire protection, Orlich said, and equalize the service for all residents in a particular territory.

Orlich emphasized that, should the Tri-Towns actually establish such a fire territory, folks “would not be double taxed,” because “each town’s budget would decrease by the amount of the territory tax.”

“In that respect, it would almost be a wash,” Orlich said.

What exactly a fire territory would look like in Duneland is unclear at the moment, but Orlich did say that a board would administer it with “equal representation of all partners and an equal say in budgeting and all other matters.”

Indiana Code does not actually specify the “organizational make-up” of fire territories except to mandate the designation of a so-called “provider unit,” which would “handle fiscal responsibilities” and pay the bills.

Orlich noted that a representative of Westchester Township was invited to the recent meeting but was unable to attend.

More from CFD

In other business, Orlich reminded folks that the CFD will be hosting its annual Fire Prevention Open House from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9 at the station. Chesterton Police officers will be on hand to fingerprint kids and the Porter County Emergency Management Agency will put its command vehicle on display.

Meanwhile, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, during which Chesterton firefighters will be wearing pink awareness tee-shirts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Orlich also announced that parents in need of child car seat installations or inspections should call the station at 926-7162 to make an appointment with any of the town’s four certified child car seat experts: two firefighters and two police officers.

And Engine 512 remains out of service until possibly the end of the week, Orlich said.

From the Streets

Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg announced that the Street Department will take applications from Oct. 1 through Oct. 8 for temporary help during the leaf pickup program later this fall.

On Schnadenberg’s recommendation, members voted 5-0 to authorize him to apply for an 80/20 grant—the town’s probable share around $3,750 in CEDIT moneys—to fund the second half of an ongoing tree inventory. A similar grant funded the first half.



Posted 9/29/2010