The Three Rivers Fire Department (TRFD) Ambulance Service was in the spotlight during the Lockport Township Board meeting Monday evening (April 9) as Fire Chief Dan Tomlinson presented information about the operation that serves residents of the city and surrounding townships.
Tomlinson’s visit was an outgrowth of Community Development Meeting (CDM) activity in recent months in which officials from the City of Three Rivers, the townships of Fabius, Lockport and Park, and the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners have met to explore ways to work together to provide public services.
Similar to what he has presented during recent CDM sessions, Tomlinson highlighted information about the ambulance service, including the Annual Report for calendar year 2011 and data regarding funding for the ambulance service. He also shared a draft Ambulance Services Agreement aimed at generating more financial support for the service and narrowing the rather substantial gap between what city residents pay for ambulance coverage compared to what is provided by township residents. Tomlinson said, “What we’re proposing is a three-year step-up in the per capita fee,” a reference to the subsidy paid by the townships to help support the ambulance service. The proposal calls for a $3 per capita increase each year for three years – beginning in April 2013 – after which the agreement would revert to an annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustment. User fee rates would also be modified. (Dan Tomlinson audio clip – 1:03)
Tomlinson said, “I will tell you with confidence that what we presented is conservative.” And he added, “Maybe what would be worthwhile is – because I’m doing this same presentation for all the townships – I think what needs to happen is we need to offer a workshop and invite all of the townships, anybody that wants to attend, because we did a ten-year financial analysis and it tells the story and I think you would be more comfortable with what’s been presented here tonight if you had those facts in front of you. It’s just not something that can be presented to you in 15 minutes or less.”
Township Treasurer Paul Bungart complimented Tomlinson, saying, “Good presentation” and Supervisor Ray Signorello said, “Thank you.”
In brief discussion that followed, Bungart said, “I can understand where they’re coming from. I also can understand that we want to keep it as easy on us as we can.” Signorello noted the budget process that will take place during the next two months and said, “That’s not a problem for the 2012-13 budget. We’ve got a number, as of this time. We could always just add in a little extra on the budget so we’ve got ourselves covered for 2012-13.
Tomlinson will be addressing the Fabius Township Board during its April meeting Wednesday evening (April 11) and the Park Township Board in May. Bungart asked about the workshop mentioned by Tomlinson and Tomlinson said he can check with Park officials to see if they would be willing to attend the workshop before his presentation to them in May “just to kind of get things rolling.”