County Council Increases Ambulance Appropriation, Debates Park Access Road

Last night, the Dubois County Council gave its consensus to advertise for an increase in its original appropriation for the replacement of the county’s bariatric ambulance unit. The new unit, which the county originally appropriated 155,000 dollars towards the purchase of, is now expected to cost roughly 167,000 dollars.

County Council President Greg Kendall says the higher cost of the ambulance is tied to temperature control systems for medicine kept in the ambulance:

The council also gave a consensus to advertise an additional 15 thousand dollars for repairs to current ambulances in the fleet as repairs have been more costly than expected. Memorial Hospital ambulance services director Suzan Henke reported to the council that overall expenses are up roughly 9 percent and salaries and wages are up 10 percent due to the ongoing replacement of basic EMT’s. Henke told the council that the department is moving towards hiring more paramedics to replace some of the basic EMT personnel. Henke says there are currently not enough paramedics to cover some areas of Dubois County, thus facilitating the need for the new hires. Henke attributed some of the increase in salary and wages to 2 percent raises given to staff though directors’ salaries remained flat in a cost cutting measure.

Also last night, county park board president Jason Schmitt gave the council an update concerning the ongoing park access road project. The idea of a second access road for the park is something that has been thrown around for months amid concerns of emergency vehicles having difficulty entering the park in the event of an emergency during events such as the 4-H fair with just one access road, which currently enters the park off of State Road 162.The proposed road would cost the county $375,000 including the design cost and it would branch off of an unnamed gravel road west of the park to the east of County Road 50 East and just to the north of County Road 450 South.

The consensus opinion of the council pointed towards needing more answers before proceeding forward with the project. Kendall says it only makes sense to make sure that the current road is utilized in this project rather than build an emergency road right next to the current road:

The council also heard from Dan Collignon concerning upgrades to the handicap parking lot at the county fairgrounds as well as work for the bleachers. Collignon told the council that the county commissioners were hopeful that a bridge crew could be utilized for the project, which would involve pouring six inches of concrete on the currently gravel handicap parking lot at the fairgrounds. Collignon also threw out a preliminary figure of 100 thousand dollars just to repair the current wooden bleachers at the fairgrounds. The council asked Collignon to come to a future council meeting after doing more research on other options for the bleacher work.

Other highlights from last night’s meeting included the approval of another court reporter to help with the workload in the county courthouse and a consensus to advertise for a total of roughly 45 thousand dollars in appropriations for the sheriff’s department to cover expenses through year’s end, including fuel, repair and maintenence costs, and money set aside for the new jail employee set to start on September 1st.