CROWN POINT | A fire service contract that’s caused consternation between the Crown Point Fire Department and the Center Township Advisory Board was ironed out Saturday and is now in full effect.
The three-year fire service extension contract was signed in September 2011 to protect unincorporated areas of Crown Point that fall in Center Township. The amount the township pays to the city increased to $375,000 per year in 2012.
Center Township Trustee Eldon Strong said the contract called for the two new firetrucks purchased by Center Township taxpayers to be used as front-line equipment in Center Township fire calls, and only as secondary backup for the Crown Point Fire Department.
However, Center Township officials learned last fall that the Crown Point Fire Department has been using the new Center Township-purchased firetrucks as first-response equipment in the city for the past year, Strong said.
“Unincorporated Center Township residents paid for those trucks that cost $500,000,” he said. “There’s a matter of wear and tear on the equipment. They weren’t meant for day-to-day use.”
The Fire Department and township board on Saturday agreed to follow the contract as written.
The meeting was Strong's last as Center Township trustee.
Strong was chosen by Republican caucus to fill Rick Niemeyer’s 7th District seat on the Lake County Council. Niemeyer was elected state representative in November.
On Dec. 26, Strong tendered his resignation as township trustee to Lake County Clerk Mike Brown. A new township trustee to finish Strong’s term will be chosen at a future Republican caucus. In the interim, he has appointed Chief Deputy Tammy Hershman as interim Center Township trustee.
In other business, the Center Township Advisory Board:
• Amended the rainy day fund, which Strong said “wasn’t written correctly” in the past. Now Center Township can transfer up to 10 percent of its funding into the rainy day fund to provide township assistance.
• Adjusted the income guidelines and shelter assistance rates for 2013 for those seeking township assistance next year.
• Encumbered $2,672 in the township assistance fund to pay outstanding purchase orders for the year 2012 in 2013. This action is required by state law.