Nappanee City Hall

NAPPANEE — The Nappanee Board of Public Works and Safety approved the recommendation of Ambulance Billing Services to increase rates billed to insurance companies, but the matter will be put into ordinance form for the city council to approve before the increases would be put into effect.

Mayor Phil Jenkins told the board that the last rate increase was in 2012. The recommendation letter from Ambulance Billing Services stated that commercial insurance carriers were paying at higher rates than the city was currently charging. It also stated the increased fees would have no effect on Medicaid or Medicare recipients.

The new proposed rates approved by the Board of Works were a flat mileage rate of $16 (city currently charges $12); advanced life support ambulance non-emergency calls, $800; ALS emergency calls, $1,100; basic life support ambulance non-emergency calls, $600; BLS emergency, $750; ALS 2 emergency, $1,300; and specialty care transport, $1,800.

Mayor Jenkins said, “Nine years is a long time” since last increase.

EMS Chief Jim Sumpter said the city’s current rates are “quite low compared to the rest of the state” and added that the recommended rates were “not out of line.”

In other EMS news, Sumpter asked for and received permission for two people to ride along. He said both were older than 18 and have signed agreements.

The board also approved advertising an old ambulance for sale to the general public. Mayor Jenkins said they first offered the ambulance to both Elkhart County and Kosciusko County, according to state statutes, with no interest. The board authorized the mayor, clerk-treasurer, EMS chiefs and city attorney to create the advertisement with proposals due back May 20.

EMS Chief Recognized

Since this was Jim Sumpter’s last public meeting prior to his retirement this week, Mayor Jenkins presented him with a watch.

“I hope your time here was worthwhile,” Jenkins said. “You’ve been a great employee of the city for a long time. Thank you for your many years of service.”

Sumpter choked up as he thanked his chiefs, the board and his family, who were present. Sumpter also received an award from Michael Fort, EMS district manager for Indiana Department of Homeland Security, for his years of service to Elkhart County.

The mayor said, “In the interim until we determine the structure of EMS and Fire, Steve Heckathorn will be acting director of EMS.”

STREET DEPARTMENT

The board accepted a quote for a new leaf vacuum from Brown Equipment, Fort Wayne, for $72,190. Street Superintendent Brent Warren said he solicited three quotes, but only received one. He asked if that amount included a trade-in amount and as it was not immediately known, it was decided they could check that upon review of the quote. They approved taking the quote under advisement with plan to award at the next board of works meeting.

The board approved entering into a matching sidewalk replacement agreement with a property owner at 257 N. Elm St. Mayor Jenkins explained the city no longer has an official sidewalk replacement program as for several years there was little to no participation.

Jenkins said in the past few months they’ve had a few requests so they ask those people to solicit three quotes. This property owner did so and the lowest quote was from Concrete Impressions for $1,480 and the city’s portion is $740.

In other business, board members:

• Approved Memorial Day ceremony at 11 a.m. May 31 on the south lawn of City Hall and close Lincoln Street from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. There will be no parade this year, just the ceremony.

• Approved an alley closure request from Kountry Cabinet to close the alley from Locke Street halfway to Lake City Bank on May 8 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a tent sale.

• Approved several requests for excavation on public property for sewer repairs, NIPSCO and Mediacom.

Denise Fedorow is a columnist and correspondent for the Goshen News. Readers may contact her at fed1@bnin.net. Follow Denise on Twitter @DeniseFedorow

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