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Appropriation to ease Gary EMS overtime woes

Updated: January 15, 2013 6:13AM



GARY — The city’s Emergency Medical Services Department should see a bit of relief to its overtime woes Tuesday when the Common Council considers an appropriation for it.

The Finance Committee at its Tuesday night meeting heard from Controller Celita Green that $162,244 is left in the city’s Welfare Excess Fund, a fund containing money given to the city by the state three years ago and allocated for the police, rire and EMS departments. Originally, only $15,000 of that fund was allocated to EMS for overtime.

The department spent $181,097 out of the fund, however, so the money will cover the majority of that debt. But even with that deposit, EMS still has more than $500,000 in unfunded overtime, some of which will be taken care of through its nonreverting fund, Green said.

The overtime issues could have been averted somewhat had the council voted to approve the Fire Department’s 2013 budget, which merged EMS and the Fire Department, said Councilman Ron Brewer, D-At-Large.

It didn’t because it didn’t approve of the reorganization the Fire Department proposed.

“Even during the powerpoint presentation (Fire Chief Teresa Everett gave), we didn’t understand that the budgets were merged — at least I didn’t,” Brewer said. “We’re going to have to go back and revote.”

The council will need to approve the budget, and then the Fire Commission will then need to approve the reorganization, corporate counsel Niquelle Allen said.

The committee will also consider an ordinance approving an additional $23 million appropriation for Gary/Chicago International Airport that will align its runway expansion expenditures with its budget. The airport has the money, but a state law that went into effect July 1 requires the council to approve it, Council President Kyle Allen said.

The $23 million is already included in the $166 million runway expansion project, Airport Finance Manager Carolyn Keith said.

In other business, the council will consider an addition $517,339 appropriation from a federal Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant the city received to cover expenses from the heating and air conditioning work conducted on the Genesis Center over the summer.

The Gary Common Council will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Council Chambers.



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