Portage looks to buy new ambulance, garbage trucks
By John Robbins Post-Tribune correspondent December 10, 2012 5:16PM
Updated: January 12, 2013 6:16AM
PORTAGE — The city will realize significant health insurance cost savings in 2013, the Board of Works learned at its Monday meeting.
The board approved increasing the health insurance deductible per employee and dependent from $80,000 to $120,000. This action saves about $300,000 in insurance premium costs. Portage will pay $498,000 in premiums for 2013, down from $806,000 paid in 2012, according to Clerk-Treasurer Christopher Stidham.
Also. the street department received approval to request quotes for three automated solid waste trucks, one road crack sealing machine and one street striper. The fire department was authorized to seek a quote for a new ambulance.
Money to pay for the new equipment will come from the Cumulative Capital Development fund.
Randy Reeder, assistant street superintendent, estimates that fully automated garbage trucks will cost between $230,000 - $280,000 and will supplement a fleet of eight existing trucks. The ages of the existing fleet range from 1999 to 2006.
Fully automated garbage collection trucks will allow garbage pick-up using only one employee per truck. The city already has two fully automated trucks. Displaced employees will be retrained for use on the striper and crack-sealing machine.
“Everything we’re doing is to reduce costs, manpower we’re moving to other areas to give them a better quality of life and give them a skill. It’s something we’re excited about and they’re excited about,” said Mayor James Snyder after the meeting.
Portage has a fleet of four ambulances, the oldest is a reserve unit from 1999 and the newest purchased in 2011. The ambulance Fire Chief Tom Fieffer seeks to replace is a 2006 model that will be retained for use as a reserve.
The board also approved a new bridge employee policy. Employees who formerly worked for the city, left and later returned will be credited with the time of their prior service.