Elkhart board hears annual reports from departments

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE – It was a look back at the year that was for the Village Board Monday.

Trustees heard annual reports from the First Responders, the Fire Department and the Clerk/Administrator’s office during their regular meeting.

The board endorsed the request from the First Responders that the county continue the policy of dispatching an ambulance to any call to which the First Responders are sent.

Lisa Holzmann of the First Responders told the board’s Protection of Persons and Property Committee that the county is planning to stop sending ambulances on every call. She stressed that more often than not an ambulance is needed and having it dispatched immediately makes it more likely that victims could be saved or better treated.

“The county is requesting that the First Responders request an ambulance after they get to the scene,” and assess the situation, committee chair Steve Kapellen told his fellow trustees. “(The First Responders) would like to go with the old policy that the county dispatches an ambulance when the First Responders are called.”

Holzmann told the board that the First Responders currently have 18 members. They responded to 110 calls in 2012 – 72 in the village, 37 in the town of Rhine and one in the town of Russell. Of those calls, 81 were for medical events and 27 for accidents or other traumas.

“The biggest time of day, the hardest for coverage is daytime hours, because a lot of us work out of town, but fortunately, the Police Department does cover for us when necessary,” Holzmann told the board.

The Fire Department responded to a total of 57 calls in 2012, Fire Chief Pat Zorn reported. Those broke down to 25 in the village and 32 in the town of Rhine.

Adding in 13 mutual aid calls, the department answered 70 total calls, down from 74 in 2011, according to Zorn.

Department membership is currently 35, with 25 from the village and 10 from the town, Zorn said.

Assistant Clerk/Treasurer/Administrator Jessica Reilly reported for her office.

“This was a year of elections,” she summarized, noting that there were five different elections during the year. Voter turnout ranged from 34 percent for the August primary election to almost 90 percent for the November general election.

Room tax revenues set an all-time high in 2012 as well, she added.

A lease with Ecology Outfitters of Sheboygan for the Depot retail space was approved by the board.

The board authorized an additional allocation of $3,500 to complete installation of an emergency warning siren in the Lions Park area.

Trustee Richard Baumann, reporting for the Tourism Commission, presented copies of the 2013 Visitors Guide. He also said that the commission would be at the Chicago Auto Show in conjunction with Road America.

The board approved $5,000 in renovations to the entrance area to the Police Department.

Police Chief Michael Meeusen explained that the work would create a barrier including bulletproof glass and a pass-through window.

Meeusen also presented an ordinance that would expand the village’s drug ordinance to include illegal prescription drugs. “It’s becoming kind of huge in this area,” he said of people possessing prescription drugs that are not theirs.

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