Peddler’s fee increased

Chrisman City Council also discusses Northern Edgar County Ambulance Service fate

CHRISMAN – It is now more expensive to peddle goods in Chrisman.

The city council amended the ordinance for engaging in door-to-door sales during the Monday, May 7, city meeting. The action followed an April 23 report by police chief Toby Krabel that residents were complaining about solicitors coming to their homes uninvited to sell goods.

As amended, the ordinance now sets the license fee at $500 for a year, $200 for a month and $100 for a day. The fee amounts apply to each vehicle or person engaged in the sales operation. 

Another change is restricting operating hours between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and prohibits approaching houses with a no solicitation or no peddler sign.

The commissioners also changed the fee for installing a water meter. The new cost is $750. It is a jump of $250 from the previous $500 fee.

Commissioner Rodney Wolfe briefed the other counsel members regarding a dilemma facing the Northern Edgar County Ambulance Service. He said the service started many years ago as a volunteer agency, and it was organized with each community and township contributing based on population.

What worked at one time is no longer viable.

“The level of care has gone up immensely,” said Wolfe. “All of the volunteers have gone away.”

Without volunteers, the ambulance service is faced with hiring people to staff the ambulance 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week. The population assessments charged when volunteers kept costs low are inadequate to hire full-time emergency medical technicians and paramedics.

Wolfe said the ambulance service collects about $200,000 every year on charges for calls, but operating a full-time staff pushes the annual cost to more than $400,000. Calculations show the annual assessments in the four figures charged to Chrisman, Metcalf, Hume along with Young America, Ross, Prairie, Brouilletts Creek, Edgar and Shiloh townships would jump to five figures for each jurisdiction.

The City of Chrisman’s level of support would go from a little more than $4,000 to more than $94,000.

“The city can’t do that,” said Wolfe

He added the current thinking among those involved with the ambulance is creating a special service area and assessing a tax as the best option for keeping an ambulance service in northern Edgar County. No firm decisions, Wolfe said, have been made about how to move forward.

“I hate thinking about a tax,” saidto Wolfe.

Commissioner Rick Jenness acknowledged people don’t like taxes, but if that is what is needed to keep an ambulance operating, it is better to have a special service area collecting the tax rather than each community taxing on behalf of the ambulance service. 

“People have a choice,” said Jenness. “Do they want an ambulance or not?”

It’s a big picture item for Commissioner Jerry Hoult. He said people may complain about a new tax, but they have to keep in mind the alternative.

“That ambulance is equipped like an emergency room on wheels,” said Hoult. “If somebody is seriously hurt and they need it, that tax isn’t going to seem that much.”

Krabel informed the counsel the hand-held radar unit used by the city police is out of service since replacement parts are unavailable

The Prairie Press

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