An article in the Des Plaines Valley News

Unless the vote changes at the official canvass, which McCook Mayor Jeff Tobolski said was unlikely, residents of the village rejected a plan to disband the fire department and join a fire protection district

The proposal ended in a 56-56 tie after the March 18 referendum. Ties between candidates are decided by a coin toss, but ballot questions must be approved by at least a single vote. 

“If the numbers don’t change, and I don’t see any reason that they should, the referendum is defeated,” Tobolski said after last week’s election. “My job now is to mend fences and go back to the bargaining table with the firefighters,” he said. “We put forth a public question and the town said it wanted to keep a fire department.”

Tobolski said talks would resume with the firefighters union over a new contract. Tobolski said the issues he cited before the referendum are still in play. McCook firefighters are not trained paramedics and cannot offer advanced life-saving treatment and the department is a huge cost to maintain.

“We still have a million dollars worth of payroll,” he said. 

Tobolski said there were other ways to outsource fire services, such as an intergovernmental agreement with a fire protection district, but he was not yet ready to go that route. “The voters said they did not want to join a fire protection district,” he said. “We’ll try to reach a fair contract with the firefighters.”

Turnout at last week’s referendum far outpaced the rest of the county at 64.2 percent, according to the Cook County Clerk’s office, with 113 of the town’s 176 registered voters heading to the polls. Countywide, turnout was about 15 percent.

Thanks Dan