Excerpts from the journal-topics.com:

Officials from the Elk Grove Township Fire Protection District and Mount Prospect are working on an intergovernmental agreement outlining how the fire district would be compensated due to recent annexations by the village in unincorporated Elk Grove Township. More annexations are planned.

Financial compensation to the fire district is required by state statute. The village is looking at providing the fire district the same amount of money over a shorter period of time so it can remain sustainable without cutting fire staff and is also looking at setting up some type of long-term deal with the fire district so it can remain operational despite the lost tax revenue.

As part of any annexation, the village is required to pay the fire district a gradually-reduced percentage of property taxes which the district currently receives from the annexed properties over a five-year period starting with its full tax levy in year one, 80% in year two, 60% in year three, 40% in year four and 20% in year five.

According to Mount Prospect Village Manager Michael Cassady, the village is offering an accelerated agreement that would pay the district all of those funds for the properties annexed, plus properties that will be annexed, over a three-year period instead of five. The fire district recently responded with a drafted intergovernmental agreement requesting that money continue to be returned over the next 10 years. Also part of the draft agreement, the fire district states it would provide fire service for the next 10 years.

The village has concerns with a deal spanning a decade.

“We look at their financials and see structural deficit that will impair the ability to operate and we saw that structural deficit occurring even before we started annexing,”Cassady said.

Cassady said a three-year deal is a solid one since it allows for an adequate transition period. The village believes the fire district’s staffing will drop over that period of time.

The village is working on annexing a portion of the land owned by United Airlines in unincorporated Elk Grove Township, as well Birch Manor, a residential subdivision at the northwest corner of Linneman Road and Dempster Street. If a three-year agreement can be reached, Cassady said the fire district could contract with the village after that.

Fire district attorney Karl Ottosen said with the village’s annexation activities, the fire district, one year from now, will face serious financial problems to maintain the same level of service residents have grown accustom to.

“They (fire district) are losing almost 50% of their tax revenue,” Ottosen said. “We need to know who is going to provide fire protection and how it is going to be funded.”

Elk Grove Township Fire Protection District provides coverage for several industrial businesses in unincorporated Elk Grove, as well as mobile home parks along Elmhurst Road and Touhy Avenue.

If an agreement cannot be reached, Ottosen said the fire district would need to make significant reductions in levels of service.