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Many residents found a letter on their mailbox a couple of days ago headlined “Save the Knollwood Fire Department.” Is the fire department really in danger? And can the petition the letter talks about really help?

The mission of Knollwood Neighbors is to keep residents informed of issues that may affect them, but not to tell people how to vote or what to support. In that spirit, we offer the following information.

The letter makes three main points, all of which are correct:

1. Currently the three Rockland Fire Protection District trustees are appointed by the Lake County Board President, not elected by the residents. We don’t have any direct say in who represents us. That can be changed by a legal process involving a petition followed by a referendum.

2. By a new state law, it is possible for the county board to dissolve the Rockland Fire Protection District, removing any local control over our fire services. We would still pay taxes for those services (at a rate to be determined by the county), but the county would outsource them to other departments.

3. If the Rockland Fire Protection District board were changed to an elected one, it would be exempt from that part of the law and the district could not be dissolved by an action of the county board.

The petition referred to in the letter would put a referendum on the ballot for April, in which voters would decide whether to change to an elected board. The petition requires signatures of 10% of the registered voters in the district.

The letter and the petition drive are the collaborative effort of a group of concerned residents.

thanks Dan