Archive for September 14th, 2018

Knollwood Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from the

The Rockland Fire Protection District board has decided to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with Lake Forest and Libertyville to provide fire protection and emergency medical services to the district’s residents. On Aug. 31, the RFPD board voted 2-1 to move into the agreement.

Starting Oct. 1, Libertyville may be providing fire protection and emergency medical services to the northern of the half of the district which includes the unincorporated area of Knollwood and the Sanctuary housing complex in Lake Bluff and Lake Forest would be responsible for the southern portion of the district.

Currently Libertyville provides ambulance service to RFPD residents, but fire protection and emergency medical services are the responsibility of the Knollwood Fire Department.

Under the agreement, the RFPD would pay a total of $262,500 – split between Lake Forest and Libertyville – on a prorated, quarterly basis until April 30, 2019. From May 1, 2019 to April 30, 2020, the quarterly charge will be $450,000 – split between the two communities and then increases up to $496,000 for the next 12-month period.

For the rest of the agreement, which slated to run through September 2038, the annual increase would be tied into changes in the Consumer Price Index.

“Looking at it in terms of a long-term solution for providing services, I think it is a good choice at this time,” said RFPD board member Bob Grum said at the Aug. 31 meeting Dan Rogers, the RFPD president believes this deal is better for the approximately 1,700 residents within the RFPD. He said RFPD now spends $640,000 per year on the services.

However, RFPD board member Karl Snoblin dissented. “I find it unacceptable,” Snoblin said. “It binds the district to make set payments regardless of any other factors such as poor quality service, a decrease in the size of the district or declining district revenues.”

If the agreement goes into place, it could mean the end of the Knollwood Fire Department, a hybrid group of roughly 40 volunteers and paid-per-shift employees.

Jon Harlow, the Knollwood Fire Department chief, does not believe the service will be as good with the response teams coming from the two nearby larger municipalities. “There are numerous times when our department is backing up Lake Forest and Libertyville where we have been first in on incidents in their communities,” Harlow said. “This will have a domino effect: it will have an increase in response times with less personnel.”

The RFPD vote capped off a tumultuous few days that started on Aug. 21 when the RFPD board met at Lake Forest’s Gorton Community Center and, following approximately 2.5 hours of testimony, the board voted to table consideration of the plan. Then the issue was pushed back again until Aug. 31. In the meantime, a group of Knollwood residents known as the Friends of Knollwood Fire, which supports the Knollwood Fire Department, filed a lawsuit with the Lake County Circuit Court. After previously indicating they would withdraw the lawsuit, they now plan to proceed.

“We are looking at all laws pertaining to fire districts and fire service. Now that they have done something which is voting to approve that contract so we have very specific things to look for,” said Ed Whitehead, a Friends of Knollwood Fire spokesman.

Also needing to agree to the arrangement is the Libertyville Fire Protection District because of an existing relationship where Libertyville provides fire and ambulance service to that area. The LFPD includes portions of Mettawa, Green Oaks and other segments of Libertyville Township. It remains unclear when the LFPD would vote on the agreement. Officials with LFPD did not return calls seeking comment.

thanks Dennis

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Lisbon Seward Fire Protection District news

Excerpts from

Firefighters with the volunteer Lisbon-Seward Fire Protection District are pleading their case before their board of trustees to accept some donated equipment and vehicles as well as some additional training that they say will help retain volunteers and possibly grow their ranks.

The district covers approximately 65 square miles, including most of Lisbon Township and portions of Big Grove, Na-Au-Say, and Seward townships from two stations – one in Plattville and another in Lisbon – and two fire chiefs – Tim Wallace and Patrick Pope. The district is overseen by a three-member board of trustees – Jim Horton, Tom Fletcher and Scott Steffes.

Wallace and Pope, along with the fire department membership, presented a proposal to the board at the August meeting.

“In order for the department to move forward in a positive direction, the officers and firefighters of Company 1 and Company 2 are proposing the following to the board of trustees,” the proposal read. “1. declare Engines 225, 226, and 227 as surplus; 2. Upon making necessary repairs, Engine 220 will be placed in reserve status as the back-up engine for the district; 3. Accept a $20,000 donation from Company 1 and Company 2 towards an updated frontline rescue engine for Station 1 (Lisbon); 4. Accept the donation of a refurbished 55-foot snorkel with current pump test and aerial certification.”

The proposal continued, “The members feel that with the acceptance of the above, the district will be able to ensure the successful completion of the following objectives: 1. Replace aging equipment dating back to the 1960s; 2. Provide a higher level of service to those we volunteer to serve; Retain members; 4. Recruit new members; 5. Increase our level of training; 6. Restore morale.”

The board is expected to discuss the proposal at its next meeting, scheduled for next Tuesday, Sept. 18, at 7:30 p.m. at the Lisbon station at 104 S. Canal St.

Wallace said the proposal is trying to address the issue of aging vehicles and retaining volunteers on a department that, like so many across the country, are having a challenging time hanging on to members.”The volunteer fire department is changing, not just here but nationwide,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is overcome that and keep people’s interest. So we presented this proposal to the trustees so we can keep this district going, like it has been but in a better fashion, which is in the end going to be better for the residents and the firefighters.”

Wallace was a part-time firefighter for Bolingbrook for 20 years and then when that program ended, he joined Lisbon-Seward and has now been chief for the past eight years. Pope, works full-time at John Deere, and said his chief duties are done on lunch breaks and during the evenings and weekends. He has been with the department for 17 years and empathizes with the trustees trying to stay within budget, but says that the firefighters want the equipment to get the job done right.

The chiefs have been putting in the time to save taxpayers’ money, getting equipment donated and recently obtaining grant funds for their radio desk and day room at the Plattville station.  Wallace showed a four-wheel-drive rescue vehicle that he bought and donated which was outfitted using donated labor and equipment. He said the vehicle can be used for rescues in farm fields and other hard-to-reach areas, a plus when the district is composed of mostly rural properties. The vehicle is the third Wallace has donated to the department.

Horton rejected any suggestion that there were issues between the firefighters and chiefs, and the trustees. “We get a proposal every year,” he said. “We talk about things they’re gonna be needing. That is not an issue.” However, the part of the proposal involving the Snorkel that would allow firefighters to reach high places such as grain bins for rescue operations, was not something Horton was willing to discuss.

Wallace explained that he had bought the 1987 truck last year after the Orland Fire Protection District decided they were going to sell it. He said local departments were willing to equip the truck and Orland was going to donate training for the vehicle. Wallace said the vehicle would not have cost the taxpayers of the district one cent. But when the offer to donate the vehicle was brought to the board last August, they voted it down. Wallace hopes the board will again consider the donation of the vehicle.

Horton said the district’s firefighters have sufficient equipment and that maintenance and other costs, such as the payments on a 2016 engine that was recently purchased, add up in an annual budget that usually totals around $125,000. “I think they have sufficient stuff, yes,” he said. “We try and keep up. Just the maintenance anymore is a big deal. We spend quite a bit of money; everybody thinks we’re hoarding it.” He said the trustees have to think of the taxpayers as well as the firefighters.

The Lisbon-Seward tax rate is 24.22 cents per $100 of EAV, compared to Bristol-Kendall at 74.25 cents and Oswego at 73.77 cents. The Lisbon-Seward portion of the property tax bill on an average $200,000 home is around $161.46 without including any exemptions.

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Technical Rescue in Lansing, 9-11-18

This from Brad Steinweg:

Tuesday morning, a driver fell asleep at the wheel and slammed his semi into an apartment building in the 18400 block of S. Torrence AVE. Divisions 19, 24 & 27 responded with tech rescue teams. No fatalities, extrication of the driver took around an hour. 

-Brad S. 

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Knollwood Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from the

Libertyville and Lake Forest will absorb the Knollwood Fire Department and begin providing services within its jurisdiction Oct. 1. Knollwood is a 50-member all volunteer department serving an area of less than 1 square mile situated between Shields and Libertyville townships. It includes 668 homes, about 1,800 residents, and responds to about 535 emergency calls annually.

For the past two years, the three-person Rockland Fire Protection District board, which is the fire department’s governing and taxing body, has discussed other ways of providing service with neighboring departments.

“Basically, the Rockland Fire Protection District will become a paper district and they’ll contract their services with Libertyville and Lake Forest,” which will split the area geographically, according to Libertyville Fire Chief Rich Carani. Nothing will change in terms of manpower or equipment for Libertyville, but Lake Forest will be interviewing Knollwood firefighters for paid on premises positions.

On Tuesday, the Libertyville village board approved a 20-year intergovernmental pact for fire and EMS services to Knollwood. The village has been providing ambulance service since May 2015. Lake Forest approved the agreement Sept. 4 and the Libertyville Fire Protection District board did so on Monday. That district is party to the agreement because it owns the main station for response.

Last December, the communities tendered a joint proposal from Libertyville and Lake Forest. On Aug. 31, the Rockland board approved the agreement but asked the annual contract amount be revised from $472,537 to $450,000, which was done. The amount will be split by Lake Forest and Libertyville. It will increase to $496,000 on May 1, 2020. The Libertyville Fire Protection District will receive 22.5 percent of Libertyville’s share.

Rockland’s annual budget had been about $640,000.

thanks Dan and Keith

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