Archive for November 8th, 2018

Evanston Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from the

Evanston aldermen signaled on Monday that they will not approve a proposal to eliminate nine firefighter positions and close and sell one of the city’s five fire stations in an effort to balance the 2019 budget. Aldermen said they see the importance of not reducing the fire department.

However, they did ask Fire Chief Brian Scott to think long-term about how the department could reduce costs, as city coffers are not expected to increase significantly anytime soon. The fire department expenses make up 22 percent of the Evanston budget’s general fund.

The fire department responded to 90 fires in 2017. About 65 percent of calls for service required a paramedic response. Almost all of Evanston’s firefighters are trained as paramedics, and all fire engines are ALS equipped. About 45 percent of calls occurred at the same time as another call in town, so engines regularly shuffle around the city to make sure all neighborhoods are covered in case of an emergency.

Since the early 1980s, “the department has lost staffing by 10 percent, call volume continues to increase and firefighters are asked to do more and more with the same amount of resources or even less,” Scott said.

Many of the calls for medical help come from repeat patients who don’t have insurance and depend on paramedics for care. The department is working with Presence St. Francis Hospital in Evanston to identify those people and get them into programs that could help them. Ideally that would ease the demand on the department and save taxpayers money.

The city council discussion comes as Evanston expects to face a $7.4 million deficit in the proposed $110 million spending plan for 2019. The anticipated shortfall comes from a $4.9 million shortage in the general fund, $1 million for bond payments for construction of the new Robert Crown Community Center and $1.5 million needed in the reserve fund, according to the budget proposal.

The reserve fund, which ideally should have 16.6 percent of the city’s annual operating expenses, ended 2017 at 12.8 percent. Aldermen are expected to vote on the 2019 budget later this month. The city’s new fiscal and budget year starts Jan. 1.

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Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District news (more)

Excerpts from the

The Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District’s request for a property tax increase has failed yet again. Voters have a history of denying the district’s attempts to bring in more cash, and Tuesday’s election was no different. A binding referendum question seeking a 60 percent tax rate increase was denied in a 4,695 to 4,353 vote, according to unofficial tallies. The measure was a do-over from the March election, when the tax increase was rejected by a roughly 30-vote margin.

The cash-strapped district was hoping to use the additional $1 million or more per year to replace aging equipment, make crucial vehicle repairs, and bring staffing up to safer levels.  The board already has cut several firefighter positions in the past two years, including three part-time posts in the spring. The reduced staffing levels have forced the district to occasionally brown-out one of its two stations.

Fire officials for years have been debating how best to serve the district’s 25,000 residents while operating on what they say is insufficient funding. In the past, they’ve even contemplated outsourcing services or dissolving the district.

The referendum question on Tuesday’s ballot asked to raise the district’s tax rate from 27 cents to 43 cents per $100 of equalized assessed value. 

thanks Dan

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Pingree Grove & Countryside Fire District news

Excerpts from the

For the third consecutive time voters rejected a request from the Pingree Grove & Countryside Fire District to approve borrowing $8.5 million to replace two of its three fire stations. Voters cast 2,910 no votes and 2,519 yes votes with all precincts reporting Tuesday, according to unofficial results.

The locations for the stations would have yielded better response times, particularly as the district grows, Fire Chief Mitch Crocetti said.

The district had already purchased land on Dittman Road to build one of the stations.

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Crete Fire Department history

This from Mike Summa for #TBT:

TBT-Crete Fire Dept.’s #702, a 1970’s IHC/Pierce ( unknown specs.)  I found this interesting because it was not built on a Dodge chassis.
Mike Summa
Crete FD vintage fire truck

Mike Summa photo

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Union Fire Department Fundraiser

Union Fire Department Fundraiser