Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

A motion to place a bond referendum question for the Pingree Grove & Countryside Fire District on the April election ballot — for what would have been the fourth time — failed after the board was deadlocked and the trustee who could have cast the deciding vote was absent.

One trustee attempted to attend the Thursday meeting via phone because he’s in a rehabilitation facility. On the phone, he repeatedly said he supported placing the referendum question on the ballot, but after about half an hour — and before the board took a vote — he had to go because he wasn’t feeling well.

The plan on the table Thursday, proposed by Fire Chief Mitch Crocetti, was to ask voters to borrow $7.5 million to replace two of the district’s three fire stations. The district also would have used $2.6 million in reserves and any proceeds from selling the old stations. Voters previously rejected requests to borrow $8.5 million in November 2018, March 2018 and April 2017.

The plan has been to sell Station 2 on Rippburger Road and Station 4 on Plank Road and build new stations on Highland Avenue just east of Coombs Road and on Dittman Road about one-third mile south of Plato Road. The land on Dittman Road was purchased last year.

However, last month an estimate showed higher-than-anticipated costs, with building and site work for the Dittman Road station up to at least $10.85 million according to a second opinion.

The chief consulted with officials from the South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District who told him that bids for two new fire stations planned in that district are coming in under $10 million.

Some speculated the higher cost could be because South Elgin has municipal water, not well water like Pingree Grove, or due to differences in proposed building height.

Another referendum question could go on the ballot no earlier than the spring 2020 election. The board rejected the chief’s proposal last year to obtain architectural plans before the referendum. He plans to pursue that again in order to narrow down precise costs.