Excerpts from patch.com:

The Clarendon Hills village manager expressed frustration Monday with members of the fire department in the continuing controversy over whether the village should buy a new ladder truck. For months, he has looked at the possibility of sharing a ladder truck with another town, mostly likely Hinsdale. As a result, he said, department employees, family members, and other interested residents have conducted a public relations campaign to convince the village board to end the debate and buy a new ladder truck. Meanwhile, the fire chief said he is not allowed to talk to media about the issue.

The expected price of a new truck has soared to $1.4 million, from $1 million and the current one is nearing the end of its useful life.

In a memo, the village manager listed seven communities with populations similar to the combined population of Hinsdale and Clarendon Hills. Each of them have one ladder truck, unlike the two in Hinsdale and Clarendon Hills. The other towns are Batavia, Glen Ellyn, Melrose Park, Oak Forest, Westmont, Wilmette, and Elmwood Park, plus there are 16 towns about the size of Clarendon Hills that a ladder truck including Calumet Park, Hillside, Princeton, River Forest, Riverside, and West Dundee.

La Grange, which is nearly double the size of Clarendon Hills, has been without a ladder truck for more than a decade. Last month, La Grange fought a fire in a three-story house with Hinsdale and Westmont providing ladder trucks. Usually, La Grange relies on the Pleasantview Fire Protection District for a ladder truck, but they weren’t available.

Last fall, Clarendon Hills officials met with La Grange’s fire chief to discuss operations, and learned that La Grange has seen no notable negative results being without a ladder truck and that they have an informal relationship with neighboring departments to provide support if needed. 

For this year’s budget, the village has earmarked $30,000 for a consultant to look at the issue of fire department vehicles.

Proponents of a new ladder truck say the village’s insurance rating would likely drop without one in town, increasing residents’ insurance premiums. At a Public Safety Committee meeting in November, the chief was concerned about the impact on the department’s staffing model if it were provided with inferior equipment.

A former village trustee in favor of a new ladder truck suggested the village eliminate the assistant village manager’s position and the $50,000-a-year contract with the local chamber of commerce.

Last fall, the Hinsdale village president their village board that the two towns have an intergovernmental agreement that calls for sharing fire personnel, equipment, and vehicles. He wondered whether Clarendon Hills needed to spend so much money on a ladder truck when Hinsdale had one.

thanks Scott