Posts Tagged Bartlett Fire Protection District

House fire in Bartlett, 5-21-18

Photos and video from John Tulipano of a house fire in Bartlett 5-21-18

 

flames engulf suburban home

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Firefighters drag hose line at fire scene

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flames engulf suburban home

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flames engulf suburban home

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flames engulf suburban home

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Firefighters with hose line at house fire

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Firefighters with hose line at house fire

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Firefighters with hose line at house fire

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Firefighters with hose line at house fire

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Firefighters with hose line at house fire

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Firefighters with hose line at house fire

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Firefighters in tower ladder bucket

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Bartlett Fire Protection District news (more)

Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

Voters appeared to have backed a measure Tuesday allowing the Bartlett Fire Protection District to raise taxes and avoid service cuts. With 44 of 50 precincts reporting, the referendum had 4,010 “yes” votes, representing 66.2 percent of the unofficial total. The tax hike is estimated to increase the average homeowner’s annual payment to the district to $569 from $469.

A similar measure was voted down by fire district residents in April 2017. Unlike the buildup to that vote, the consequences of another failed request were spelled out in detail last summer before trustees opted to try once more at the polls.

Officials say the number of first responders firefighters per shift would have to be cut from 14 to 11, and one of the district’s three stations would be closed on a rotating basis throughout the year.

One of the biggest misunderstandings about the referendum was some residents’ false belief that the district was a department of the village of Bartlett, rather than the independent taxing body it is. In fact, fewer than 6 cents of a property owner’s tax dollar goes to the fire district. The proposal would raise that to only 7 cents.

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Bartlett Fire Protection District news (more)

Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

Among the greatest misunderstandings about the Bartlett Fire Protection District’s March 20 tax increase referendum is the lack of awareness that the district is independent from the village of Bartlett, Fire Chief Mike Falese said. That became clear over the course of 48 informational meetings about the referendum Falese attended in recent months.

It’s significant, Falese said, because voters could mistakenly believe the cash-strapped fire district is part of a village government with other options to raise revenue. Many who came to the informational meetings and coffees were surprised to learn the fire district takes only 6 cents of each of their property-tax dollars. The referendum asks to raise that to 7 cents. The average homeowner’s bill would go up about $100 per year.

Another related source of confusion, especially among village residents, is that the fire district also has jurisdiction over unincorporated areas just outside Bartlett. Residents of those unincorporated areas pay the same rate for the same service as elsewhere in the district.

One major difference between this year’s campaign and last year’s failed effort is that the consequences of voters rejecting the tax hike have been identified in advance. They include reducing the number of firefighters per shift from 14 to 11 and closing one of the district’s three stations on a rotating basis. Such a decrease in service, along with a probable increase in response times, could cause residents’ fire insurance premiums to increase.

The district’s informational campaign owes gratitude to the 200 volunteers making up Friends of Bartlett Fire, which arranged many sessions with homeowners associations and other groups.

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Bartlett Fire Protection District news (more)

Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

Bartlett Fire Protection District trustees Wednesday approved a March 20 referendum asking voters for a 21 percent increase to the district’s own property tax levy — expected to raise the average homeowner’s annual payment to the district from $469 to $569.

Officials expressed concern that voters would be confused by the 21 percent stated in the question, and not recognize it in the context of their overall tax bill. In fact, less than 6 cents of property owners’ tax bills go to the fire protection district and voter approval of the levy increase would increase that only to 7 cents.

The increase is aimed at keeping services at their current level and avoid specific staffing cuts Fire Chief Michael Falese recommended after voters rejected a similar request last April.

Falese said the district’s calls are increasing annually — up to about 4,000 per year — but its tax revenue has increased only 3 percent over the past eight years.

The requested tax increase was calculated to cost the average homeowner of the district less than $8.30 per month. Though Cook and DuPage counties calculate property taxes slightly differently, the impact estimate was based on the home values in the fire district as a whole, Falese said.

Last summer, the chief shared his recommendations with the trustees on how to keep services affordable if voters don’t allow the levy to be increased beyond the restrictions of the tax cap. They include reducing the number of firefighters per shift from 14 to 11 and closing one of the district’s three stations on a rotating basis throughout the year.

The three staff members per shift who would be cut are the one paid-on-premises firefighter and two private contractors who provide a lower-cost supplement to the 10 union employees and the battalion chief.

Because the district’s three engines and two ambulances require a specific number of people, the only way to reduce staff effectively is to take a whole vehicle out of operation — in this case, an engine.

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Working fire in the Bartlett FPD, 12/11/17

From the Bartlett FPD Facebook page:

12/11/17 Bartlett Box Alarm at 1760 Hilltop in unincorporated Elgin

Last night, Bartlett firefighters responded to Hilltop Road in unincorporated Elgin for a reported garage fire. Upon arrival, crews were met with a well-involved attached garage fire extending into the home. Due to the amount of fire, wind conditions, and lack of fire hydrants, a MABAS Box was activated to bring in additional manpower and equipment necessary to extinguish the fire

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firefighters silhouetted buy fire

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garage destroyed by fire

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firefighters with hose line at night fire scene

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firefighters with hose line at night fire scene

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firefighters with hose line at night fire scene

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firefighters with hose line at night fire scene

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firefighters with hose line at night fire scene

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Bartlett FPD fire engine drafting

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Bartlett FPD fire engine drafting

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Bartlett Fire Protection District news (more)

Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

Though Bartlett Fire Protection District trustees have already discussed the service cuts they’d make if voters reject a tax-hike proposal via a March 20 referendum, they have yet to decide the exact percentage of the requested increase. That decision is scheduled for their next meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 20, at the district’s headquarters, 234 N. Oak Ave. in Bartlett. They believe that’s when they’ll have the most up-to-date financial information ahead of the referendum filing deadline on Jan. 2.

Last April, 59.5 percent of voters rejected a requested 19.5 percent tax-levy increase.

While discussing the financial consequences of that vote during the summer, trustees said that not having detailed information on service cuts may have been a weakness of the information campaign for the referendum. And because the service cuts they said are necessary without a tax hike are so significant, the trustees opted to try one more time at the polls before implementing them.

Fire Chief Michael Falese told trustees the district’s core financial issue is its increasing volume of calls combined with its extremely low tax rate in comparison to other fire districts. Without a sufficient tax increase to maintain today’s level of service, Falese recommended reducing the number of responders firefighters per shift from 14 to 11.

The three per shift who would be cut are the one paid-on-premises firefighter and two private contractors who provide a lower-cost supplement to the 10 more experienced union employees and their battalion chief.

Because the district’s three engines and two ambulances require a specific number of people, the only way to reduce staffing effectively is to take a whole vehicle out of operation — in this case, an engine, Falese said.

As a result, the recommended cuts also would entail closing one of the district’s three stations on a rotating basis throughout the year.

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Bartlett Fire Protection District news

Excerpts from the Dailyherald.com:

A house fire early Saturday morning in Bartlett did an estimated $150,000 in damage, but no one was injured.

Fire and smoke were visible from the attic and second floor of a single-family home in the 200 block of Hill Avenue when firefighters arrived at about 3:30 a.m. Firefighters searched the smoke-charged building for trapped occupants, but no one was inside.

Firefighters had to open numerous walls and ceilings to ensure the fire was extinguished. The fire was declared under control at 4:15 a.m.

The building is uninhabitable. The cause remains under investigation by Bartlett Fire Protection District investigators, but the fire appears to have begun near a lower-level fireplace.

The fire was fought by 19 firefighters, staffing three engines, two ladder trucks, and two ambulances. Units from the Hanover Park and Bloomingdale Fire Departments assisted at the scene.

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Box Alarm in Streamwood, 6-27-27

Photos from John Tulipano of the Box Alarm fire in a townhouse at 3084 Lynwood Court in Streamwood (6/27/27)

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Bartlett Fire Protection District news

Excerpts from the Dailyherald.com:

While the village of Bartlett has approved a larger station for its police department, the separate Bartlett Fire Protection District will soon formulate a response to voters’ rejection of a tax hike intended to maintain services at their current level.

Fire district trustees have scheduled a workshop to discuss the financial and operational outlook for the agency at 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 27, at Fire Station 1, 234 N. Oak Ave. in Bartlett. Fire Chief Michael Falese is expected to present the board with options intended to reduce costs.

The district’s entire financial picture will be considered as various options — and their potential impacts on the public — are discussed.

Last month, 3,699 voters cast ballots against the proposed tax increase — 59.5 percent of the total. The district had asked for a 19.5 percent increase in its property tax levy at the end of 2017. Without voter approval, taxing bodies can increase their levies by 5 percent or the rate of inflation — whichever is less.

The proposed tax hike would have added $600,000 per year to the district’s reserves for unexpected contingencies, fill some vacant jobs to avoid current overtime issues, and allow for a third medical unit when the population warrants it.

The district’s revenue has increased only 1 percent from 2009 to 2017, while the number of calls has risen 16 percent, Falese said.

thanks Dan

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Bartlett Fire Protection District news (more)

Excerpts from the ChciagoTribune.com:

Bartlett Fire Protection District officials are hoping voters approve a referendum question for a tax increase April 4.

“We’re not asking to build another fire station or to hire more people,” Fire Chief Michael Falese said. “It’s to maintain our three fire stations and the current service level with run volume we have right now.”

Falese spoke to about 25 residents at a public meeting Monday night at Fire Station 1.

The fire district has been cutting corners for the past five years to the point that it can no longer sustain its service level without more revenue.

The proposed referendum will add $33 per $100,000 of assessed valuation to a home in the Cook County portion of Bartlett and $42 for those in the DuPage County part of the village. Officials confirmed Tuesday that the median home value in Bartlett is roughly $262,000, so the proposed annual tax increases for the average household would be $86 in Cook and $110 in DuPage.

The last time the fire district asked for a tax increase was more than a decade ago. Since then, overhead costs for supplies, equipment and fire apparatus have gone up, the population has increased by more than 25 percent and fire alarm costs have risen by at least 16 percent.

The fire district shared a document that enumerated 117 line items of financial efficiencies it has implemented, including searching for better prices, changing types of products and their methods of use, eliminating certain items, extending life spans of equipment, using resources from neighboring agencies, and numerous other cost-cutting measures concerning vehicles, facilities, and ambulance services.

“We’ve explored all our options,” Falese said. “Our water tanker truck has a rusted frame rail structure, but it’s still certified for use. We’re facing a $50,000 repair for a vehicle that’s worth about $27,000, and a replacement could cost $400,000.”

The Bartlett Fire Protection District serves about 52,000 residents and businesses, and 20 percent of its coverage territory lies outside village borders.

The district’s three fire stations are staffed by 45 full-time firefighter-paramedics, 15 part-time firefighter emergency medical technicians and six contract firefighter-paramedics.

Due to budgetary concerns, the assistant fire chief and one firefighter position are vacant. The fire district funding stands at $6.6 million from property taxes and $1.3 million from ambulance service reimbursement.

Fire district board president Jim McCarthy assured residents that the department was being a responsible steward of taxpayer money.

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