Posts Tagged Palatine Rural Fire Protection District

Fire Department Ice Rescue Training

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Fire Service News

Excerpts from ilnews.org:

With the state’s deficit spending on autopilot because of the 21-month-long budget standoff in Springfield, Illinois’ backlog of bills is climbing toward $13 billion.

Some local governments have taken steps to work together to create efficiencies, resulting in savings to taxpayers.

Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti recently identified the shared fire protection services in Rolling Meadows and Palatine as an example of local taxing bodies doing it right.

“Eliminating duplication, sharing of services, and consolidating entire governmental bodies should be considered at all levels of government from the bottom to the top,” Sanguinetti said. “You share personnel, you share equipment, you share expertise, and that translates into savings. It’s a win-win situation.”

The city of Rolling Meadows, the Village of Palatine, and the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District are doing exactly that with their intergovernmental agreement to operate as a single entity, according to the Rolling Meadows Fire Chief Scott Franzgrote.

“We’ve been working on this project that we call RPM, which stands for Rural Palatine Meadows, for about five years now,” Franzgrote said. “Our guiding principles are to leverage our combined resources to provide better service to our combined communities, to provide a safer work environment for the firefighters in our three jurisdictions, and to see if there are ways that we can do better for the taxpayers by finding efficiencies within our operations.”

One of the ways the three departments have streamlined operations is by changing the way their personnel train on the job.

“Everyone is now trained the same way,” Palatine Mayor Jim Schwantz said. “With the equipment, Rolling Meadows might use one type of saw to cut through a roof in a fire, whereas Palatine uses a different one, so now we are purchasing all the same equipment and we are all trained on the same equipment so there are no missteps on the scene. A Palatine fireman can now go to a rural rig and be able to know exactly where the equipment is.”

Each department also champions different specialized services to eliminate duplication.

“Rolling Meadows is where the hazmat team is,” Schwantz said. “In Palatine, we house the dive team. We pay a stipend to Rolling Meadows as does Rural to handle, train, and equip their hazmat team. The same is true with Rolling Meadows and Rural towards Palatine with the dive team.”

While creating efficiencies and improving services were the driving force behind the arrangement, it also has resulted in cost savings.

“In 2016, we were scheduled to replace a technical rescue van that we’ve had since the 1970s and, because of this effort we are working together here, we were able to downsize the purchase,” Franzgrote said. “It was going to be a medium duty rescue squad for the City of Rolling Meadows, which was going to cost about $300,000, but we were able to reduce that to a light-duty squad and we probably saved around $125,000.”

And while the local governments haven’t quantified the total savings, they offered other examples of how they have reduced costs.

“Rolling Meadows and Rural, they each make a payment to Palatine to provide the dive rescue. So we make roughly $25,000 a year in revenue and for those communities, it’s far cheaper to pay us than to try and staff their own dive and rescue program,” Palatine Village Manager Reid Otteson said. “For us, it’s a revenue enhancement, which means I don’t have to go levy $25,000 more in property taxes.”

thanks Dan

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Rolling Meadows FD creates new position

Excerpts from the Daily Herald:

Rolling Meadows on Tuesday created a new position of fire marshal, but officials said it would not cost the city any additional money.

The move is one to clean up city codes and put an actual person in charge of fire code enforcement, a job that has previously fallen to the fire chief, said Chief Scott Franzgrote.

City Manager Barry Krumstock said the move — which allows him to appoint a fire marshal, won’t result in any new personnel. Likely an employee who is shared by the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District and the Rolling Meadows Fire Department will be moved into the role.

There is no intention to provide additional salary for the position, Krumstock said. According to the ordinance that was passed on Tuesday, any salary associated with the position would require city council approval via resolution.

The fire marshal will be in charge of fire code enforcement and other fire prevention bureau duties and will work with homeowners making changes to their residences as well as businesses in the city to ensure they are meeting fire codes.

Previously the codes referenced a fire marshal, but Rolling Meadows didn’t have anyone in such a position, Franzgrote said.

“This is going to allow us to expand our resource-sharing agreements with the Palatine Fire Department and the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District,” Franzgrote said. “This also helps the business community have an easily identifiable contact to reach out to with any questions.”

thanks Dan

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Palatine Rural FPD wins tax hike

The Daily Herald has an article about the palatine Rural FPD tax referendum:

Palatine-area voters approved a 0.05 percent tax hike for the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District Tuesday night, a measure voters previously rejected in the spring.

With 19 out of 21 precincts reporting, unofficial election totals show 58.4 percent of voters said they were in favor of increasing property taxes for the district.

The tax increase is expected to raise about $200,000 to pay for district operations. If the early results hold up, property owners will pay about $50 more in taxes for every $100,000 in equalized assessed value.

Fire Chief Hank Clemmensen said the increase will help with some of the costs of providing rescue services, including equipment, some salaries and incentives for rescue teams. The first time the district sought the increase, the measure fell short by less than 100 votes.

It was the second time in the past 10 years the district has gotten a tax increase approved. In 2005, voters approved an increase in the corporate rate. That referendum took six tries. “It’s difficult times. Nobody wants to pay a tax increase,” Clemmensen said. “Nobody likes to go out and ask for money.

Now, he said, the district can balance its budget and pay for the services it provides.

Clemmensen noted that the district’s equalized assessed value has dropped by 34 percent over the past five years. Most of that loss, he said, has come out of the district’s operating fund.

The district covers 17 square miles, including parts of Inverness and unincorporated Palatine Township.

 

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Fire departments share resources

Microsoft Word - RPM_Press_Release_June_2014_1_1.docx

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3-Alarm fire in Wauconda 5-10-14

This from Sam Borica:

Here’s some apparatus shots at the Port Barrington structure fire at 139 Eastwood Ave. It went to a box alarm then upgraded to 2nd alarm for tenders only on Box #34-B2.
Thanks, Sam Borcia
Algonquin-Lake in the Hills fire engine

Sam Borica photo

Barrington Countryside FPD water tanker

Sam Borica photo

Lake Zurich fire engine at fire scene

Sam Borica photo

Greater Round Lake FPD water tanker

Sam Borica photo

Palatine Rural FPD water tanker

Sam Borica photo

firemen at fire scene with fire trucks

Sam Borica photo

Fox River Grove FD water tanker

Sam Borica photo

A fire left a Port Barrington home with about $150,000 in damage Saturday afternoon, authorities said. A neighbor reported the blaze in the two-story home on the 100 block of Eastwood Avenue, the Wauconda Fire District said in a news release.

There are no fire hydrants in the rural area. Water had to [be] carried on tenders to help extinguish the flames.  The fire was brought under control within 45 minutes, the release stated. No injuries were reported. Investigators continue to probe the cause.

Units from a dozen departments responded, including Lake Zurich, McHenry, Barrington, Palatine, and Fox Lake.

thanks Dan

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Palatine Rural FPD to sell ad space on apparatus

The Daily Herald has an article about a new revenue source for the Palatine Rural FPD:

[The Palatine Rural Fire Protection District] is about to become what it believes is the first fire service in Illinois to sell advertising space on trucks and ambulances … last week [they] lost a bid for a tax hike, the revenue the ads will bring is badly needed at a time when calls are increasing and property tax income is falling.

“We’re kind of in a desperate situation here,” Chief Hank Clemmensen said. “The money we get from these ads will be critical to our operation, unfortunately.” Clemmensen said the ads, which he pledges will be tasteful, will go on the sides near the rear of the Inverness-based district’s only fire truck and on the back of the district’s lone ambulance. “It’s not going to look like a race car,” he said, adding that he will have final approval on the ads.

The district is working to sell ad space through Arizona-based Public Safety Advertising, which was founded by a firefighter looking to help struggling fire departments boost revenues without having to further burden their taxpayers.

Clemmensen said he has been thinking about putting ads on his vehicles for some time as he’s watched district revenues fall but didn’t know how to get started. The district, he said, lost $300,000 alone from 2012 to 2013, a 9 percent decline.

Last Tuesday, voters rejected the proposed tax hike that would have increased revenues by $200,000. A little more than 1,100 of the district’s nearly 20,000 registered voters cast ballots on the referendum, with about 54 percent voting no.

Clemmensen said even if the tax increase had passed, he would have gone ahead with the advertising plan, which was approved unanimously by the district’s board March 10. Now the money is even more desperately needed than before, he added.

The chief said Public Safety Advertising estimated his district would get between $20,000 and $25,000 per year from the ads.

 thanks Dan

 

Other articles about fire departments selling ad space around the country :

NYTimes

ABC15Arizona

AZfamily.com

MyFoxPhoenix.com

Apache Junction FPD

ABC2Baltimore

Callthecops.net

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Palatine Rural FPD tax hike does not pass

The Palataine Rural FPD went to voters for a tax hike that was not approved. The Daily Herald has this in an article.

A proposed property tax increase for the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District failed Tuesday by a vote of 611 to 517, with only slightly more than 6 percent of registered voters in the district casting ballots. Despite voters rejecting the measure, the closeness of the vote cheered Fire Chief Hank Clemmensen.

Fire district officials asked for the increase to meet expenses in the face of declining property values. In the light of the vote, a firefighter who was injured and expected to take a pension in a few months will not be replaced, Clemmensen said. Currently the department has five firefighters on duty at all times, and that could decrease to four, he added.

Calls for help from firefighter/paramedics have gone up while the district’s tax revenue dropped $300,000, or about 9 percent in one year, according to district officials. The district received about $3.33 million in property taxes last year, and almost no income from any other source.

Clemmensen said officials will investigate other revenue opportunities, such as renting district property for a cellular communications tower. They also will continue to work on opportunities to share resources with neighboring departments.

The tax hike would have given the district additional revenue of about $200,000 a year. The increase would cost homeowners about $50 for each $100,000 in assessed value of their properties. The most recent assessed valuation in the district was $409 million, down from $445 million the previous year.

The district covers 17 square miles, including the eastern two-thirds of Inverness and unincorporated areas of Palatine Township.

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Palatine Rural FPD wants tax hike

The Daily Herald has an article about a tax increase request from the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District.

The head of the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District said a drop in local property values is the reason the district is asking for a .05 percent tax hike on the ballot March 18.

Chief Hank Clemmensen said the fire district’s financial situation is grim. “Last year we lost $300,000 in tax revenue from the previous year,” Clemmensen said. He said the district only took in $3.33 million from taxes, meaning the lost revenue was around 9 percent.

Clemmensen said almost all of the fire district’s income is from property taxes. He said the assessed valuation of the fire district dropped 8.1 percent, from $445 million in 2011 to $409 million in 2012. If property values stay at around $400 million, the tax hike would net the district $200,000 more per year, which Clemmensen said will be used to keep the district operating.

Should the initiative fail, the chief said they will likely be unable to maintain their current staffing levels, meaning fewer firefighters going out on fire calls. He said currently the district has five firefighters on duty at all times so three people can operate the fire engine and the other two can drive either the ambulance or the 3,000-gallon water tender truck, depending on the call.

Clemmensen said the district’s policy is if two firefighters enter a burning building for a search or rescue there must be two firefighters standing by outside. He said if the tax hike fails, firefighters who leave will not be replaced, and the district may have only four on-duty firefighters at one time.

“In the old days when a fire department lost money it was because people left the community, so calls for service went down,” Clemmensen said. “But my calls have gone up.” The chief said the district still has approximately 17,000 people in about 17 square miles, an area that includes two thirds of Inverness and most of the unincorporated area in Palatine Township.

If the tax hike passes, a homeowner whose property has a $100,000 assessed value would pay an additional $50 in taxes to the fire district.

Another financial consideration is that the district’s 19 firefighters are scheduled to have 2 percent salary hikes in 2013 and 2014. Negotiations for the next labor contract will begin in the fall. The chief said the last time the fire district asked taxpayers for additional funding was in 2005 when voters approved a 0.1 percent tax increase. He said they wouldn’t be asking again if it wasn’t necessary. 

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Fire Department Ice Rescue Training

 

fire department ice rescue training

fire department ice rescue training

Palatine Fire Department photo

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