Posts Tagged Peoria FIre Department

Peoria Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from centralillinoisproud,com:

Tuesday night Peoria city leaders approved a new proposal that does make cuts to the fire department, but not the cuts some feared. Previously it was a possibility that 22 firefighters could be laid off, but a new proposal wouldn’t require any layoffs. 

Firefighters retiring will not be replaced, but the plan will avoid having to layoff any firefighters. Two rescue squads are being taken out of service. Equipment from the rescue squads will not be transferred to fire trucks. 

The city agreed on moving around TIF dollars and shutting down the Northside Riverfront TIF. Another change was the logistics of the Public Safety Pension Fee. The new proposed structure of the fee will be the following:

  • $15 for parcels with no structure erected on the property.
  • $50 for parcels 5,000 square feet or smaller.
  • $250 for parcels over 5,000 square feet but less than 10,000
  • $300 for parcel over 10,000 square feet

For the next 5 years this parcel fee will increase yearly $5 dollars for the property owners paying $50, and increase $50 per year for those paying $250. 

While this will help the budget, there are still a number of other avenues the council must vote on before the entire $6 million-dollar gap is full.

 

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Peoria Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from the pjstar.com:

The Peoria City Council voted 8-3 Tuesday to approve eliminating 22 firefighter and 16 police positions as part of a move to close a $6 million budget hole. Additionally, reductions were made in the city’s community development department. For weeks, council members have been struggling with ways to close the shortfall in the 2019 budget that has to be approved by the end of December. The personnel cuts would result in a $3 million savings. Additional revenue sources will need to be approved in the next few weeks.

The cuts don’t mean 22 firefighters will be laid off but vacancies that are currently open will not be filled within the departments. The actual number could vary depending on how many employees elect to take advantage of retirement incentives for those with 20 years of service or more.

While not taking any direct action on implementing new revenue streams for the city, council members approved the first reading of a public safety pension fee by a 9-2 vote. That fee, if formally approved, would impose a $50 fee on every parcel of land in Peoria with a structure. Parcels over 5,000 square feet would pay $300 annually. The money from the fee would not go into the general fund but go directly toward paying off pension payments for the city’s fire and police employees.

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Peoria Fire Department news

Excerpts from the pjstar.com:

After many comments, complaints, and dire warnings, members of the Peoria City Council voted 7-4 in a non-binding, advisory vote that approved the cuts to the police and fire departments as city hall tries to claw its way out of a $6 million budget shortfall.

During the four plus hour-long special meeting, council members spent hours discussing and debating ways to plug holes without crippling day to day operations. Cutting 22 firefighter positions and taking $1.1 million out of the police budget would have a definite impact, said the chiefs of both departments.

Fire Chief Ed Olehy said that adjustments that have been proposed would place Peoria’s fire department at its lowest staff in 30 years and mean longer response times for citizens in the southern valley, downtown, and the Bradley University area. He said that computer studies indicate a two-minute difference in travel time without Engine 2. Fire safety and educational programs will be reduced and insurance costs are likely to increase if the cuts are approved.

Interim Police Chief Loren Marion III said a police force that currently has 212 employees would have 205 at the end of the year. Fewer tickets will be issued, fewer seizures of drugs and contraband, and a longer wait for officers to reach an accident site would result.

That 7-4 vote wasn’t the final vote and there are several hours of discussion and debate left before the final vote occurs later this year. Still, the vote did signal where some stood.

Revenue recommendations that were previously approved in an advisory vote included a public safety pension fee that would place a $50 fee on property owners of under 5,000 square feet and $300 for properties of over 5,000 square feet. That measure, if formally approved, would raise an estimated $2.2 million. A 2 percent package liquor tax would raise $700,000 and EMS billing by the fire department would raise an estimated $200,000.

The city manager said that the city has been cutting other departments in recent years and sparing public safety positions. “We can no longer afford to do that. Public safety costs (police and fire pensions) are growing faster than anything else in the budget,” he said.

thanks Dennis

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Peoria Fire Department news

Excerpts from pjstar.com:

The continued dwindling of tax revenue flowing into city coffers has prompted the Peoria city manager to put together a budget proposal that raises revenue through increased taxes and fees while lowering costs through cuts to close a projected $6 million deficit in the 2019 budget. Among those cuts currently under consideration are two fire trucks and 22 firefighters — a $2.2 million reduction in the Peoria Fire Department budget.

The department cut $1.1 million this year, including the elimination of some unfilled positions. If the proposed 2019 cuts pass, the result would be a 15 percent decline in manpower at the Peoria Fire Department during the past two years. Two classes of new firefighters hired and trained in 2018, under a plan to help diversify the department, would be laid off if the proposed cuts go through. The call load for firefighters has tripled and the variety of their training and responsibilities has significantly expanded in the last few decades, while the personnel at the Peoria Fire Department has remained relatively flat.

According to the president of the local firefighters union, Ryan Brady, lives will be at risk if budgets get balanced on the backs of his members.

“Fire doubles in size with every minute that goes by,” Brady said. “If you couple fire doubling in size with longer response times and less resources to respond, undoubtedly, you are putting citizens and firefighters at a greater risk and increasing property losses and injury.”

The Peoria Police Department, which has lost more than 50 officer positions over a span of time in which firefighters lost none, also faces cuts under the 2019 proposal, though the additional police losses appear to be covered by attrition.

Both departments, which represent the largest share of wages and pension payments covered by the city, are comparably staffed at about 200 employees apiece.

City officials often point to pension obligations as the top drain on city resources and an area in need of urgent reform. Brady, however, countered the city’s public safety pension costs are so high because of how long the accounts were underfunded.

“Approximately 25 years ago, the Peoria fire pension fund was effectively 90-plus percent funded,” Brady said. “However, due to the misappropriation of funding or lack of funding by previous mayors, city managers and councils, we are faced with dealing with the situation present day.”

A special meeting to discuss budget proposals is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at City Hall. 

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Peoria Fire Department news

Excerpts from week.com:

The Peoria Fire Department is joining the fight against human sex trafficking in Central Illinois through new training. The Center for Prevention of Abuse in Peoria reports 80% of sex trafficking survivors in the Land of Lincoln are from Central Illinois, not Chicago. 

“The goal of this training is to help our firefighters recognize the signs of someone who may be a victim of sex trafficking.” explained Peoria Fire Chief Tony Ardis. Between paramedics, EMTs, and firefighters, his people go into hundreds of houses each day. He hopes this new training will allow them to recognize those signs and ensure people feel safe and protected. 

Joyce DeRenzy, Associate Executive Director, for the Peoria CPA outlines alarming statistics. “Since January, we’ve seen about 30 and those numbers are really high, but when we think about the number who aren’t reported, it’s really just the tip of the iceberg. Some of the indicators would be ‘does a person have freedom of movement?…Who’s in possession of their documents?” The signs are subtle, but training bridges the gap between them being ignored or mistaken.

Ardis highlighted how crucial it is that his department be trained to have multiple skill sets; that way they’re constantly meeting the needs of local families, at all levels. “Whether it’s recognizing signs of domestic violence or whether it’s sex trafficking, it is imperative that we’re trained in every aspect in the issues that we may face.”

The Center says the survivors they’re seeing here at home, range from the tender age of 12, all the way to age 62.

The Peoria Fire Dept’s training goes from September 23rd-26th at the Central Fire House. Center for Prevention of Abuse also hosts training session for community groups. For more information on how you can spot a potential victim of human trafficking, please visit their Facebook Page 

If you or someone you know may be at risk or vulnerable to human sex trafficking, please call 1-888-373-7888 for the National Human Trafficking Hotline. 

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Peoria Fire Department news

Excerpts from the pjstar.com:

City Hall and the union that represents Peoria firefighters are at odds over an ordinance that could change the way public safety employees are compensated after an injury.

At the crux of a lawsuit filed this week in Peoria County Circuit Court by the International Association of Firefighters Local 50 is the definition of a catastrophic injury. The city, in a June 12 ordinance, sought to define the term to cut down on abuse, according to a document issued to the council.

“While the General Assembly did not define ‘catastrophic injury’ in the legislation, they do allow cities to establish a procedure for reviewing these types of claims and providing some definition to catastrophic injury,” said City Manager Patrick Urich.“This ordinance provides that procedure for Peoria. The city believes catastrophic injury means being severely injured to the point of never being able to work again, in any field.”

The union, however, doesn’t see it that way and believes the city’s action is unlawful and blatantly wrong.

“The issue is, what the city of Peoria is doing is against the law. Every citizen should be concerned when a municipality decides they are going to ignore the rule of law and create their own law,”  said the union’s attorney, Jerry Marzullo.

Under the Illinois Public Safety Employees Benefit Act, a firefighter or a police officer who is injured so severely that they can’t continue could have a change in their benefits if they are awarded a line of duty disability benefit from a pension board. Such a benefit covers health care costs and other issues. 

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Peoria Fire Department news

Excerpts from the pjstar.com:

The quarterly financial report at Tuesday’s Peoria City Council meeting turned into a call for further cuts at city hall. City Manager Patrick Urich told council members that the city was in danger of not being able to put $2 million back into the city’s general fund, a move needed to ensure the city has the liquidity it needs to get good rates when it gets bonds in the future. Revenue wasn’t flowing in as the city expected in the first quarter.

The fire department, already down 10 positions, is burning through its overtime budget at a rapid rate. Fire Chief Ed Olehy told council members that the department has already used up 90 percent of what was allocated for overtime. Olehy outlined cutback plans that the department has under consideration. If all 10 slots were filled, it would take nine weeks to get them on the street. 

Urich said he plans to come back to the council at the June 26 meeting with a $3.5 million reduction plan — one that would enable the city to shift $1.5 million to the fire department and $2 million to the general fund.

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Peoria Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from ciproud.com:

34-year-old Peoria Firefighter Nick Riordan was diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Cancer Stage IV last summer and it spread to his liver. Peoria firefighters say he died Tuesday afternoon from the illness.

Riordan’s Facebook page is now filling up with condolences to his family. He is survived by his wife Sarah and his three children. The youngest child was born around the time he started chemotherapy. Riordan said his strength came from his family and friends. 

Peoria firefighters are planning a fundraiser for the family this Saturday at Knights of Columbus, 7403 N. Radnor Rd in Peoria. The fundraiser is $15 dollars and includes dinner and live music.

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Peoria Fire Department news

Excerpts from Peoriapublicradio.org:

Peoria Fire Chief Chuck Lauss will leave the position of chief effective January 31st. In the short term, he will help his daughter work on her house in Portland, Oregon. Long term, the 58-year-old intends to look for employment in emergency service outside the central Illinois area. He has been chief in Peoria for two years. Prior to that, he headed Caterpillar’s fire department for five years, and preceding that was fire chief for seven years in Pekin. City manager Patrick Urich is responsible for naming a replacement. Current Assistant Chief Ed Olehy is an expected candidate for the job.

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Peoria Fire Department news

Excerpts from the poster.com:

Nick Riordan had a smile on his face as he watched the dozens upon dozens of people fill the Knights of Columbus hall on Wednesday to help raise money for him.

To those who know him, Riordan, a 3 1/2-year veteran of the Peoria Fire Department, would do nothing else than smile. Not even a possibly life-threatening diagnosis of neuroendocrine carcinoma got him down, say his buddies on the department.

For weeks, firefighters have worn bracelets for Riordan. Some even shaved their heads to show solidarity with the father of three who is undergoing chemotherapy to combat the stage 4 cancer. He was initially given months to live but his wife, Sarah Riordan, who was holding their 1-month-old daughter, said they had gone to a doctor in Denver and had gotten some encouraging news. Still, it’s an uphill battle with the medical bills, the time off work and just the stress for Nick Riordan, whose children are still too young to understand completely what is going on. “They just know Daddy’s sick and taking medicine to get well,” he said.

The firefighter-paramedic learned of the cancer in May when he went to the doctor for stomach pain. He thought it was a gall bladder issue.

People filled the social hall, wolfing down plates of food donated by area businesses. Others bid on one of the items on nearly a dozen tables in a silent auction. A woman who won a share of the 50-50 raffle donated her portion back to Riordan. 

Riordan said he’s taking things day by day. He’s hopeful the chemo will work. He paused and smiled as people came up to him and wished him well. His friend Lindholm has already told him he’ll get through it.

A GoFundMe page called “Relief for the Riordans” has been set up for the family.

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