Posts Tagged Public Safety Systems Inc

Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District news (more)

Excerpts from the

About 60 people packed the Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District meeting Monday to state their concerns with a staffing plan they said would result in fewer full-time firefighters and possibly longer response times.

Paul Ross, formerly a captain on the department, chastised the board for considering such a plan and said firefighters were concerned about losing medical coverage, sick and vacation days, retirement benefits and seniority.

“As I began to see the shortcomings in his [Fire Chief Carl DeLeo] proposed plan, I offered suggestions to try to mitigate the concerns that I, and other officers, had, as well as serious safety issues with regards to potential staffing and future response capabilities, … Make no mistake, you are about to lay off 18-plus employees who have families to support,” Ross said.

Ross said during his last several years with the district, his duties included hiring all part-time staff to supplement the full-time members. “The department has a 75 percent turnover rate for part time staff and today, after employing 50-plus part-time members, we have nine that are still with the department,” Ross said.

District resident Julie Riffle of Campton Hills criticized the board for suggesting to pay firefighters “less than someone working at McDonald’s.”

Board President Bob Handley said the part-time staffing model was necessary because the district had to cut costs by $200,000 to $300,000, and the staffing model proposed for the Fox River district is the same one used by Pingree Grove, McHenry, Evergreen Park and McHenry.

“This model is not going to leave the distrcit any less safe,” Handley said.

thanks Dan

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Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District news

Excerpts from

The Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District barely mustered a quorum Monday night, with three trustees in attendance, to make the decision not to hold a March referendum.

The trustees terminated a contract with the district’s fire and ambulance service provider, Public Safety Systems, Inc. Fire Chief Carl DeLeo and the trustees confirmed the district will convert to a part-time fire and ambulance staff. A similar operating model exists in other nearby departments like Pingree Grove and Huntley. DeLeo said the fire district can save up to $300,000 a year with the change. If the savings are true, trustees said they may forgo their next shot at putting a tax increase question on the ballot next November.

Trustees and Ken Shepro, the district’s attorney, debated a resolution opposing the pending drug and alcohol treatment center that wants to be at the former Glenwood School property just outside of Campton Hills. Shepro told trustees he expects the facility will generate “a couple hundred ambulance calls” a year. That would be a burden not anticipated for the district’s aging equipment. Jim Gaffney, who resigned as president of the district in October, said the calls from the new treatment center would fund the purchase of a new ambulance if the emergency call volume hit Shepro’s expectations.

Trustees said they planned to attend the public hearing on the treatment center with the Kane County Zoning Board of Appeals later Monday night.

thanks Dan

Click the link for a reference to many previous posts on budget and staffing issues for the Fox River & Countryside FPD

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Fox River & Countryside FPD wants tax increase (more)

Excerpts from the

Another failed tax increase request would be the worst outcome from efforts to maintain the financial solvency of the Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District. So to avoid that, district trustees may not ask voters for a tax increase at all. Trustees met with the district’s fire and ambulance service provider, Maryland-based Public Safety Systems Inc., to find a way to cut costs.

“Everybody would love to do the referendum, but it was 3-to-1 against it last time,” said district President Bob Handley. “We know the chance of success is slim. Like any organization, our biggest line item is personnel. So we’re going to look at staffing, but we’ve got to keep the safety of the guys in mind.”

A month ago, trustees introduced the idea of cutting ambulance service. But fire calls represent less than 20 percent of the district’s workload. That makes a change to staffing far more likely, said Ken Shepro, the fire district’s attorney. One option that may make sense is staffing engines and ambulances entirely with a part-time staff. Shepro said several other local departments, including Pingree Grove, use that model and more may be headed that way.

The viability of that model for the district, and its ability to at least defer a tax increase request will be key aspects trustees will weigh in the decision for if and when to hold a referendum. Aside from personnel, the district has some major capital replacement costs looming, including the replacement of a 30-year-old fire engine.

District trustees have until Dec. 28 to put a tax increase question on the March ballot. They will meet Dec. 14 to make a decision.

If trustees don’t put a question on the ballot in March, Shepro said, it’s unlikely voters would see a tax increase question until 2017 at the earliest. Conventional wisdom says most taxing districts should avoid tax increase questions when presidential races are on the ballot. Those elections tend to have higher voter turnouts with more people voting no on tax increases regardless of how much they know about the ballot question.

thanks Dennis

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