Posts Tagged state budget impasse affects training for firefighters

Illinois Fire Service Institute stalled by state budget impasse (more)

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Many services and programs across Illinois remain in fiscal uncertainty due to the ongoing state budget standoff, but the Illinois Fire Service Institute, IFSI, is receiving just over $3.8 million in funding from the state Fire Prevention Fund.

The amount is an annual allocation for the IFSI, as the Fire Prevention Fund accounts for 27 percent of the institute’s funding. The IFSI is the mandated state fire academy headquartered in Champaign, which provides classes and firefighting training all across the state.

Governor Bruce Rauner signed the piecemeal spending bill, SB2039, on the same day that the Illinois State Senate approved it on Dec. 7. The bill allocates money from the Fire Prevention Fund to the Board of Trustees at the University. Though the $3.8 million goes through the University first, the bill earmarked the funds specifically for IFSI, said Deputy Director James Keiken. The bill comes at a time of fiscal limbo for Illinois, with an official 2016 fiscal budget yet to be decided.

The money is for “paying the Institute’s expenses, and providing the facilities and structures incident thereto, including payment to the University for personal services and related costs incurred,” according to the bill.

More specifically, the $3.8 million serves as the IFSI 2015-2016 school year budget for day-to-day operations and bills as well as its “cornerstone” program which offers courses of basic firefighting skills to various small fire districts and volunteers, free of charge to the department.

The cornerstone program takes about 2.5 percent of the budget or $600,000 dollars. However, due to budgetary problems, the program has not run since October, said IFSI Deputy Director James Keiken.

In addition, in the second quarter of the fiscal year the institute didn’t receive funding in time, causing the University to help cover some of IFSI’s operational costs.

In addition to the $3.8 million IFSI allocation, the bill frees up $3.1 billion to local governments across Illinois for a variety of uses such as local road repairs, winter maintenance and lottery prizes over $600.

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Illinois Fire Service Institute stalled by state budget impasse (more)

Excerpts from the

State Rep. Carol Sente met with representatives from various agencies within the Illinois Fire Services Association to discuss the urgent need to release funding for fire prevention prior to a hearing before the full House of Representatives and vote on the subject Tuesday.

Legislation supported by Sente would release appropriations from the Fire Prevention Fund, which is money collected for the specific purpose of training emergency personnel and properly insuring equipment owned by intergovernmental agencies and local departments. Monies from this fund cannot be used for any other budget purposes.

Currently, the lack of a state budget is having the severe impact of reducing the number of firefighters, particularly volunteers, that can be trained by the Illinois Fire Service Institute.

Sente serves as the co-chair of the Illinois Legislative Fire Caucus and holds regular dialogues with area chiefs and firefighters focused on identifying the needs of emergency personnel.


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Illinois Fire Service Institute stalled by state budget impasse

Excerpts from

Firefighters are feeling the effect of the state’s budget impasse. A training program is temporarily suspended at the Illinois Fire Service Institute.

Officials say 100 training classes are postponed until a state budget is approved. The Cornerstone program offers courses on fighting fires, safety and vehicle use.

The Carroll Fire Department is taking a hit from the training freeze. Captain Allen Cameron says they have nine volunteer firefighters still waiting to complete their training. Officials say it could take up to a year for the training classes to come back.

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