Archive for February 28th, 2014

Wauconda investigates outsourcing the 9-1-1 call center (more)

The Daily Herald has an updated article on the discussions of outsourcing the Wauconda 9-1-1 Center.

For the third time in less than a year, a controversy in Wauconda is pitting concerned residents against village hall. This time it’s a proposal to close the police department’s dispatch center and outsource the service to nearby Lake Zurich.

On Tuesday, Village Administrator Doug Maxeiner will talk to the board and the community about why he thinks outsourcing is a good idea. The session is set for 7:15 p.m. at Wauconda High School.

No vote is planned after the discussion. That could come in March at the earliest.

Ahead of the meeting, we’ve tried to answer questions about the plan and its potential impact on the community.

Q. Why has outsourcing been proposed?

A. The dispatchers are represented by a labor union, and they’ve been working without a contract since April 2013. Village officials investigated outsourcing as a way to save money on the cost of dispatching.

Q. How much money will it save?

A. Maxeiner has said contracting with Lake Zurich could save $2.1 million over five years.

Q. If this is a money issue, is the village in trouble financially?

A. Not right now. But it could face deficit spending within a year or two, officials said last week.

Q. Did this idea originate with Mayor Frank Bart?

A. Bart has said the inquiries started before he took office in May 2013. At a June 4 board meeting, however, Bart said running the 911 center is too costly to be sustainable. He said eliminating the service could save $600,000 annually, the official minutes for the meeting show. They certainly were under way before Maxeiner started as village administrator in November 2013, although he acknowledged it was one of the projects he was handed upon being hired.

Q. Why was Lake Zurich chosen to provide the service?

A. In a news release, Maxeiner said Lake Zurich’s dispatchers are “highly professional” and proficient in assessing emergency situations and getting the right personnel and equipment to scenes. The center also is part of an accredited police department, he said, and the dispatchers have served as Wauconda’s backup for years.

Q. Have other towns or agencies bid for the service?

A. Village officials gathered pricing information from dispatch centers in Mundelein, Fox Lake and Round Lake, as well as a private company that offers the service, Maxeiner said Monday. He’s also personally spoken with officials from three of the agencies. “Based strictly on cost, it appears that Lake Zurich would be the preferred choice,” he told the Daily Herald.

Q. Will the Wauconda Police Department be the only agency affected?

A. No. The Wauconda Fire Protection District — an independent government agency — also uses the police department’s dispatchers for emergency calls, as do the Lakemoor and Tower Lakes police departments. All would have to find new 911 providers.

Q. What will happen to Wauconda’s current dispatchers if the village shuts down the center?

A. Ten full-time and two part-time dispatchers will be laid off.

Q. What will happen to the dispatch center and its equipment if the board approves outsourcing?

A. The village could sell the equipment, Maxeiner said. Officials also could try to reduce the cost of outsourcing by negotiating the use of the gear, he said. Or, they could keep the equipment for uses that haven’t yet been made public.

Q. Were voters promised dispatch services wouldn’t be outsourced if they approved a tax increase for the fire protection district in 2010?

A. Yes. But Bart has repeatedly criticized that referendum and the promises made to the community. Last week, when someone pointed out the pledge not to outsource was a big selling point, Bart said: “That was back in 2010. It’s a different time.”

Q. Is outsourcing a done deal?

A. No. Maxeiner’s preliminary recommendation is just that — a recommendation. It’ll be up to the six members of the village board to vote on the proposal. Bart would be asked to break a tie if the vote comes down 3-3.

thanks Dan

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New aerials for CFD (more)

This from Josh Boyajian:

here are some pictures from the spartan erv website displaying the chassis and ladder for one of the new aerials for Chicago. Needless to say…its not a tower ladder. What I’m assuming, Spartan calls a rear mount aerial a “rear mount platform.”


fire truck being built

Spartan photo

fire truck being built

Spartan photo

fire truck being built

Spartan photo

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Antioch renews contract with Superior

The Lake-County Sun has an article about Antioch’s decision to extend their EMS contract for another year:

Metro Paramedic Services will continue to provide emergency medical services in the village for at least another year. Village officials agreed to renew the contract with Metro to provide six paramedics and six emergency medical technicians to staff the two village-owned fire stations 24 hours daily. The 12 state-certified ambulance personnel employed by Metro are all local volunteer firefighters.

Metro has been providing both equipment and personnel since the village terminated its 72-year relationship with the not-for-profit Antioch Rescue Squad on June 1, 2013.

Metro is a contract agency that employs trained firefighters, paramedics and EMTs to many fire agencies throughout northern Illinois. “It is a cost effective alternative to municipalities hiring their own full-time employees,” said Fire Chief John Nixon. Metro also provides all applicable benefits to their employees.

The village will save about $106,000 annually by contracting for only personnel and dropping a contract for equipment. Antioch Firefighters Association last month donated an ALS (advanced life support) ambulance bringing the village’s fleet to three fully-equipped ALS ambulances. The personnel-only contract will cost the village $795,376 annually or $66,281 monthly.

Last year, the village purchased a used 2000 International Ambulance with 22,000 miles and obtained another used 2000 ambulance with funds from the state Foreign Fire Insurance Tax Board. The vehicles and equipment had to pass state inspection before they could be used by the village. That step was completed Friday, said Nixon.

Even though the village is saving money by providing its own vehicles, revenue falls far short of costs, said Nixon. The average cost of an EMS call is $920. Nixon estimates the cost for 1,863 projected annual EMS calls will total $1.128 million, but estimated revenue will probably be at only 42 percent of that total for the first year or $475,000.

Nixon said about 32 percent of rescue calls are reimbursed by insurance, 33 percent are covered by Medicare and 12 percent are covered by Medicaid. The balance of patients have no insurance and in many cases, can’t pay the cost for the service. To help balance revenue with expenses, village officials also agreed to raise ambulance and life safety fees.

Nixon said the new rates are comparable to rates charged by other neighboring municipalities that do not levy a tax for EMS services. He projects the combined cost for EMS and fire services in the village will total $840,000.

The village is working with the township, served by the First Fire Protection District, to jointly provide fire and rescue services and reduce costs. The villages shares costs with the fire district for fire protection but each entity is responsible for providing its own rescue service. The township is continuing to contract with Antioch Rescue Squad for rescue calls in the township. The contract with ARS expires May 8. Because EMS is not funded through tax revenue the village and fire district are exploring the option of a tax levy to help offset ambulance service costs.

“If a tax levy were in place for EMS we could significantly lower fees,” said Nixon, explaining the higher fees adopted by the village board will help cover the costs to serve all residents, including those who can’t afford to pay.

“Right now the revenue to cover those expenses is coming from the village’s general fund, which also pays for fire, police, village and parks services.”


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