Posts Tagged Peoria FIre Department

Peoria Fire Department news more

Excerpts from pjstar:.com

A clerical error could cost the city of Peoria upwards of $500,000 after an administrative law judge recommended nearly a dozen firefighters be reinstated and the two rescue trucks taken off line last year be reinstated.

And while those changes would be substantial, neither Peoria Firefighters Union Local 50 nor city hall believe the recommendation, handed down in late February, is the final say on the matter. In fact, the Peoria city attorney says the reasoning behind the decision was a clerical error — the city never responded to the unfair labor practice accusations from the union that sparked the case because the complaint and other documents were sent to an attorney’s old place of employment.

But, on the surface, the Feb. 27 ruling seems to be a total win for the union as it orders the city to:

– restore the staffing levels of the Peoria Fire Department to levels it was before May 21, 2018, when a series of brown-outs were instated to help with budgetary issues.

– compensate those who lost income by offering back pay to those who were eligible to work on the rescue squads.

– resume bargaining with the local over staffing and work conditions.

The city will, in essence, appeal and tell the state Labor Relations Board what it thinks the hearing officer got wrong. The ILRB will likely hear the case sometime later this year.

The union filed its complaint last summer in the wake of brown-outs that were ordered by city hall to help close a budgetary shortfall. Local 50 cried foul and said the brown-outs were an unfair labor practice in the wake of an agreement they had reached in late 2017 that eliminated some unfilled positions in return for keeping the fire apparatus online.

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Peoria Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from centralillinoisproud.com:

Fire officials want to clear the air when it comes to speculation on their latest move to bill people for auto accidents. Peoria Fire Chief Ed Olehy says they are not charging people when they respond to fires or emergency services. He is clarifying a recent proposal heading to Peoria City Council Tuesday about billable charges for Peoria and non-Peoria residents. 

“The City of Peoria is not going to bill for any fires at your house,” said Chief Ed Olehy, Peoria Fire Department. “Peoria for years has already been billing outside residents for auto extracations and car fires,” said the chief. “That’s been apart of our services for a long time.”

These billable services are for car accidents like a car fire, which would be about $687/hr. An extraction would be just under $1,500/hr.  All of these services would be billed to your insurance. 

“Insurances already factor this in,” said Chief Olehy. “All of the rates that we’ve chosen … they’re national rates. They’re tried and true and insurance companies are reasonable and customary, all of those things. So, they fit all of the insurance criteria already.”

“People need to understand that they’re paying this in their premiums as it is today, if it’s part of their premium,” said Chief Olehy. “So either the insurance company keeps it, or they pay it back to the fire department through the type of billing. It’s not uncommon to happen.”

The media reached out to the Illinois Insurance Association for their thoughts on the issue. Here’s what Kevin Martin, Executive Director of Illiois Insurance Association said about the billable services: 

“This is nothing more than an attempt by the City of Peoria to charge a hidden tax on everyone who is unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident in Peoria. This has been attempted in other municipalities in Illinois and after careful review of the effect of this ordinance on law abiding citizens it has been soundly rejected.

Also, when this tax has been approved in other states throughout the nation it has been repealed time and time again.

Also, the citizens residing in the Peoria area should NOT be mislead by believing all insurance companies will pay for these costs!  Very few insurance companies will reimburse the policyholder for these expenses, thus they will pay for the costs out of their own pockets. These costs should be paid out of the ever increasing property taxes that people already must pay!!”

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Peoria Fire Department news

Excerpts from centralillinoisproud.com:

A proposal will be discussed at Tuesday’s Peoria City Council meeting to charge mitigation rates for services from the Peoria Fire Department.

The city manager and fire chief said the department could generate $200,000 annually through these charges for fire responses, hazmat situations, fire investigations, water, and motor vehicle accidents.  The proposal explains that the department incurs high costs in its efforts to save lives and property, adding that the number of incidents firefighters respond to continues to rise every year. If approved, the fire department would send a bill to the homeowner’s insurance company.  If a non-resident is involved, they would be responsible for 100% of the bill. A basic response to a motor vehicle accident would run $494. Gasoline and other auotomotive liquid cleanup would raise that fee to $562, and a car fire would go up to $687.

City leaders said it would be unfair to raise property taxes to meet the increase in demand because not all residents call the fire department.

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Peoria Fire Department news more

Excerpts from centralillinoispproud.com:

With the start of the new year, Peoria’s city budget cuts go into effect and the Peoria Fire Department is closing Rescue 1 and 2. 

It wasn’t too long ago, we were talking about brown outs, essentially where several local fire stations were closed for a temporary amount of time.  Now, we’re talking permanent closures of two rescue trucks.

The city decided on the cuts late last year after council worked to combat a $6 million budget deficit. 

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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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