Posts Tagged Town of Lakewood considers options for fire protection

Lakewood signs new agreement with Crystal lake


The decision will, as one trustee put it, “change the face of Lakewood” by closing the village’s only fire station on Haligus Road and operating out of a Crystal Lake station on the other side of town. The Lakewood Village Board voted, 3-1, with one trustee abstaining Tuesday night, to go with a slightly cheaper contract offered by the Crystal Lake Fire Department that tied increases to the village’s tax base over renewing its contract with the Woodstock Fire Rescue Protection District.

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Lakewood considers options for fire protection

Excerpts from the Northwest Herald:

A long-term solution to the village of Lakewood’s fire protection services is a topic of conversation as the expiration date for the village’s agreement with the Woodstock Fire/Rescue District approaches.

Escalating costs have sent the village from option to option over the past eight years, first ending a decades-long agreement with the city of Crystal Lake to hire American Emergency Services to operate a village fire department and then contracting with the Woodstock Fire/Rescue District in 2011.

A five-year agreement with the Woodstock Fire/Rescue District is set to expire at the end of the year.

“There is a philosophical discussion happening internally about whether we should continue to have a contractual relationship with a provider for this service or run a referendum so that our fire service is provided by another unit of local government through a fire district,” village President Erin Smith said.

The village pays for fire protection services out of its general fund, an unusual practice in McHenry County where most areas are served by a separate fire protection district that passes its own property tax levy and has its own governing board.

The Woodstock Fire/Rescue District employees that operated out of the village-owned Haligus Road station used to wear uniforms identifying them as with the Lakewood Fire Department and still use village-owned equipment.

To join a fire protection district or to create its own, voters would have to pass a referendum, something that has happened in the past, Village Manager Catherine Peterson said. Voters had OK’d joining the Crystal Lake Rural Fire Protection District, but for reasons Peterson doesn’t know, the decision was never acted upon.

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