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Local

Fox River fire district board continues discussion of financial needs

The Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District is looking to place a referendum on the March 20 primary ballot; however, the district's board did not decide how much to seek in a new referendum during a special meeting Nov. 13.
The Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District is looking to place a referendum on the March 20 primary ballot; however, the district's board did not decide how much to seek in a new referendum during a special meeting Nov. 13.

ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – At a special meeting Nov. 13, the Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District Board did not decide how much to seek in a new referendum.

In a replay of a September meeting, where officials detailed the district's need for a successful referendum on the March 20 primary ballot, board members decided to set another special meeting to discuss the matter.

Fire Chief John Nixon explained the district’s finances, saying its budget is balanced, but there is no money to replace its assets – such as fire trucks, ambulances and aging equipment.

“What we don’t collect or have a mechanism to collect is our fleet asset replacements – or our rolling stock,” Nixon said.

For example, the district’s newest truck, expected to last until 2025, will cost $680,000 to replace.

“So, the liability facing the district in the future as our assets turn over and phase out is $3.7 million,” Nixon said. “Assets for which we currently have no plan to fund.”

The district hopes to replace its manual extrication equipment with power extrication equipment by 2019, Nixon said. Also on the list are motorized stair chairs to aid in transporting patients down stairs, instead of physically lifting them, Nixon said.

“One of our current safety concerns is our 10-year-old portable radios that are gradually deteriorating,” Nixon said. “In some cases, they just have to be thrown away because they’re no good any more.”

He said the estimated cost to replace 28 portable radios is $215,000.

“Obviously, we could do nothing and tread water,” Nixon said. “Doing nothing does not really give us a bright future.”

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