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Fire district to choose service provider Feb. 1

ST. CHARLES – The Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District board did not choose an emergency service provider as expected on Thursday but said they would negotiate a contract with two potential providers and choose one by Feb. 1.

The two are the City of St. Charles Fire Department and AES, American Emergency Services. The board met at a special meeting in a basement training room at St. Charles Fire Station 1.

Board president Jim Gaffney said he and the board’s attorney, Ken Shepro, would negotiate with one of the companies or both, seeking the lowest cost for services and the terms.

“What we are negotiating for is services and manpower,” Gaffney said. “We’re going to own all the equipment, the buildings and so forth, but we have to have personnel provided. And they have to meet the criteria.”

Gaffney said the providers’ terms were not being made public until a contract was approved.

Chris Baldwin, chairman of the citizen advisory committee, said the committee did not make a recommendation to the board.

“We brought them in, gave each one three minutes to answer questions and the citizens advisory wrote down their comments,” Baldwin said of the potential service providers. “AES met pretty much down the line in regards to the [request for proposal] we had and St. Charles suggested pretty much staying status quo.”

Becky Lenard of St. Charles Township said the district currently has centrally-located facilities in St. Charles and did not see why it would build two stations to provide “supposedly better protection.”

“AES provided a one-year proposal,” Lenard said. “I don’t see how someone who has been doing this for 30-some years can’t come up with some type of a [price] range for the future.”

A third potential service provider, Metro Paramedic Services, was dropped from consideration because its proposal response was not complete.

The district, formerly known as the St. Charles Countryside Fire Protection District, serves residents in Wayne, Campton Hills and St. Charles Township.

The change reflects that it will go from an office in St. Charles Fire Station One to one in Campton Hills, and it will build and own two fire stations with equipment but contract out for fire and emergency personnel.

The district currently gets its fire service from the St. Charles Fire Department and ambulance service from Tri-City Ambulance.

District residents can attend a community open house from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Hosanna Lutheran Church, 36W925 Red Gate Road.

The open house is sponsored by the district’s Citizens Advisory Committee.

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