Mount Prospect officials verbally sparred this week with Elk Grove Township Fire Department Chief Michael Nelson over the village's latest annexation, which he fears could eventually lead to the department's end.
The debate occurred Tuesday after village trustees voted to annex 14 acres that include the ARC Disposal & Recycling Co. headquarters at 2101 S. Busse Road.
Community Development Director Bill Cooney said ARC owns six different properties there and the annexation agreement will allow the operation to continue as it exists today.
It also calls for the creation of a new waste hauling zoning district, along with a map amendment to rezone those properties into that district, Cooney said.
The move, however, didn't make everyone happy, because it represents the further erosion of fire district's increasingly dwindling tax base.
"It concerns me because now it's going to start taking away more of the fire district and ultimately having us dissolved," Nelson said.
The ARC annexation comes a month after Mount Prospect took in 13.6 acres of the United Airlines campus at 1200 E. Algonquin Road, a move which also will cost the fire district future tax revenues. The fire district will receive compensation for five years, under an agreement governed by state statute, but will no longer receive taxes from the property.
Nelson questioned why the properties are now welcoming annexation after resisting it for years.
Mount Prospect trustees didn't take kindly to Nelson's remarks, asking whether he was implying wrongdoing on their part.
"Times have changed. It is now 2012," Mayor Irvana Wilks said.
Ken Kubiesa, an attorney for ARC, said his understanding is that negotiations between the company and Mount Prospect have been under way for the past couple of years.
"We will pay (the fire district) the lump sum that the statute requires (for disconnection)," he added.
Nelson said he fears that the addition of the United and ARC parcels will clear the way for the village to begin annexing more property in the district. He also worries that properties not annexed will lose fire protection entirely if the first district is forced to dissolve.
"Basically my biggest concern is that you have now put a wedge in the middle of Busse Road with the ability to start forcibly annexing left and right," he said.
Trustee Paul Hoefert said he understands the impact on the fire district but noted there is going to be a trend of unincorporated areas being absorbed into municipalities in Cook County.
"There is nothing under the table (or) dastardly going on," Hoefert said.
Trustee A. John Korn added: "Eventually we're going to go ahead and be one community after another and there will not be any unincorporated area. I mean I grew up in unincorporated Maine Township. There is some of it left but not much."
Worries: Trustee says nothing 'dastardly' is afoot