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updated: 4/16/2013 11:00 AM

Barrington fire district closer to split from village

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If there's a point of no return in the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District's threatened end-of-year split from the Barrington Fire Department, both sides seem to have widely different opinions of when it is.

Fire district officials, who currently contract for services from the geographically smaller village of Barrington, are making plans to hire their own temporary administrator next month as well as to buy an approximately $400,000 water tanker -- a request the village has consistently declined.

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Barrington Village President Karen Darch said Monday she believes the close relationship the two taxing bodies have had will continue in some form.

"I still think we will have a contractual relationship," Darch said. "As I said before, we're still trying to work out the correct structure of that relationship."

But fire district trustees said Monday they'll be taking significant steps in the next few weeks toward becoming an independent fire department.

The district serves an area that includes parts of Barrington Hills, Lake Barrington, Inverness and South Barrington.

On April 29, district trustees will meet with candidates recommended by the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association for the job of temporary administrator. At the district's regular meeting in May, the board expects to hear a more specific cost for the 3,000-gallon tanker truck it wants custom built.

The difference of opinion over the need for an extra tanker is one of many disagreements leading to the potential split on Jan. 1.

"We can't buy equipment without their permission, and they won't let us buy it," district Trustee Paul Heinze said.

But Barrington Village Manager Jeff Lawler said that because the contract is considered in limbo at present, the village wouldn't object to the tanker purchase as long as it has no financial obligation for it.

District trustees Monday also voted to repair 11 faulty traffic signal opticoms that were causing potential delays to emergency vehicles at red lights. The repairs will cost an estimated $70,000.

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