According to Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District trustees, questions over their proposed year-end split with the Barrington Fire Department have changed from theoretical to practical -- from "why?" to "how?"
That means starting a process by which the fire district -- a separate taxing body -- will begin acquiring its own staff and equipment rather than receiving them by contract from the village of Barrington.
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As far as the staff goes, district President Tom Rowan said requests for proposals have already gone out seeking 33 employees from a chief on down who will be ready to take over from Barrington Fire Department workers on Jan. 1.
"I'm actually planning on spending New Year's Eve here," Rowan said at the district's board meeting Monday night at Fire Station 3 in Lake Barrington.
While the Barrington Fire Department was originally created to serve only the village of Barrington, the fire district covers a larger area just outside it that includes portions of Barrington Hills, Inverness, Lake Barrington, South Barrington and unincorporated Cook, Lake and McHenry counties.
Fire Station 1 in Barrington will remain the Barrington Fire Department's, but a split would leave the fire district with Station 2 in Barrington Hills as well as Station 3.
The agreement between the two agencies spells out an even division of the equipment they co-own -- to be started with a coin flip, Rowan said.
Notice of a Dec. 31, 2013, end to their long-running contract was given last fall after district trustees said they'd become frustrated by the village's refusal to supply the levels of equipment and staff the district requested.
But Barrington Village President Karen Darch on Monday said she doesn't think the relationship is beyond repair. She said adequate time remains for any and all business still required between them.
However, Rowan believes the only discussion remaining is the calling of "heads" or "tails" to start dividing the equipment.
"Our goal has always been to work well with the village, but we haven't been able to get the personnel and the equipment that we wanted," he said.