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updated: 7/18/2013 10:07 AM

Can Barrington, fire district create an automatic-aid agreement?

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The village of Barrington and Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District are breaking up, but can they still be friends?

Village officials are proposing an automatic-aid agreement with the fire district, which will begin running its own independent fire department Jan. 1 for its 48-square-mile jurisdiction.

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Fire district trustees responded skeptically to the request this week, citing what they characterized as a long-running lack of communication and responsiveness on the part of the village.

The fire district has now stated that the village must determine what its own fire department staffing levels will be before the district decides whether such an agreement would be mutually beneficial.

The village heard a recommendation from a consultant this week to lay off 20 to 22 firefighters once its contract with the district ends. District trustees want to know which of those options the village board will adopt on Aug. 19.

Under an automatic-aid agreement, the two departments would agree to automatically respond to a nearby emergency, regardless of whether it was within the village's or district's municipality. this differs from a mutual-aid agreement, in which the response comes only upon request of one of the agencies.

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