Barrington-area fire district moves forward with new trustee

With a 20 percent change among its decision-makers Monday, the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District made several more key preparations for its Jan. 1 separation from the Barrington Fire Department.

But the first order of business was to swear in new Trustee Paul Struck, the former Lake Barrington trustee appointed by Lake County Board Member Nick Sauer last week to succeed Walter Dalitsch, who'd served about 19 years on the board over two separate increments.

Struck said last week that he came to the board with no preconceived opinions about the district's current direction. But at his first meeting, he concurred with the decisions of his new colleagues in preparing the district to run its own independent fire department for the first time.

At the end of the year, the 48-square-mile fire district just outside Barrington will terminate its long-running contract for service from the Barrington Fire Department.

The fire district has opted to hire a force of 33 personnel — 30 firefighters and three battalion chiefs — through private contractor Paramedic Services of Illinois.

The district also has decided to offer jobs to all 19 firefighters Barrington will lay off when it downsizes. Due to a typographical error on an earlier document, the district has extended its deadline for these firefighters to apply until Oct. 1, Trustee Paul Heinze said.

The district recently began speaking with the neighboring Fox River Grove Fire Protection District about sharing part-time, paid-on call personnel. These may serve as the sixth on-duty person most times at Barrington Countryside's stations in Barrington Hills and Lake Barrington.

Barrington Countryside is also discussing the possibility of an automatic-aid agreement for the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District to respond to calls on the west side of Inverness. But Barrington Countryside is balking at the suggestion of doing so in exchange for its full share of that area's property tax revenue — approximately $600,000 to $800,000 per year.

The fire district Monday also placed an order for two new ambulances for a total of $448,336, but must still divide the vehicles it currently co-owns with Barrington. Trustees suggested this be done no later than Sept. 30.

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