Mt. Prospect signs deal to provide fire protection in Elk Grove Township
Mount Prospect village board members have approved an intergovernmental agreement that would allow the village and two other towns -- Des Plaines and Elk Grove Village -- to take over the duties of the Elk Grove Rural Fire Protection District.
The village board approved the agreement Tuesday. Now it is up to the other parties, including the rural fire district, to attach their signatures.
For more than 40 years, the Elk Grove Fire Protection District has provided fire and emergency medical services to unincorporated areas within Elk Grove Township.
The district contracts with American Fire and Rescue Corp. to serve a tax base that includes close to 60 single-family homes, several industrial properties, and four manufactured housing developments with an estimated 3,500 residents, according to a 2017 study.
But with increasing annexations by surrounding communities, its tax base is shrinking, making it more difficult to meet expenses.
Mount Prospect officials said the structural deficit threatens to drain the district of funds by 2022.
The annual levy for the district is about $800,000, while the cost of its contract with American Fire and Rescue Services Corp. is $1.8 million, village officials said.
Under the plan approved by the village board Tuesday, three special taxing areas would be created.
Village Manager Michael Cassady said the agreement "makes a lot of sense and ends the uncertainty of who's going to provide services for the residents in this area."
Mount Prospect Fire Chief John Dolan said the village already has a mutual aid agreement with Elk Grove Township.
Mayor Paul Hoefert asked Cassady what would happen if the agreement were not implemented.
"It's a very dangerous game of chicken," Cassady said, adding that at some point the state fire marshal would get involved, but it wouldn't be "until it's actually too late."
Dolan underscored Cassady's warning, saying resources from surrounding communities would be stretched thin.
Village Finance Director Amit Thakkar said the agreement calls for the liquidation of the existing assets of the fire protection district. Mount Prospect would take over the station and also take possession of a water tanker that can serve the manufactured communities, which do not have hydrants.
The village plans to hire six firefighters to work from the station.
Mount Prospect has been involved in prolonged negotiations with the fire district, but Cassady emphasized that the terms of the agreement represent "our final and last offer."