Barrington, fire protection district prepare for their split
Updated: April 1, 2013 6:11AM
BARRINGTON — Although the Village of Barrington and the Barrington-Countryside Fire Protection District have decided to end their intergovernmental agreement at the end of the year, the two sides still must determine the best way to move forward.
Both sides pledged that the end of the agreement would not impact quality of service or longer response times.
At Barrington’s Village Board meeting Feb. 11, Village President Karen Darch encouraged village and district officials to come together and hammer out a plan to most effectively structure their relationship before the Dec. 31 termination date.
“We are linked geographically,” she said. “We have a relationship and we will continue to have a relationship.
“We recognize that (safety) is our top priority.”
Barrington resident Larry Lincoln, however, told trustees Feb. 11 that he has doubts a new structure could maintain the existing quality of fire services. He noted that the potential closing of a fire station, could result in higher costs and longer response times.
“We have an amazing fire department,” Lincoln said. “It would be a shame if it goes out of existence after 2013.”
Lincoln said he sent a letter detailing his concerns to residents and organizations across the Barrington area, including the Barrington Area Council of Governments, School District 220 and several healthcare facilities.
At the Countryside Fire Protection District’s Feb. 18 meeting, district president Tow Rowan addressed the personnel and equipment issues that have plagued their relationship with the Village.
“Our whole goal is to provide superior service to the residents of the district, but we feel we’re not getting anywhere,” Rowan said.
Rowan and other board members maintain that the village has been slow to respond to requests for additional personnel and equipment, including a request for an updated water tanker to help the district serve areas that do not have access to fire hydrants.
“They keep saying we don’t need it,” Rowan said. “We can’t let the Village of Barrington decide what the residents in the district need.”
District board members also determined that 30 firefighters are needed to staff three shifts at three fire stations, in addition to three senior administrators at each station.
“Right now, we’re concentrating on getting the people and equipment we need to serve our residents better,” Rowan said.
Under the intergovernmental agreement, the district purchases services and equipment from the village. The agreement has been in place for three years.
The district approved a tentative administrative structure at its Feb. 18 meeting in preparation for the split. The district set a date of May 1 as the target date to begin implementing any changes in operations.