|New Lenox Fire Protection District Votes to Secure Tax Anticipation Warrant; Cut Personnel, Close Station, and Reduce Programs and Services to save funding|
|By New Lenox Fire Protection District|
|March 28, 2018|
On March 19th, the New Lenox Fire Protection District Board of Trustees voted to secure a $750,000 Tax Anticipation Warrant to cover the district’s budget deficit. This extra funding will fill the gap between when the district runs out of funds in April and when the next tax revenues are received in June.
Due to the lack of revenue with no sources for new funding, the NLFPD had to make some difficult decisions to keep the district running at a lower cost. To do this, residents will be seeing cuts over the next week to facilities, personnel, and services.
“It is a sad day for our growing community,” stated Deputy Chief Dan Turner. “We are in a time where we should be adding to our staffing due to increasing call volume, but instead we have to do the opposite and make cuts to meet our bottom line. These cuts will impact our community, as decreased personnel and the closing of a station will increase response times, which are vital for both EMS and fire incidents.”
On Friday, March 30th, Station 2, at 1205 N. Cedar Road will be closing its doors until further notice due to a reduction in firefighter/paramedic positions. The district will be cutting 4 positions per shift, which includes both part-time and full-time personnel. Earlier this year, cuts also took place in administration after one employee left, leaving an open position which will not be filled. Other programs that involve using shift personnel and apparatus for long periods of time will also be reduced or eliminated.
“Our residents deserve the best possible service we can provide,” said Turner. “These decisions were made with heavy hearts, and the task of finding ways to cut the expenses was not taken lightly.”
The NLFPD has tried to pass referendums to increase the tax rate five times over the past 12 years (2006, 2009, 2011, 2014, and March 2018), knowing this day would eventually come. During this time, the district has cut back on spending and was able to tighten their belts to keep the current situation at bay, but the district can no longer afford to operate at less than half of the budgets of neighboring towns, while giving the same services.
“The residents voted, and without having an end in sight, we had to make the best decisions for our bottom line, and unfortunately, this was our only option,” stated Turner. “If the NLFPD does not pass a referendum soon to increase our funding, further cuts will happen. Without any additional funding coming our way we will need to keep borrowing money from future taxes and eventually we would owe more than we bring in.”