The dispute between the village of Barrington and the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District (BCFPD) continues to flare this week.
Village Manager Jeff Lawler said many statements made by the BCFPD Trustees at Monday’s board meeting were simply untrue.
“We can’t have a reasonable discussion if the facts aren’t straight,” Lawler said.
Tension between the village and the BCFPD is high due to a dispute that led to the end of their intergovernmental agreement. The BCFPD wants to add an additional water tender to the fleet and hire more staff at the district’s expense. The village says these additional costs are unnecessary. Lawler said although the district is willing to pay staff and equipment fees, the Barrington taxpayers will still be paying legacy costs like pension benefits.
One point of contention at Monday's meeting is regarding mutual aid response at the Sept. 24 Otis Road house fire in Barrington Hills. At the Oct. 15 meeting, BCFPD trustees said one department was delayed nearly an hour due to freight train traffic. Lawler agreed that a Canadian National train slowed response times, but said the longest it took for a surrounding department to arrive on the scene was 22 minutes.
BCFDP trustees were upset about the mutual aid response times at the fire, largely blaming the lack of water to the scene as the cause of extensive damage to the property. Trustee Paul Heinze said at Monday’s meeting, “you cannot rely on your neighbors as your first line of defense.”
Lawler said that the response times of surrounding agencies to this fire was "excellent." The BCFPD, however, said the response times were slow and partially caused the home to be a complete loss. Lawler disagreed with that assessment.
Another dispute between the two organizations is regarding the Insurance Services Office rating (ISO) for the BCFPD. The current rating, given to the district in 1990, is a split 5/10. Five for homes that are within five miles of a fire station, and 10 for those outside of that radius. The rating was given before fire stations 2 and 3 were built in 1997 and 2004.
ISO has proposed a new rating of 6 for the entire district. If the ISO rating is changed, it could lead to higher fire insurance rates for some homeowner. Some local insurance agents, however, say there is no direct correlation.
Furthermore, Arie said ISO representative Tom Geibel confirmed that additional training and multi-company drills will reduce the ISO classification back to a 5 for the entire district. The BCFPD plans to implement the training as suggested to reduce the rating.
Read the letters terminating the existing governmental agreement from both parties.