The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

March 29, 2014

Fire fee, budget get final vote

Several city aldermen show support for move

DANVILLE – If the Danville City Council passes a flat fire safety fee Tuesday night as part of the city’s new 2014-2015 budget, monthly residential and commercial garbage and sewer bills starting in June could be $3.50 or $5 higher.

That’s the way a majority of the city council’s Public Services Committee members were leaning earlier in the week to refill two firefighter positions, cover a budget gap for the fire division and help pay for the first year for a projected five-year loan for a new aerial fire truck.

Four aldermen on the committee favor the flat fee (Ward 1 Alderman Kevin Davis, Ward 2 Alderman Frank Hoskins, Ward 3 Alderwoman April Gilbert and Ward 4 Alderwoman Sharon McMahon), in addition to another alderman in attendance at the meeting, Ward 4 Alderman Mike O’Kane, also voicing support for the flat fee. O’Kane has a son with the fire department.

According to City Comptroller Gayle Lewis, if the fee is effective May 1, the bill would go out in June and the city would get first payments in July.

“The aerial has to be replaced,” Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said about needed fire truck replacements.

Any decision on another fire division truck replacement would come after a study of the future of the fire division is completed, he said, adding that if a fire station is consolidated another replacement fire truck might not be needed right away.

Earlier this week, city officials tied funding needed for an aerial fire truck into a flat fire safety fee that would be placed on garbage and sewer fees.

The flat fee goes back to an initial idea by city officials, but it had been changed to an Emergency Medical Services response fee due to opposition, such as with landlords.

On Tuesday, aldermen will be presented with all options for the revenue generation and there also is the possibility of approving a budget without a fee and having more cuts.

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