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By Devin Rose
The River Forest village board has elected to spend $650,000 to buy a new fire truck — the largest priced item in its Capital Improvement Program for the next four fiscal years.
The fire department recommended purchasing the fire apparatus, called a quint because it has five functions, so that the village would no longer have to rely on the ladder truck that they've been sharing with Oak Park's fire department since 1998. Under an intergovernmental agreement that year between the two villages, each one paid half the cost for the truck that is housed in Oak Park, according to a presentation at the Jan. 22 meeting by Village Administrator Eric Palm.
River Forest continues to pay half of the annual maintenance costs, which are approximately $16,000. But the shared truck only comes to River Forest about five percent of the time it's in use. So the board agreed to follow a recommendation to opt out of the agreement in the 2014 fiscal year, which begins May 1, and buy its own truck. Either village can opt out if they give 18 months notice to the other. Once that happens, the truck is either sold and the proceeds are equally shared, or the village keeping the truck pays the other village half of the truck's value.
Palm said both fire chiefs have already talked about the matter. River Forest currently has two engine trucks, but three pieces of apparatus are critical for providing and receiving mutual aid services, Palm said during the presentation. The engine trucks each have a pump, water tank and fire hose but no aerial ladder. The quint has a pump, water tank, hose, aerial ladder and ground ladder. It will be paid for through the village's Capital Equipment Replacement Fund, or CERF.
Besides the quint, the village has budgeted $240,000 from the CERF to pay for roof replacement and tuck pointing at the public works garage. But since that property could be purchased as part of a development at the adjacent former Hines Lumber site, Palm said the maintenance can be deferred a few years until it's known whether the garage will stay there.
The CERF will also fund upgrades to the police department's firing range, two squad cars, a county-mandated automated fingerprint system, faster hydraulic extrication equipment and Self Contained Breathing Apparatuses, or SCBAs. The village will use $35,000 from that fund to put a new dump body on its dump truck, which will extend the truck's life about seven years and save money in 2014.
Street patching and resurfacing and critical sidewalk repairs will be paid for with money from the general fund, motor fuel taxes and the water and sewer fund. The village budgeted $594,610 on alley maintenance, with about 80 percent of that contingent on receiving an Illinois Green Infrastructure Grant. That grant would pay for repairs in five alleys near Harlem and North avenues. Critical to the water and sewer fund are sewer lining maintenance, sewer point repairs, pump station improvements and water main replacement. A server replacement was the village's only critical information technology project.
"This is key to the serious nature this administration takes in forecasting our expenditures," said Trustee Carmela Corsini after the presentation. Other trustees said they were appreciative of the work done by village staff.
They had no objections with the CIP, including a pilot program for outsourcing street sweeping in 2014. The sweeper was scheduled for replacement in 2014 at a cost of $175,000, but outsourcing is expected to cost $23,500.