A note to our residents
 
By Member Ed St. Louis
November 11, 2020
 

The Bourbonnais Fire Protection District would like to thank those who recently made the effort to vote on our fire tax referendum, regardless of how you voted. While we were disappointed with the outcome, it reinforced that we still have work to do. The board and staff of BFPD will sit down in the near future and discuss our next moves.

We would like you all to know that we are not sitting back and just hoping for a miracle. BFPD serves over 30 square miles including the Village of Bourbonnais. We have seen these financial obstacles coming for a while now, and have been making moves to try and avoid cutting any services or resources.

In June, unfortunately, we eliminated a part time position. In the past year, we had one of our engines refurbished rather than buying new at a cost savings of roughly $350K to the district, and we currently have another engine being refurbished presently that will reflect approximately the same kind of savings to the district. That engine is scheduled for completion within the next month. By doing this it is our fervent hope that these engines will last us another 7-10 years. We are looking at some staffing realignments that should also help us out in the long run.

We continue to apply for grants where we can to try and get staffing or equipment without a cost to the district. We were just fortunate to get a FEMA grant for 3 firefighters. Under this grant, those 3 salaries and benefits will be paid for by FEMA for 3 years. After that, it is the district's cost. An additional FF/PM on each shift is huge. With our call volumes, we need more manning without question, but unfortunately, budgets will not allow for it.

BFPD is the second busiest department in the county behind Kankakee City with the second-lowest tax rate. We need help. We recently took advantage of a reduced cost program where we replaced all of the lightings both inside and outside of the station with LED lighting providing savings on energy costs.

So, please know that the district is doing everything we can do to keep our heads above water for the present time. And we will continue to be diligent in our efforts to save costs where we can. We are doing everything in our power to not affect response times on EMS or fire needs. Knowing that other districts in the county are experiencing very similar economic struggles, mutual aid from other departments is not nearly as dependent as it once was. That is concerning knowing that time is of the essence in many medical emergency events. Again, Thank You! Should you have any questions on what we do or why we do it, please reach out to Chief Ed St. Louis or Deputy Chief Jim Keener.

Respectfully,

The Bourbonnais Fire Protection Team