New Lenox Fire Protection District

Both Fire Protection Districts are committed to providing information to residents about consolidation. Residents are encouraged to use the “Consolidation Information” webpages on both the Manhattan Fire District and the Peotone Fire District websites as the source of information.


Dear Peotone Resident:

On behalf of the Peotone Fire Protection District Board of Trustees, we are grateful that the community has chosen a path forward that will allow for a more effective way for us to serve you. A consolidation with the Manhattan Fire Protection District will deliver guaranteed staffing at the Peotone station and help us to be there when you need us most.

In the upcoming weeks and months, we will be implementing our transition plan. It is our understanding that the transition to a fully consolidated district could take up to 60-90 days. As the work to become a consolidated district begins, you have our commitment to keep you fully apprised of our progress. We’re confident in a seamless transition based on the very strong working relationship we have forged with our partners in Manhattan over the last two years.

We’d also like to thank all of our emergency responders for their ongoing commitment and dedication to our community as well. They are the ones, after all, who are doing such great work in Peotone by responding to your needs professionally, skillfully, and compassionately. And, we’re grateful for the leadership that the entire command staff has demonstrated throughout this process.

We would like to thank you, the residents of the Peotone Fire Protection District, for your support and your confidence. It is our privilege to be able to serve on your behalf and to do everything necessary to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones.

Sincerely,


Peotone Fire Protection District Board of Trustees


NEW! Second Townhall Meeting

Town Hall Meeting 10.25.2022 Presentation

Consolidated Financial Analysis Presentation  

Town Hall Meeting Presentation - 9/14/2022

Fact Sheets: Personnel Crisis & Consolidation

Part 1: Board of Trustees Town Hall Meeting Presentation

Part 2: Board of Trustees Town Hall Meeting Presentation - Community Q&A


Press Releases, Announcements & Events


 Potential Consolidation Frequently Asked Questions

    Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the potential consolidation of the Peotone Fire Protection District and the Manhattan Fire Protection District. We encourage residents of both fire protection districts to review the FAQ's. 

To review the answers to the FAQs below, click here! 

  • What does it mean to consolidate two fire protection districts?
  • What’s in it for Manhattan residents?
  • Why consolidate? Why now?
  • From a resident’s perspective, what will be different under a consolidation?
  • What needs to happen in order for the two Districts to consolidate?
  • Why has fully staffing fire protection districts become such a challenge?
  • Is there going to be a vote on this consolidation in the June 2022 election?
  • Aren’t the two Districts already consolidated in some ways & why can’t we keep doing the IGA?
  • What’s in it for Peotone residents?
  • If there is a consolidation, what will the district be called?
  • Will the new board of trustees be composed of equal representation from Peotone and Manhattan?

 What is Peotone Fire Protection District's Intergovernmental Agreement with the Manhattan Fire Protection District?

An Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) is an agreement or contract between two or more governmental bodies. The authority for an IGA is found in the statutes of the State of Illinois as well as the Illinois Constitution. In the case of MFPD and PFPD, this agreement pertains to Fire District administrative staff and administrative staff functions. This IGA does not raise taxes for residents and both districts maintain ownership over their own assets. In this IGA, the Fire Chief and Administrative staff are shared in order to reduce costs, increase efficiencies and increase the level of service. 

The full IGA can be viewed and downloaded here: PFPD & MFPD Amended Agreement 

We encourage residents of both fire protection districts to review the Frequently Asked Questions about the PFPD -MFPD IGA

 


Letters of Support

Illinois Fire Chiefs Association 

Manhattan-Peotone FPD's Fire Protection Services

MABAS 19 Chiefs Association       

Letter of Support  


Statement from the Peotone Fire Protection District regarding a referendum to consolidate with the Manhattan Fire Protection District

(March 17, 2022)- Peotone voters will have an opportunity to approve a consolidation between the Peotone Fire Protection District and the Manhattan Fire Protection District on the upcoming June 28 General Primary Election ballot. 

The Peotone Fire Protection District learned this week that a referendum to consolidate the two agencies will be placed on the ballot of the June election.  A yes or no question on the ballot will read as follows.  “Shall the Peotone Fire Protection District dissolve and be consolidated into the Manhattan Fire Protection District?” 

The Peotone Fire Protection District’s Board of Trustees sees benefits of consolidation because the residents they serve will receive better service by adding full-time firefighter/paramedics and lieutenants.  Additionally, the District anticipates that a consolidation could hold the line on future tax increases with the possibility that their tax burden could be eased going forward.    

The two districts believe a combined fire district will be better equipped to deliver fire, rescue, and emergency medical services to a region that is rapidly growing and evolving.  Further, the districts forecast that a consolidated district will provide long-term financial stability, sustainability, and an opportunity to build a fire service that best serves the communities of Peotone and Manhattan well into the future.

Both fire protection districts are already working in close partnership with one another.  A shared services agreement enacted in October 2020 where the Manhattan FPD provides all administrative support for the Peotone FPD has already generated more than $600,000 in cost recovery and savings for both districts.  If voters approve consolidation, the new district can deliver additional operational, financial, and administrative benefits.  

Both districts have been working over the last several months to educate the communities they serve about the facts related to a potential consolidation so that they can make an informed, educated decision about the future of fire service in their community.  Both districts have hosted community events where residents can ask questions about a possible consolidation.  Both districts have also provided ample, detailed information about a possible consolidation on their websites and social media channels.  Going forward, both districts pledge to continue the outreach and information-sharing concerning potential consolidation.   

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Past Events

For those looking for more information about the benefits a full consolidation can deliver to Peotone and Manhattan, we encourage you to visit our websites.  (www.peotonefire.org and www.manhattanfire.org). We have a dedicated resource page under the “public information” tab.


Thank you to all who participated in our recent Coffee with the Chief events in Peotone and Manhattan.  We held these events after both fire protection districts announced that they see clear financial and operational benefits by consolidating both districts.


In making this announcement, we intended to begin a dialogue with Peotone and Manhattan residents about how consolidation of the two fire protection districts can improve fire service, reduce the burden on taxpayers and ensure that the delivery of critical fire and emergency medical service keeps pace with the growth that is taking place throughout our region.

During the conversations, we’ve had with residents both at the Coffee with the Chief events and elsewhere, residents have asked questions that point to a couple of distinct themes.  They are, a) financial impact and b) how the resources will be shared between the two communities that would be served under one consolidated fire protection district.   

We’d like to take this opportunity to provide additional information about these two issues.  

Financial Impact

Both fire protection districts are currently in a sound financial position.  That position is significantly strengthened by an agreement where both districts share administrative costs.   The shared services agreement has already delivered results in the form of enhanced emergency medical services, response capabilities, and training programs. By sharing resources between the two districts, the partnership has generated approximately $600,000 in cost recovery and savings and has led to a more streamlined budget process.

Furthermore, based on Fiscal Year 2021 the Peotone Fire Protection District’s pension obligation is 132 percent funded.  The Manhattan Fire Protection District’s pension obligation is 77 percent funded.  If there is a consolidation, the new district’s obligation would be approximately 95 percent funded.  And while that percentage would likely shift as the consolidated district hired additional firefighters, a consolidated district would remain in a very solid position from a pension obligation standpoint.

Despite the favorable financial position both districts currently enjoy, neither district can realize the full financial, administrative, and operational benefits without a consolidation.  In Peotone, for example, budget growth in Peotone over the next five to ten years does not support the ability to implement more stable, full-time staffing models, renovate dated facilities, invest in modern equipment, or keep up with explosive regional growth without seeking tax increases.  

Financial strength, as we all know, is never a guarantee.  The key to our long-term financial health relies on a combination of short- and long-term planning.  We need to responsibly plan in a way that ensures service levels are met not just today or next year but over the long term. 

Operational Impact

Some residents have expressed concern that consolidation would divert resources from Manhattan to Peotone or vice versa.  While we certainly understand that concern, residents need to know that neither Manhattan nor Peotone will face a diminished level of service in any way.  In fact, a consolidation would allow for even greater resources serving both communities with the hiring of nine full-time firefighters and paramedics.

A consolidated district would continue to follow national standards to determine staffing levels so that we can respond to any incident in either community.  We also currently deploy a “closest” unit/station response whereby units from neighboring communities lend support and assistance on major incidents.  For example: if there is a structure fire in Peotone, first responders from Monee, Beecher, Manteno, and Manhattan Station 82 are initially dispatched to assist Peotone.  For Manhattan, if there is a structure fire, first responders from New Lenox, Frankfort, Wilmington, and Peotone are initially dispatched.  The closest unit response would be maintained under a consolidated district.   

 And it’s no secret that Will County is in the midst of an economic boom.  With new homes going up at a rapid pace, skyrocketing job growth in the region increased truck and commuter traffic on our roads, and momentum building for the long-anticipated south suburban airport, we anticipate a significantly greater demand for fire service over the long term.  If we weren’t looking down the road and anticipating how we need to grow and adjust as the region grows, we’d be falling short of the commitment we make to every resident we proudly serve.

Here’s the bottom line: A fully consolidated fire protection district will deliver top-notch fire and emergency medical services to both Peotone and Manhattan.  Neither community will receive less service.  Neither community will be “funding” service to another.  If the voters decide to consolidate, the result would be one district committed to delivering the best possible service to both communities. 

Approval Process

We have also received several questions pertaining to the process of consolidation. 

In order for a consolidation to happen, voters will need to approve a referendum.  Placing a referendum on any ballot is a citizen-driven activity and in order for a consolidation to occur, the voters of Peotone would have to place a referendum on the ballot of a future election.   

Who is eligible to vote is an open question simply because there is no way for us to know at this stage what the language on the citizen-driven referendum will say.  This is somewhat frustrating for us because we are not able to provide a clear answer to the residents we serve. 

Our role is to educate residents about what we see as the benefits of consolidation. 

The best way to have your voice heard now is to get involved in the dialogue.  We encourage you to attend future Coffee with the Chief events or share your views with the boards of trustees of each respective fire protection district.

And finally, in listening to your questions and concerns, we’ve learned that there are residents who are viewing a potential consolidation in terms that pit one community against another.  We’d like to address this matter in an upfront manner.

If voters decide to place a referendum on the ballot of a future election and vote to approve consolidation, the result would be one fire protection district serving both communities and residents in unincorporated areas of Will County equally.  One fire protection district would be managed by one command staff and one board making decisions based on what is best for all the people we serve, regardless of what community they live in.  One district would also be comprised of qualified men and women whose job is to deliver critical fire and emergency medical services to everyone in the district regardless of what community they live in.  


Both districts have a proven track record of working well together, be it on the scene of a major fire or medical emergency or at the administrative level making sure we are spending every dollar wisely and giving our firefighters and paramedics everything, they need so we can deliver on our mission.

* * * * * * 

For those looking for more information about the benefits a full consolidation can deliver to Peotone and Manhattan, we encourage you to visit our websites. (www.peotonefire.org and www.manhattanfire.org).  We have a dedicated resource page under the “public information” tab. 


 

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