CARY – Weeks after the Cary Village Board discussed subsidizing the Cary Fire Protection District to prevent the district from changing dispatch providers, the fire district’s Board of Trustees said it is not interested in taking money from the village.
Trustees made their position clear at a meeting last week in which they directed Fire Chief Jeffrey Macko to tell representatives from the village and SEECOM it will not accept a subsidy from the village.
Village Administrator Chris Clark had raised the idea of a $25,000 to $30,000 “financial bridge” at the Committee of the Whole’s May 6 meeting after the fire district received a less expensive contract offer from NERCOMM, the McHenry dispatch center.
Currently, both village police and fire services are dispatched through Crystal Lake-based SEECOM. If the fire district moves to the McHenry center, all calls would be routed there, and police calls would require a transfer to SEECOM, which would lead to a short delay.
At Thursday’s meeting, fire trustees said much of the county already has fractionalized service, including parts of Cary’s district in unincorporated McHenry and Lake counties.
Macko said McHenry offered a rate of $28 a call as opposed to $51, and the contract would save the district an estimated $240,000 over five years.
“I think it was totally wrong for the village to offer to do this,” board President Ernest Carlson said. “It’s not right. We’re trying to save the taxpayers money. What are they doing? They’re taking it out of one pocket and giving it to us? It’s ludicrous.”
Although Clark and Police Chief Patrick Finlon had expressed concerns about having to transfer police calls between dispatch centers, several trustees recoiled at the idea of subsidizing another taxing body.
Macko said he would deliver the message to village and SEECOM officials. The dispatch center had provided a 90-day extension on the fire district’s current contract, and the Board of Trustees agreed to wait to see if SEECOM offered a lower rate.