Pecaro makes case for Highwood fire merger with Highland Park
Highwood and Highland Park have tentatively agreed to make Highland Park the emergency services provider for both cities, and Highwood Mayor Charlie Pecaro recently took the partnership to the people.
The mayor opened the city's monthly newsletter with an explanation of the agreement, insisting it is a step forward for Highwood in several ways. Pecaro said the proposal was evaluated on its abilities to save the city money, provide quality safety services and support Highwood's existing crew of firefighters.
"Without a doubt I, the staff and the City Council know that by going to Highland Park we will exceed current safety levels," Pecaro said. "Highland Park has an exceptional internationally accredited department and they train rigorously to maintain that level."
Pecaro said the city projects savings of $9.3 million over 10 years. He also said that a careful review of the response routes of each of the current fire departments showed enough redundancy that city officials don't expect any change in response times.
The Highwood City Council approved an intergovernmental agreement with Highland Park Nov. 17. In order for the agreement to take effect, Highwood must first agree to disband its current fire department and close the fire station, a decision that will be decided by voters during a March 15 referendum.
Pecaro said the city's four full-time firefighters have either taken other jobs, retired or have agreed to join the Highland Park Fire Department.
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