Leaders pass Highwood, Highland Park fire and EMS services referendum
Leaders at the city councils of Highwood and Highland Park -- in addition to voters -- passed the proposed Highwood and Highland Park fire and ambulance service partnership referendum.
The proposal was on Tuesday's ballot and received unanimous approval. Now residents of Highwood and Highland Park will receive shared fire and EMS services.
“This decision was not taken lightly by the city’s staff, elected officials or the Highwood voters,” Scott Coren, Highwood’s city manager, said. “Its passage shows residents’ confidence in Highland Park’s internationally accredited fire department. Their outstanding service levels, combined with the significant positive financial impact for both communities made this a prudent decision.”
Two years ago, Illinois approved a law mandating that municipalities offer uniting fire and emergency medical services. The requirement’s language was worded in such a way that it encouraged residents to vote against the mandate. Now Highwood is the first Illinois municipality to pass the referendum in spite of these challenges.
“This partnership will not only provide lasting financial benefits while maintaining high service levels but also become a model for municipalities seeking to share services with their neighbors,” Mayor Charles Percaro said.
The new shared services will start July 1.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to extend Highland Park’s exceptional fire, EMS and fire inspection services to the city of Highwood,” Ghida S. Neukirch, Highland Park city manager, said. “We remain committed to providing high quality public safety services to both communities at all times, and we will continue to keep public safety as one of our core priorities.”