Highwood Voters say “Yes” to combining fire services with Highland Park

March 15 Referendum Passes

The Highwood Fire Station. Highwood will join services with Highland Park.
The Highwood Fire Station. Highwood will join fire services with Highland Park starting July 1. – City of Highwood photo

theYOUjournal staff

Voters gave a hearty approval to a proposed Highwood and Highland Park fire and ambulance service partnership referendum Tuesday, an agreement which is a cost-saving measure for both municipalities.

The agreement had been unanimously approved by the boards of both city council’s.

“This decision was not taken lightly by the city’s staff, elected officials or the Highwood voters,” said Scott Coren, Highwood’s City Manager. “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.”

According to officials, the State of Illinois passed a law in June 2014 which slanted to push residents to vote against it. Highwood is the first municipality in the state to successfully pass this referendum question despite the odds.

“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,” said Highwood Mayor Charles Percaro. The Highland Park shared services are scheduled to begin on July 1. 

Mayor Pecaro added that he is thankful for the many residents who provided feedback on the issue at the city hall and during town meetings. 

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to extend Highland Park’s exceptional fire, EMS and fire inspection services to the City of Highwood,” said Ghida S. Neukirch, city manager of Highland Park.  “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.”

 

At the Nov. 17 Highwood Chamber of Commerce meeting at Barrel Crossing the mayor speaks to guests.
Mayor Charles Pecaro speaks about combining fire services with Highland Park last fall  at a  Highwood Chamber of Commerce mixer at Barrel Crossing Tap & Grille. City Manager Scott Coren is left. – Tina Johansson photo

 

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