Illinois Village Wants to Privatize Fire Department

June 30, 2014

One of a number of Illinois towns struggling with increasing pension costs wants to save money by shifting control of its fire department to a private company.

North Riverside Mayor Hubert Hermanek says the village pitched the proposal at a hearing before state regulators in Chicago on Thursday. He says the move could save $700,000 annually.

Illinois Municipal League officials say other cities could try the same solution when the state begins to enforce increasing pension payments in 2016.

The village was called to the Department of Insurance hearing for not following municipal pension laws. Records obtained by The Associated Press show North Riverside officials didn’t fund two pension funds in recent years.

Firefighter union officials say the village wasn’t financially responsible and privatization would put residents at risk.

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