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Frequently Asked Questions
How many people work at WFPD?
- WFPD employs the minimum state-required staff: two people in an ambulance and three in a fire engine; a total of 5 per shift, 24-hours a day. All staff are cross-trained. For instance, if a fire call in the unincorporated area of the district requires the water truck to haul water, the ambulance crew will jump into the Tender truck to haul water- but then we have nobody to operate the ambulance. This plan would add an additional crew of two people- so a fire engine, water tender, AND an ambulance could be dispatched to a fire.
- Four of the 5 people per shift must be paramedics.
- One of the five has to be either an officer or a designated acting officer.
Has anyone discussed dissolving the WFPD and merging with other fire departments?
- Our fire district operates at significantly lower rates than neighboring departments. Even if the proposed referendum passes, our rates will still be less than what you would pay if you were transferred to a neighboring district:
Local tax rates: 2021 year Amount paid for $300,000 house Winfield Fire 0.3598 $359.80 Winfield Proposed 2022 0.5325 $532.50 Carol Stream 0.7764 $776.40 West Chicago 0.9126 $912.60
- Dissolving the Winfield Fire Protection District would divide the current residents to their nearest neighbor. Each resident would then be automatically assigned the tax rate of the Fire District they were absorbed into. Those tax rates will be higher than the proposed WFPD referendum proposed tax rate.
- If the referendum is passed, your tax rates would still be lower than what neighboring communities pay and you would maintain local control of elected trustees.
- A yes vote for the referendum is a vote to keep your taxes from raising as high as other nearby residents.
Why does a fire truck show up with an ambulance?
- Sometimes a fire engine crew is dispatched to assist a medical call; this is done when additional assistance is needed. Because we only have one ambulance crew, the fire crew will have their fire equipment with them in case they need to respond to a fire call while assisting on the medical call.
- Every event is assigned a service ticket number at the DuPage County 911 Dispatch Center (DuCOM). No matter how many trucks and crews are sent to an event, each event has one ticket number.
Why does WFPD have cash reserves when it is asking for a referendum?
- WFPD has never borrowed money to buy equipment or build/repair buildings. These purchases have always been made with cash (which requires saving every year). However, due to ongoing increasing expenses with a flat income level, cash reserves are now being utilized to cover operating expenses. Equipment is breaking down more frequently and reserves are disappearing quickly.
- There is no longer money being placed into reserve. Because they face significant equipment failures due to aging vehicles, our reserves will be depleted as soon as a major expense occurs. At a trustee meeting it was reported that the reserves will be depleted in only a couple of years at the rate we are using those funds to cover both operating costs and emergency equipment repairs.
- For at least 20 years the Winfield Fire Protection District has not had a finding by DuPage County for exceeding the allowed two years of cash operating reserves (source: WFPD Trustee Meeting, March 2022). The “reserves” that many people talk about are what the district saves each year to purchase new vehicles- just like when your savings account grows as you save money to pay for a roof replacement, new furnace, or a new car.
How is new equipment purchased?
- WFPD has never carried debt for large purchases. Every truck and building has always been paid for with cash. When vehicles are purchased with cash, significant savings can be negotiated in the purchase price, saving taxpayer money.
How many people will be hired if the referendum passes?
- If the referendum passes, an additional 2 full-time Paramedic positions would be created.
- Each full-time position requires 3 people. Since staff work 24 hours on-duty and then 48 hours off-duty, it takes 3 people to cover 3 days of work.
- No administrative positions would be created.
Why should we hire full-time staff and not more part time staff?
- WFPD employs 5 part-time crew to fill in as needed. Part-time crew averages a 33% turnover rate. Each year they hire and train 3-5 new staff, who often leave when they find full-time work.
- Industry demand for Paramedics has made it almost impossible to fully staff with and rely on part-time employees. All of our surrounding communities have transitioned from part-time to full-time because it was so difficult to keep part-time staff.
Why should Winfield build a new firehouse instead of remodeling the downtown building?
- The current firehouse cannot hold two additional people or an additional ambulance.
- The current downtown firehouse was completed in 1974 as a meeting place for volunteer firefighters. It was not designed to house seven full-time staff living around the clock, and it was not designed to hold the number of vehicles that are needed now, and it is in need of major renovations to keep using it- just as your own home needs.
- In 1972 the population of Winfield Fire District was only about 5,000 people. Today the population is 32,000 people. More people generate more calls for medical service.
- As the population has grown, traffic has grown, and that includes freight traffic on the railroad. Downtown Winfield traffic congestion compounds when trains pass through. Building a new station on County Farm Road would allow access south of the tracks by the viaduct.
- Building on County Farm Road would significantly increase response times to the areas North of Geneva Road.
Where would the new firehouse be located?
- At the corner of County Farm Road and Churchill Road.
- The Fire District already owns the property.
- The property is zoned only for residential homes or a fire station.
Will the South station be opened?
- The previous three referenda would have funded the opening of the South station. Because the community asked for a lower referendum request, opening the South station is not possible at this time.
- However, moving the main firehouse to County Farm Road would guarantee no train delays in getting to the South end of the fire district.
How are the Village of Winfield and Winfield Fire Protection District related?
- VOW and WFPD are two distinct taxing bodies. The WFPD serves the unincorporated areas around Winfield in addition to residents of the Village of Winfield.
- In fact, Village of Winfield is only ⅓ of the total area served by the WFPD.
- Half the homes served by WFPD have Wheaton, West Chicago, or Carol Stream addresses.
If the referendum passes, how much will my taxes be?
|Home Value||Current WFPD||Proposed WFPD||Monthly Cost Difference||Warrenville||Carol Stream||West Chicago|
© Save the Winfield Fire Department, 2022
Save Winfield Fire Department is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Winfield Fire Protection District.
A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is (or will be) available on the Board’s official website (www.elections.il.gov) or for purchase from the State Board of Elections, Springfield, Illinois.