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Rolling Meadows reverses course, OKs fire station study
By Peter McGrain | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 4/29/2010 12:03 AM

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Reversing a March vote, the Rolling Meadows City Council has approved a resolution to move forward on an environmental assessment of the land planned for a controversial third fire station.

The assessment is required if the station is to be built with state and federal grant money.

The assessment, at a cost of $20,000, was approved by a vote of 4 to 2 Tuesday night. Ward 1 Alderman John Pitzaferro and 4th Ward Alderman Brad Judd voted against the measure.

In March, the council rejected by a vote of 5 to 2 a proposal for an assessment from Burke Engineering of Rosemont that was priced at $29,000. Burke Engineering agreed to bring the cost down to $20,000 to win approval.

Rolling Meadows was awarded an Assistance to Firefighters Grant from FEMA worth $1.157 million for the construction of the new station, which would cover about half of the costs. The city also has an additional $100,000 from a state grant. From the awarding of the grant in October, the city has a 36-month window to complete the station or it will lose the grant.

Mike Cannon, a resident of Rolling Meadows, brought up a petition signed by 102 residents to delay building the third fire station until the city is more fiscally sound.

"We can't keep spending money we don't have," said Cannon.

Judd said that "90 percent of his residents" did not want to spend money they did not have to build the fire station. Judd compared it to buying a Mercedes just because it was 40 percent off, even if you didn't have the money for it.

"To me, $20,000 is too big of a gamble for something we might not even build," said Pitzaferro.

The fire station would improve response times for residents and businesses in southern Rolling Meadows. Mayor Kenneth Nelson said that some equipment would be relocated to serve the area better.