The City of Harrisburg has drawn up an agreement with Saline County E-911 saying the fire department will not respond outside city limits after July 1, but there was no quorum at a special meeting 8 a.m. Friday to vote on that agreement.
However, Saline County Board passed a resolution Thursday night to tone other county departments to the territory Harrisburg Fire Department currently serves, effectively meaning Harrisburg is cut out of county territory regardless of successful passage of a 911 agreement between the county and the city.
Though commissioners Ron Fearheiley, Ron Crank and Bart Schiff were not at the Friday meeting — meaning no action could be taken — Mayor Eric Gregg and Commissioner John McPeek held what they described as a press conference for the media in attendance.
Both said they had wanted to examine the 911 agreement and vote on it as a council before the July 1 deadline came to pass.
“If something was turned into the county, I didn’t vote on it,” Gregg said.
McPeek said he also did not vote on an agreement.
“I wanted to see the agreement and vote on it,” Gregg said.
Gregg said he believes the county’s current plan to dispatch other fire departments to the Harrisburg fire coverage territory is “a logistical nightmare.”
“The map the county has drawn up is not going to work. It’s going to get somebody killed,” Gregg said.
City Attorney Todd Bittle said he had drawn up a new 911 agreement after the council voted unanimously Dec. 6 to cease out-of-city fire response unless the Saline County Board paid the city $20,000 to cover the previous six months’ estimated expenses of responding to 10 county fire calls.
Bittle said he provided a copy of the agreement to 911 Director Lt. Tracy Felty and he passed it along to the Illinois Commerce Commission which did not approve it. Bittle said there is still a need to approve a 911 agreement, though with the county board’s Thursday action, Saline County Central Dispatch should not be toning Harrisburg Fire Department to county fires after Sunday, regardless.