Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SB3255
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Full Text of SB3255  97th General Assembly




State of Illinois
2011 and 2012


Introduced 2/1/2012, by Sen. William R. Haine


70 ILCS 705/30 new

    Amends the Fire Protection District Act. Provides for the creation of unified fire protection districts by contiguous units of local government (municipalities, counties, fire protection districts, and townships) to reduce the costs of providing fire protection and emergency medical services. Provides that unified fire protection districts may be created by an intergovernmental agreement. Sets forth the requirements for the petition and intergovernmental agreement, including referendum approval of the agreement. Sets forth the process for referendum approval. Contains other provisions. Effective immediately.

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SB3255LRB097 18850 KMW 64088 b

1    AN ACT concerning local government.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 5. The Fire Protection District Act is amended by
5adding Section 30 as follows:
6    (70 ILCS 705/30 new)
7    Sec. 30. Unified Fire Protection District.
8    (a) Purpose. A Unified Fire Protection District may be
9formed by filing a petition for a referendum for the purpose of
10integrating existing service areas within contiguous units of
11local government to achieve a net savings in the cost of fire
12protection and emergency medical services in every included
13jurisdiction by the reduction or elimination of duplicative
14administrative costs, equipment, or capital expenditures, to a
15level that is preferably less, but no greater than, the
16aggregate costs of the fire departments included in the
17petition; unless the District can demonstrate any increase in
18the aggregate costs or an increase in the costs of the fire
19department of a participating unit of local government would
20justify an upgrade of the quality of services provided by the
21District or unit of local government, pursuant to an
22intergovernmental agreement. For the purpose of this Act, any
23county, municipality, fire protection district, or township is



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1a unit of local government eligible to petition for unification
2with another unit of local government. The creation of a
3Unified Fire Protection District shall be secured by an
4intergovernmental agreement that includes terms that meet the
5standards set forth in subsection (e).
6    (b) Petition. A Unified Fire Protection District may be
7formed upon petition signed by the lesser of: (i) at least 100
8legal voters in each of the units of local government proposed
9to be unified or (ii) or 10% of the legal voters in each of the
10units of local government to be included in the Unified Fire
11Protection District. The petition shall be filed in the circuit
12court for the county in which the greater part of the land in
13the proposed Unified Fire Protection District will be situated.
14The petition shall set forth (i) the names of the units of
15local government proposed to be included, (ii) the name of the
16proposed Unified Fire Protection District, (iii) the
17advantages to be derived from the inclusion of the units of
18local government in a Unified Fire Protection District, (iv)
19the number of trustees who shall serve on the board, and (v)
20whether the trustees shall be elected or appointed. Upon its
21filing, the petition shall be presented to the court, and the
22court shall fix the date and hour for a hearing.
23    (c) Notice of hearing. Upon the filing of the petition, the
24court shall set a hearing date that is at least 4 weeks but not
25more than 8 weeks after the date the petition is filed, and the
26court, or the clerk or sheriff upon order of the court, shall



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1give notice 21 days before the hearing in one or more daily or
2weekly newspapers of general circulation in each county where a
3unit of local government included in the petition is organized
4and by posting at least 10 copies of the notice in conspicuous
5places in the proposed District. The notice must describe the
6proposed units of local government to be included and must
7state that if the conditions required by this Section are met,
8then the proposition for the creation of the District shall be
9submitted to the voters of the proposed District by order of
10the court.
11    (d) Hearing and referendum. To certify a question for
12referendum approval, the court must find that: (i) based upon a
13preponderance of the evidence, the representatives of each of
14the parties to the proposed District has executed an
15intergovernmental agreement that includes terms that are in
16compliance with the standards required for the formation of a
17District, as set forth in subsection (e); and (ii) the terms of
18an agreed upon intergovernmental agreement have been approved
19by the governing bodies of each of the units of local
20government and any collective bargaining unit involved.
21    At the hearing, the court shall first determine if the
22petition is supported by the required number of valid
23signatures of legal voters within the contiguous units of local
24government. If the petition is proper, then the court shall
25remand the matter to a joint committee for the purpose of
26negotiating the terms of an intergovernmental agreement. The



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1court shall appoint members of the joint committee from the
2following parties:
3        (1) At least one representative of each unit of local
4    government included within the proposed service area of the
5    proposed District;
6        (2) At least one representative of each exclusive
7    bargaining representative that is a party to a collective
8    bargaining unit within a unit of local government included
9    within the proposed District; and
10        (3) At least one representative of the petitioners from
11    each unit of local government included within the proposed
12    District after an election among the legal voters signatory
13    to the petition from such units of local government.
14    Committee members shall meet from time to time to negotiate
15an intergovernmental agreement. Negotiations may continue for
16a period of 90 days or, if the court determines that additional
17time will facilitate agreement, longer. If no agreement is
18reached, the court shall dismiss the petition.
19    If an agreement is reached, the court shall schedule an
20evidentiary hearing with notice thereof to determine if the
21terms of the agreement are in compliance with the requirements
22of subsection (e).
23    An agreement shall be executed by the authorized
24representative of each party appointed to the committee by the
25court for each unit of local government included in the
26proposed District. If the agreement is not executed by



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1representatives of all 3 parties of a unit of local government
2included in the original petition, then the petition may
3proceed so long as the agreement is executed by all parties
4representing 2 or more units of local government included in
5the original petition. The non-consenting units of local
6government shall be dismissed, and an amended petition on
7behalf of the consenting units shall be scheduled for an
8evidentiary hearing.
9    The following persons or entities, or their duly authorized
10representatives, shall have standing to present evidence at the
11hearing: the petitioners, the units of local government that
12will be included in the proposed District, and representatives
13of each exclusive bargaining representative that is a party to
14a collective bargaining unit within a unit of local government
15included within the proposed District.
16    If the court finds that all of the requirements of
17subsection (e) are not met, it may remand the matter for
18further negotiations between the parties and consider an
19amended intergovernmental agreement in the same manner as
20provided in this Section for an initial intergovernmental
22    If the court finds, by a preponderance of the evidence,
23that the petition is supported by a proper intergovernmental
24agreement, the court shall enter an order certifying the
25proposition to the proper election officials, who shall submit
26to the legal voters of each included unit of local government



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1at an election thereafter the question of whether the creation
2of the proposed District shall be approved. Notice of the
3election shall be given and the election conducted in the
4manner provided by the general election law. The notice shall
5state the boundaries of the District. The election authority
6must submit the proposition in substantially the following
8        Shall the (names of existing departments be combined)
9    and (name of the Unified Fire Protection District) be
10    created with an aggregate tax extension of (insert amount
11    of tax-capped entity) with the authority to levy property
12    taxes for the following purposes: (insert purposes)?
13    The court shall cause a written statement of the results of
14the election to be filed in the court. If, in each unit of
15local government included within the boundaries of the
16District, a majority of the voters voting on the question shall
17favor the proposition, then the court shall issue an order
18stating that the District has been approved.
19    (e) Minimum standards of service. The terms of the
20intergovernmental agreement shall guarantee that all of the
21following standards of service are met:
22        (1) The formation of the District will result in no net
23    increase in the cost of fire protection services and
24    emergency medical services for every included unit of local



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1    government based on the reduction or elimination of
2    duplicative administrative staff, operational costs,
3    services, equipment, or capital expenditures, unless the
4    District can demonstrate that an increase in the aggregate
5    cost of the fire departments of the participating units of
6    local government costs justify an upgrade in the quality of
7    services provided to the District as a whole or a
8    participating unit of local government, as provided in the
9    terms of the intergovernmental agreement.
10        (2) The formation of the District will not increase
11    average response times in any included unit of local
12    government.
13        (3) The taxing authority of a District shall be limited
14    to ensure that the transition from providing fire
15    protection by means of separate units of local government
16    to extended service areas by means of the District results
17    in no net increase in property taxes levied upon taxpayers
18    residing in an affected jurisdiction as follows:
19            (i) Any property tax levied by the District on a
20        resident taxpayer shall be offset by an abatement of
21        taxes in the affected jurisdiction in an amount equal
22        to the amount of the District's levy; and
23            (ii) Municipalities that fund fire department
24        operations in whole or part from revenues collected
25        from sources other than property taxes shall continue
26        to contribute those revenues to the District to fund



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1        operations and shall not substitute property taxes for
2        such revenues, unless otherwise agreed to by all
3        parties to the intergovernmental agreement.
4        (4) The District shall apply savings in operating costs
5    as follows:
6            (i) 50% shall be applied to reduce, pro rata, the
7        property tax levy for fire or emergency medical
8        services applied to property owners residing in the
9        units of local government included in the District; and
10            (ii) 50% shall be contributed, pro rata, as
11        applicable, to each included unit of local
12        government's Firemen's Pension Fund, and those
13        contributions shall be applied as a credit to reduce
14        the unfunded accrued liability of the Fund, if one
15        exists. If no unfunded accrued liabilities exist, such
16        savings in operating costs shall be applied to reduce,
17        pro rata, the property tax levy for fire or emergency
18        medical services applied to property owners residing
19        in the units of local government included in the
20        District that are parties to the intergovernmental
21        agreement.
22    (f) Governing Board. The District shall be governed by a
23Board of 5 or 7 trustees established as provided in subsection
24(j). The Board shall elect a chairperson from among its
25members, who shall vote only in the case of a tie. The vote of
26each trustee shall be proportional to the population of the



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1unit of local government represented. The population for the
2allocation of votes under this subsection shall be based upon
3the most recent federal decennial census results. The trustees
4shall be elected or appointed in the same manner and shall meet
5the same eligibility requirements of other elected or appointed
6fire protection district trustees.
7    (g) Powers and duties. The District shall have the power,
8duties, and obligations of a Fire Protection District as
9otherwise provided under this Act, except as modified or
10limited by the provisions of this Section. The District shall
11develop a budget funded at a level sufficient to ensure the
12quality of service provided to the residents of the service
13area within the boundary of the included units of local
14government continues at a level equal to or greater than those
15provided prior to the modification.
16    (h) Local fire departments. The establishment of a District
17as a separate named unit of local government shall not prevent
18its constituent units of local government from continuing to
19identify their historical fire departments with the names of
20their localities. In that event, local fire departments shall
21be described as [local name] Branch of the [named District].
22    (i) Single chain of command. Upon the entry of an order
23establishing a District, the fire departments of the
24constituent units of local government shall lose their separate
25existence under separate chains of command and shall be
26operated under a single chain of command under the leadership



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1of one fire chief who shall be appointed by the Board of the
2District. Chiefs and subordinate chief officers who are
3redundant under the single chain of command or consolidated
4shifts established under the Board shall be eligible to apply
5for vacancies in positions, including but not limited to
6training officer, EMS coordinator, fire inspector, or company
7officer, that may be established under the terms of the
8intergovernmental agreement entered into by the parties,
9provided that the positions shall not be available to any
10person who is already retired and receiving benefits under
11Article 4 of the Illinois Pension Code. Any reduction to a
12bargaining unit position resulting from the abolishment of a
13non-bargaining unit position shall be subject to compliance
14with the bargaining rights of any affected collective
15bargaining representative. Upon taking office, the fire chief
16of the District shall command all shifts covering the unified
17service area of the units of local government included in the
18District. The District shall thereupon become a body politic
19and corporate with all the powers, rights, duties, and
20obligations vested in it under the terms of the
21intergovernmental agreement and as otherwise provided under
22the provisions of this Act.
23    (j) Trustees. Upon the organization of the District, the
24duties of each included unit of local government relating to
25operating a fire department and emergency medical services
26within the boundaries of the District shall be transferred to



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1the Board of the District to be exercised according to the
2terms of the intergovernmental agreement and as otherwise
3provided under the provisions of this Act. If a District is
4wholly contained within a single county, the trustees for the
5District shall be appointed by the chief executive officer of
6the county board with the advice and consent of the county
7board. If the District lies within more than one county, the
8number of trustees who are residents of a county shall be in
9proportion, as nearly as practicable, to the number of
10residents of the District who reside in that county in relation
11to the total population of the District, unless the District
12has voted by referendum to elect the trustees.
13    Thereafter, each trustee shall be succeeded by a resident
14of the same county who shall be appointed by the same
15appointing authority. The appropriate appointing authorities
16shall appoint at least 5 trustees of the District within 60
17days after the entry of the order establishing the District.
18The trustees shall be electors in the District, provided that
19the Board shall consist of a trustee representing each unit of
20local government included in the District. The trustees shall
21hold such terms of offices and shall have the powers and
22qualifications that are provided for trustees under Section 4.
23In the event of a conflict between the terms of the
24intergovernmental contract and the powers of the trustees
25otherwise provided by law, the terms of the intergovernmental
26contract shall prevail and supersede.



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1    (k) Firefighters and EMS personnel employed by a unit of
2local government included in the District. All firefighters and
3EMS personnel lawfully in the employment of any unit of local
4government included in the District shall remain members of the
5fire departments that they are serving on the effective date of
6this amendatory Act of the 97th General Assembly, but shall be
7subject to the unified chain of command established under the
9    A District consisting of any fire department that employs
10full-time officers or members shall be subject to Sections
1116.01 through 16.18 of this Act unless agreed otherwise by
12terms of the intergovernmental agreement agreed to by the units
13of local government and the exclusive bargaining agents
14representing employees engaged in providing fire protection or
15emergency medical services within the service area of the
17    (l) Contracts between an exclusive bargaining agent and a
18unit of local government. Contracts in effect between an
19exclusive bargaining agent and a unit of local government shall
20continue according to their terms. Successor contracts shall be
21negotiated in accordance with the provisions of the Illinois
22Public Labor Relations Act. Upon agreement of any 2 or more
23units of local government and corresponding exclusive
24bargaining representatives, and approval of that agreement by a
25majority of the members of each respective bargaining unit, any
262 or more bargaining units may be consolidated within a single



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1bargaining unit.
2    (m) Distribution of specified taxes. Any unit of local
3government that is included in a District shall be exempt from
4any reduction in the formula for distribution of income tax
5revenues, pursuant to Section 901 of the Illinois Income Tax
6Act, and personal property replacement tax revenues, pursuant
7to subsection (c) of Section 201 of the Illinois Income Tax
8Act, collected from local taxpayers by State agencies and
9heretofore redistributed to the units of local government based
10on the formula and laws in effect as of the effective date of
11this amendatory Act of the 97th General Assembly.
12    A District shall be eligible to receive the distribution of
13income tax revenues collected from local taxpayers according to
14the same formula applicable to municipalities.
15    (n) Outstanding bonds and notes. In the case of any unit of
16local government included in a District that has bonds or notes
17outstanding that fund the operation of its fire department that
18are a lien on funds on hand in the treasury at the time of
19inclusion, the lien shall be unimpaired by the inclusion and
20the lien shall continue in favor of the bond or note holders.
21The funds on hand subject to the lien shall be set apart and
22held for the purpose of retiring such secured debt, and no such
23funds shall be transferred into the general funds of the
24District until all indebtedness of the unit of local government
25entering into the District has been discharged.
26    In the case of any unit of local government joined into a



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1District that has unsecured debts outstanding at the time of
2inclusion, any funds in the treasury of the unit of local
3government otherwise available and not committed shall, to the
4extent necessary, be applied to the payment of those debts.
5    All property in the District, without discrimination
6between the territory in the several units of local government,
7shall be subject to taxation to pay the debts, bonds, and
8obligations created after the establishment of the District.
9    (o) Effects of inclusion. The inclusion of any unit of
10local government into a District shall not, unless agreed upon
11in an intergovernmental agreement, affect the obligation of any
12contract entered into by the unit of local government. Such
13contracts shall remain the obligation of the unit of local
14government that incurred the obligation.
15    The inclusion of units of local government shall not
16adversely affect proceedings for the collection or enforcement
17of any tax. The proceedings shall proceed to a finality as
18though no inclusion had taken place. The proceeds thereof shall
19be paid over to the treasurer of the unit of local government
20subject to the terms of the intergovernmental agreement to be
21used, however, for the purpose for which the tax was levied or
23    All suits pending in any court on behalf of or against any
24unit of local government relating to the provision of fire or
25emergency medical services when the unit of local government is
26joined into a District may be prosecuted or defended in the



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1name of the unit of local government unless otherwise provided
2in the intergovernmental agreement. All judgments obtained for
3any unit of local government joined into a District shall be
4collected and enforced by the District for its benefit unless
5otherwise provided in the intergovernmental agreement.
6    The title to all property of a unit of local government
7related to providing fire or emergency medical services in the
8District that is transferred to the District under the terms of
9the intergovernmental agreement shall remain vested in the unit
10of local government, to be held for the same purposes and uses,
11and subject to the same conditions as before inclusion.
12    (p) Exclusivity. Any intergovernmental contracts otherwise
13authorized by law that relate to the combining of contracts or
14the integration of service areas where fire protection or
15emergency medical services are performed shall be done
16exclusively by referendum in accordance with this Section.
17    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
18becoming law.