Village of Dixmoor closes fire department; Financial issues forces shutdown, Harvey to provide protection

December 2, 2013 (DIXMOOR, Ill.)

Harvey officials say its fire department will step in after Dixmoor was forced to close its fire department because of financial issues.

Reaction to the closure has been mixed, but because of money woes, village officials said it had to be done.

Shuttered and dark, the Dixmoor Fire Department is no more.

Longtime resident Hubert Lackients isn't surprised.

"Now we have to do something to straighten out what's going on right now," he said.

Citing a budget deficit of a more than a million dollars village officials voted to disband the town's fire department.

Dixmoor Mayor Dorothy Armstrong could not be reached for comment.

According to village, the department, which had 20 firefighters, cost the town $773,000 a year.

"If it's a cost savings to the village and no safety concerns. It's ok," Lackients said.

Other residents agree but still hate that the closure puts people out of work.

The union that represents the first responders says the average salary of a Dixmoor firefighter is around $28,000 a year.

They were notified in a letter dated last Tuesday of the December 1 dissolution.

Neighboring south suburb Harvey will now provide fire protection for the village and to pay a private ambulance service to provide paramedics.

"I believe this is a good opportunity to share services that benefit both communities in order to provide services efficiently and professionally to the residents of Harvey and Dixmoor," Harvey's mayor Eric Kellogg said in a statement.

The small South suburb of Dixmoor has its share of political scandals, which some say have left the town struggling to survive financially because of falling revenue among other things.

"The money, it's just politics," said Lackients. "Unfortunately this is the result of mismanagement."

Many residents are concerned about the future of their village. The agreement between Harvey and Dixmoor is a three-year agreement, but officials would not say what it is costing Dixmoor, only that it is less than what it would cost to maintain their own fire department.

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