North Riverside continues to seek ways to be cheap to save a few bucks. We need to keep our fire department unionized. First, fire personnel are held to higher educational and performance standards and, secondly, they have served and sacrificed for many years for this village.
The facts are the total property and sales tax the village receives far outweighs whatever private campaign contributions have been made by special interest groups. Therefore, any decision to lessen the quality of the fire protection service should be left to the citizens of North Riverside by referendum.
Since there has been much talk about the shortfall of funds for and lack of funding for firefighters pensions there needs to be a serious look at what to do other that to privatize to save a few bucks.
We have a so called gold mine of money coming in from the existing red light violations to fund the police pension. Therefore, by adding more cameras to busy intersections, not only on the main thoroughfares, would be a lucrative step.
To take it further, adding mobile units at the stop signs along 26th Street at 3rd and 5th avenues to be programmed to work during high traffic periods would be a windfall of cash. On a daily average at just the one stop sign 30 to 40 cars (including police and other city vehicles) are in violation.
There needs to be a watchdog committee made of up private citizens to keep an eye out on how the village abuses our tax dollars.
In closing, the mayor and board should not have the unilateral power to take an action that would endanger the safety of our property and lives. There are viable options to keeping our firefighters unionized and these should be implemented before privatization.
There is a board meeting Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. at the village hall. Come out and support your firemen and the union.