Harvard fire district OKs use of loan to fund new engine

Questions regarding fiscal shortcomings to be addressed

With one of its engines not operational and one that recently sustained damage during a house fire, the Harvard Fire Protection District’s board decided Tuesday to secure a bank loan to fund a new pumper truck.

Over the past few weeks, board president Thomas Condon and trustee Josh Kelnhofer met with a number of banks to secure financing for the engine.

After a visit with officials at Harvard State Bank, Condon said the bank is willing to offer financing up to $450,000 and is offering a number of loan options, including one with a fixed interest rate of 3.2 percent.

Terms have yet to be determined, but the board approved moving forward with Harvard State Bank without opposition.

Two bids for the work were opened during a special meeting earlier in the day, but Condon said only one met specific requirements that the district is looking for.

After the vote, trustee Joe Clarke addressed a number of budget shortfalls the district is facing.

At this point in the fiscal year, Clarke said, the district has spent in excess of its projected income by $35,000.

He also estimated an additional $132,000 need to be paid in payroll expenses before property tax dollars come in June, which quickly will exhaust reserve funding if this trend continues.

“We are at dire straits, gentlemen,” Clarke said.

Condon said he would like to have trustee and treasurer Jim Carbonetti, who was not in attendance Tuesday, at the table to discuss what factors have led to the shortcomings.

Also during the meeting, Harvard Battalion Chief Bryan Pierce provided a status update on Engine 747, which sustained damage after responding to a fire on Altenburg Road in November.

Pierce said the engine sustained $37,654 in damage, but insurance will cover that total minus a $1,000 deductible. He said he hopes for the engine to be fully operational within the next two weeks.

While the engine has been under repair, Harvard has used engines from the Marengo Fire Protection District and the Lincolnwood Fire Department to respond to calls.

As a form of repayment, staff are exploring the possibility of using the windshield from the decommissioned Engine 747 to replace a cracked windshield on Marengo’s vehicle.