Training is underway for Elburn’s Citizen Emergency Response Team, with 18 individuals taking part in the first session since the program was disbanded in 2018.
Elburn Police Chief Nick Sikora said at the Village Board meeting March 7 that CERT is pulling membership from not only the village of Elburn, but adding residents from Campton Hills, as well as the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District.
Sikora said CERT is a nationwide training program administered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The program educates community members about disaster preparedness and provides seven sessions of training in the skills necessary to respond to hazards – natural and otherwise – that might impact the area.
Disaster response skills include fire safety, light search and rescue, team coordination and disaster medical operations, according to the Milton Township website. Milton Township, which is located in DuPage County, coordinates CERT training in the wider area.
Once participants complete the training and pass a background check, they can join a pool of on-call volunteers to help with activities such as traffic control and crowd control for local events and during potential disasters, Sikora said.
Sikora said he was happy with the turnout for the program.
“It’s a good starting point for us,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it. Volunteers are a nice asset to have.”
Sikora said CERT members will have the opportunity to get involved in activities in coordination with other local emergency management entities, such as the Kane County Department of Emergency Management, city of St. Charles and other emergency services.
He said with these groups available to assist one another, the responses they can offer become “more cohesive.”
According to the Milton Township website, the mission of the “Citizen Corps” is to “harness the power of every individual through education, training and volunteer service to make communities safer and stronger and better prepared to respond to the threats of terrorism, crime, public health issues and disasters of all kinds.”
The final session of the training will take place April 14 and will include a final disaster drill exam.
Police budget includes additional funds for salaries, new officer position
During the March 7 Committee of the Whole meeting, Sikora introduced staffing and other changes to the police department operating budget that will take the budgeted amount from $2.1 million from last year to $2.4 million for the coming fiscal year.
The staffing changes for the next fiscal year will include the addition of one full-time patrol officer as of May 1, freeing up the time of a current officer to focus solely on detective work, as well as another increase halfway through the year for an internal promotion of a patrol officer to a sergeant position.
Other notable increases include a budgeted 35% increase for gasoline and a 5% to 15% increase for ammunition based on the increase in costs for ammunition since the beginning of the pandemic, Sikora said.
The one large increase to the police department’s capital budget is the close to $1 million for a new police station, a cost that will depend on a successful referendum later this year.
Village accepts donation of 5 acres of land
Elburn resident Kevin Duschane has donated five acres of land in the northwest corner of Blackberry Creek to the village. Although all of the board members agreed to accept the property, they are clear eyed about potential drainage issues with the land.
Trustee Ken Anderson said the property is basically a wetland with a lot of drain tiles on it.
“It may be free, but down the road, there may be drain tile issues,” Anderson said.
Although there may be “limited uses” for the property, Trustee Sue Filek said it “makes sense to keep it for drainage.”
Village Administrator John Nevenhoven said it could end up being “a great stormwater area for the property to the west.”
Trustee Matt Wilson said if there does end up being a drainage issue with the property, he would prefer that the village owns it “rather than someone without the means or the methods to deal with it.”