Bloomington Fire Chief Stresses Need For Northeast Station

Mar 13, 2017

Bloomington Fire Chief Brian Mohr presenting the department's 2016 Annual Report.
Credit Staff / WGLT

The Bloomington Fire Department continues to lobby for a northeast side fire station. 

But, Fire Chief Brian Mohr said Monday night he doesn't expect that to happen soon. Mohr told the city council response times are too long to the northeast side, which puts stress on other parts of the system.

"The other side of that is we're still seeing the over utilization of our downtown headquarters district," said Mohr. "Until we address that immediate problem, we're not going to be able to see that big of an impact in those response times."

Mohr said the downtown headquarters received 46 percent of the calls in 2016. 

The City and the Town of Normal had been in talks to provide joint service or perhaps a jointly operated station to cover the northeast side. That prospect is unknown following chillier relations between the city and town caused by the Metro Zone controversy.

Mohr said one of the biggest accomplishments over the year was ordering a new engine company with unique features to increase safety and reduce potential injuries. 

A snapshot of Bloomington's fire and police pension funds shows a loss in value at a time when financial markets were soaring to near historic highs.

That's according to accountant Jason Coyle of Baker Tilly LLC, who briefed the council on the city's financial situation.

"Those saw a slight decrease in reposition by about $780,000 per year," said Coyle. "A big portion of that was the downturn in market near the time these financial statements were prepared, so the market value investments went down."

Coyle said market value investments do fluctuate from year to year.

The city has been pumping extra money into its pension funds above legal minimums for several years. That is in an effort to have enough money to cover projected payments to future retirees.

Coyle said the city's primary operating fund increased by $5 million and overall governmental funds increased by $4.9 during the year.

Coyle also said the annual report was delayed due to the transition of management companies at the Coliseum. The auditors were unable to obtain sufficient evidence to provide a basis for an opinion of the Coliseums fund, which is a major enterprise within the city's CAFR.

WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.