Contract to bring city, fire department more revenue

Contract to bring city, fire department more revenue

By Keisha Howerth

A new fire protection and ambulance service agreement between DeKalb and NIU will bring the city more revenue and a ladder truck for the fire department.

Bill Nicklas, Operations and Community Relations vice president, said the five-year contract will begin on July 1. NIU will pay the city $604,982.38 in the first year of the contract for fire protection and ambulance service. Nicklas said the university’s payments will gradually increase in the first four years. In the fifth year, NIU will pay the city $831,714.

“We’re paying a larger amount [in 2019] to become the new base,” Nicklas said. “We’re not at the midpoint of what other universities pay for fire services.”

According to information provided by Nicklas, the current annual fire cost per student is $27.52, compared to Western Michigan University’s $160. By 2019, the city will see a 43 percent increase from NIU’s current contribution of $581,714.

Fire Chief Eric Hicks said the university generates about 16.3 percent of DeKalb’s emergency fire calls, but provides 6 percent of the fire department’s funding. The last fire protection and ambulance service five-year agreement was made in 2009. Since the last agreement in 2009, NIU’s number in fire calls has increased.

“NIU had 664 fire calls in 2009,” Hicks said. “This past year NIU had 871 out of the city’s 5,334 calls.”

NIU will also pay the city $275,000 in the next 30 days toward the purchase of a used aerial ladder truck that fire department staff expects will cost $550,000. The university is utilizing institutional-local funds to make its payments.

“There will be no unique student fee increase,” Nicklas said. “Funds for the fire truck will come from capital sources, not operating funds.”