Lakewood Paying Private Fire Company $120,000 for Early Termination of Contract

Lakewood Fire Department

At its Tuesday night meeting in the village-owned Red Tail Golf Course trailer complex, the Lakewood Village Board voted to hire the Woodstock Fire Protection District to replace American Emergency Service Corporation.

The Gary Jensen firm, which provides privatized fire protection services, provided service to the village when the City of Crystal Lake wanted to charge an amount which village officials thought would eat up a disproportionate proportion of the budget.

Woodstock Fire Protection District Chief Ralph Webster attended the meeting to answer questions.

Crystal Lake wanted to charge an amount equal to the tax rate levied on city residents, even though the mix of buildings needing protection in Lakewood was far different than that in Crystal Lake.

One of my economics professors probably would have observed that Crystal Lake officials did not know the meaning of marginal cost, that they did not compare marginal cost with marginal benefit.

In other words, Crystal Lake could provide Lakewood with the fire protection its mainly homes needed for far less than it wanted to charge. The result of the break-up was that Crystal Lake’s Fire Department lost about $500,000 a year.

And the creation of an new Lakewood Fire Department.

Lakewood Village Board met in the Redtail Golf Course Club House and voted with out dissent to have the Woodstock Fire Protection District provide coverage.

Now, Lakewood village officials have cut a five-year deal with Woodstock’s fire department with a five-year automatic extension that allows the savings of $100,000 next year, despite the $120,000 buyout.

While that is good news for village coffers, the news was decidedly bad for the golf course.

That will be explained tomorrow.

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