Naperville’s 2020 budget proposal ($491.7 million) will be about 9% higher than the 2019 budget ($451.4 million). With a $40 million increase in spending, city staff projects the property tax rate will be flat keeping the city property tax bills about the same as this year.
Among a number of planned improvements and services for residents, the Naperville Fire Department requested about $3.5 million for an ambulance, three new vehicles, a pumper truck, and self-contained breathing apparatus equipment.
The Naperville Police Department has two wish items on the 2020 budget; 1) the addition of four new police officers, and 2) a $315,000 armored vehicle (Bearcat) used in SWAT events. Watchdog has long advocated for the NPD to have a Bearcat.
While it’s nice to have an expanded leaf collection program and more salt for winter, and it’s fun to have automated meter reading, and it’s really cool to have three new IT people running around the Municipal Center, the safety and security of our city is paramount, and this happens when our police and fire departments have the equipment they need to get the job done.
OK, the Washington Street bridge replacement project is important, but if I had to, I could find another route from my home to the Dairy Queen. However if one night my chimney looks like a Bunsen burner and I need the NFD pronto, or my house is surrounded by spooky looking people, I’m not calling Ghost Busters, I am calling 911 for ‘Naperville’s finest’ to arrive in a Bearcat.
A ‘tip of the cap’ to council members John Krummen, Pat Kelly, Patty Gustin, Paul Hinterlong, and mayor Steve Chirico for giving a big ‘thank you’ to the Naperville Fire Department during the last city council meeting:
I too participated in a Naperville Citizen Fire Academy this last summer, and it was no ‘day at the beach’; what they do is not hard work, it’s very hard work. It took me 15 minutes just to put on the protective gear. Putting the boots on turned into a wrestling match.
My wife and I also participated in Naperville’s Citizen Police Academy. We had a deep appreciation and gratefulness for what police officers do before we began the course, and an even greater appreciation and gratefulness by the end of the course.
The Naperville city council has the opportunity to show support for the police and fire departments by approving their requests. If there ever was a reason for a unanimous 9 to 0 vote, supporting the NPD and NFD is it.