NEWTON, ILL. – During his bus tour of the state where he met with residents at the Wade Community Firehouse, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed four bills that will make life a little easier for the fire service in Illinois.
“The fire service is there when we need them and we are doing our part to help them do their job and pay for a life-saving service that often is taken for granted,” Governor Blagojevich said. “The legislation creates an equipment exchange center, allows fire services to charge non-paying residents for services rendered, penalizes those who call in false alarms and exempts the fire service from sales tax on purchases.”
The governor signed House Bills 116, 117, 120 and 121. House Bill 116 provides reasonable penalties for repeated, intentional false alarms. House Bill 117 addresses the fact that fire departments and fire protection districts are eligible for sales tax exemption. House Bill 120 allows fire protection districts to charge non-residents who do not already pay for fire services, to pay for fire and emergency services received. And House Bill 121 establishes the equipment exchange program for departments and districts, which have excess inventory of supplies and equipment to donate to other departments that are in need. This program will be serviced via the Office of State Fire Marshall’s website -- www.state.il.us/osfm.
As a result of HB 117, departments and districts can claim exemption from sales tax by writing a letter of request and including copies of their articles of incorporation or constitution, bylaws and a brief description of duties and submit to:
Local Government Service Bureau
Illinois Department of Revenue
101 W. Jefferson St.
Springfield, IL 62702
According to HB 120, a municipality may choose to provide firefighting and emergency medical services (EMS) on property outside its corporate limits thereby allowing them to fix, charge and collect fees not exceeding the actual cost of the service rendered. The municipality may also levy an additional charge to reimburse for extraordinary expenses. Charges are not to exceed $125 per hour per vehicle and not exceed $35 per hour per firefighter responding to a call for assistance. And no charges should be made for services totaling less than $50.