New law will help fire departments purchase vehicles

Gov. Pat Quinn today signed legislation to help local governments purchase firefighting vehicles.

The law increases the maximum amount municipalities may borrow at no or low interest from the state to make these purchases.

“I thank the governor for making this program a priority,” State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis said. “Since the beginning of this program more than $25 million has been loaned to Illinois fire departments. This new law will increase the amount of money some of our most needy fire departments can borrow to buy fire trucks, which are much more expensive than they were 10 years ago. By increasing the maximum, our fire departments will be able to buy better equipment to do their jobs and protect the people of Illinois.”

The Office of the State Fire Marshal currently provides 0 percent and low interest loans for fire trucks, engines and brush trucks through the Fire Truck Revolving Loan Program.

Senate Bill 2690, sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar,D-Bunker Hill, and state Rep. Donald Moffitt, R-Gilson, increases the loan ceiling cap for 0 and low-interest loans to local fire departments for the purchase of new or upgraded fire trucks, brush trucks and fire engines under the Fire Truck Revolving Loan Program.

The old limit on these loans was $250,000, but the new law raises the limit to $350,000 per fire department or fire protection district. The change reflects the increase in the cost of fire protection equipment since the law was last updated. The legislation is effective immediately.

The Fire Truck Revolving Loan Program is funded primarily through payments municipalities make on its loans, in addition to a $35 additional fee for serious traffic violations. The program is administered jointly with the Illinois Finance Authority.

Quinn today also signed House Bill 4462, which allows the $35 additional fee for serious traffic violations to remain a funding source for the Fire Truck Revolving Loan Program through Jan. 1, 2020. The fee originally was set to expire as a funding source for the program on Oct. 13, 2014. The legislation is effective immediately.

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