Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County. No. 97--MC--6
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Hutchinson
IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS
Honorable Patrick J. Dixon, Judge, Presiding.
Respondent, the Rutland and Dundee Townships Fire Protection District (the Rutland FPD), appeals following the denial of its posttrial motion, contending that the order of the trial court was against the manifest weight of the evidence. The trial court's order transferred a certain portion of respondent's fire protection district to another district. We affirm.
In the present case, petitioners, Oak Brook Bank, acting as trustee of a parcel of real estate located in Kane County (the Bank), James R. Kruger, Jr., and Karen A. Kruger, voters, brought an action to detach certain property from the Rutland FPD and to have the subject property annexed by the Village of Carpentersville Fire Protection District (the Carpentersville FPD). Petitioners relied on the disconnection provisions of section 15 of the Fire Protection District Act (the Act) (70 ILCS 705/15 (West 1996)).
Respondent objected and filed motions to dismiss and strike, pursuant to sections 2--615 and 2--619(a)(2) of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2--615, 2--619(a)(2) (West 1996)). Respondent argued that petitioners failed to allege that the parcel was not reasonably protected by the Rutland FPD and failed to allege facts in support of disconnection. Respondent also argued that petitioners lacked standing in that they did not own the majority of the property sought to be disconnected. On January 22, 1998, the trial court denied both of respondent's motions.
On January 29, 1998, the Village of Carpentersville (the Village) filed a petition for leave to intervene in the proceedings and a petition for disconnection. The petition for leave to intervene stated that the Village had a direct interest in the proceedings in that it was a property owner within the property sought to be disconnected. Moreover, if the trial court granted the bank's and Kruger's petition, the Village would be the entity obligated to provide fire protection service to the property at issue. At a hearing conducted on February 3, 1998, the trial court granted the Village leave to intervene and allowed its petition for disconnection to stand.
Respondent filed its answers to both petitions for disconnection, and the cause proceeded to a bench trial. Petitioner James Kruger testified that he is a registered voter and resides in the Glen Eagle Farm subdivision, which is located in the Village. Kruger occupies the rank of sergeant in the Village's police department. His property, along with others in that subdivision, is included as part of the property sought to be disconnected from the Rutland FPD.
Todd Drafall, Kane County deputy county clerk and county tax extender, brought certified copies of the valuation of the Rutland FPD, the certificate of valuation of the tax codes, and a listing of the tax codes that are in the Rutland FPD that are also within the limits of the Village, all based on the 1996 equalized assessed value. He testified that the 1996 equalized assessed valuation of the Rutland FPD was $145,844,769. The 1996 equalized assessed valuation of the property sought to be disconnected was $4,478,026, or approximately 3.1% of the total equalized assessed valuation of the Rutland FPD for that year. Drafall calculated the valuation of the subject territory by identifying those parcels coded to be taxed by both the Rutland FPD and the Village and then totaling their assessed valuation. On cross-examination, Drafall testified that $3,655,284 of that $4,478,026 was attributable to the Glen Eagle subdivision and other new construction already within the Village. He estimated that the Rutland FPD would stand to lose approximately $30,000 to $40,000 in revenue as a result of the disconnection.
Sue Jackson, the director of Quadcom, testified next. Quadcom is the dispatch center for communities including the Rutland FPD and the Carpentersville FPD. Response logs are kept showing the time a call is received, the time the call is dispatched, and the time vehicles arrive on the scene. Jackson provided the logs documenting the calls to which the Rutland FPD responded in the Glen Eagle subdivision between January 1997 and February 1998. Jackson also testified regarding the same type of response logs kept for the Carpentersville FPD.
Scott Adams lives in the Glen Eagle subdivision, is a police officer employed by the Village, and supports the petition for disconnection. He believes that, based on his experience, the Carpentersville FPD would have a faster response time to the area seeking disconnection than would the Rutland FPD. Diane Wilson, the map supervisor at the office of the supervisor of assessments, testified regarding computerized mapping and assigning parcel numbers to new or divided property.
Roland Anderson, the Rutland FPD fire chief, testified regarding the staff of the Rutland fire department. The Rutland FPD maintains three full-time, salaried firefighters. It has two fire stations, one located in Gilberts and one in Sleepy Hollow. All of the firefighting engines, equipment, and trucks are kept at one of the two fire stations. The Rutland FPD includes three municipalities it serves and protects: Gilberts, Sleepy Hollow, and a portion of the Village. Anderson testified that Gilberts and Sleepy Hollow do not have their own fire department but that the Village does. The Rutland FPD encompasses approximately 37 square miles. It owns and stores the following equipment at Gilberts: one 1998 rescue fire engine that carries 750 gallons of water and has a 1,500-gallon-per-minute two-stage pump; one 1989 tanker engine combination that carries 3,000 gallons of water and has a 1,250-gallon-per-minute pump; one 1997 grass fire vehicle that carries a 250-gallon water tank and a pump; one 1987 squad truck that carries a cascade breathing apparatus; and an advanced life support ambulance acquired in 1996. The Rutland FPD owns and stores the following equipment at Sleepy Hollow: one 1994 pumper that carries 1,000 gallons of water and a 1,500-gallon-per-minute pump; one 1983 pumper that carries 1,000 gallons and has a 1,250-gallon-per-minute two-stage pump; and a 1987 ambulance.
Anderson testified regarding the personnel at the Rutland FPD. Along with the three full-time, salaried firefighters, the Rutland FPD employs 34 other personnel working in such capacities as firefighters, paramedics, and emergency technicians. He also stated that the distance between the Gilberts station and the property at issue was 2.6 miles; from the Sleepy Hollow station to the property was 3.1 miles.
With respect to the Rutland FPD's budget, Anderson identified approximately $527,947 in cash receipts for the fiscal year 1997 and $443,624 in cash disbursements for the same period. Anderson testified as to the exhibits showing cash receipts, cash disbursements, and cash balances. He estimated that it costs the Rutland FPD approximately $60,000 per year to staff the area that it serves. Anderson also discussed the condition and projected replacement of the equipment. He did not believe any cutbacks or changes would be required if the subject property were disconnected. It would not have an impact upon the Rutland FPD's equipment ...