Excerpts from the Kanecountychronicle:

The Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District voted Jan. 9 at a special meeting to put a referendum on the April 4 ballot seeking an increase in its tax levy of 95 percent over the prior year levy.

Board President Bob Handley said it represents a property tax increase of $86 for a house with a fair market value of $100,000; $172 for a house valued at $200,000; or $258 for a house valued at $300,000. He said the increase is necessary for the district’s capital equipment and staffing needs.

Voters rejected a levy increase in 2015, but officials said they feel more confident of support this time – as the district would face budget cuts and going with part-time staff and volunteers – something residents have said they did not want.

“Our equipment is aging and there is no capital fund,” Handley said. “We are leasing equipment now to try and catch up. But we can’t keep doing that because the money is going to run out.”

The levy increase would bring in more than $2.4 million – for a total levy of nearly $5 million – which would help the district replace its fleet and equipment, provide for adequate staffing and reduce its debt.

Should such an increase pass, the fire district’s tax rate would rise to .529 – or nearly 53 cents – per $100 equalized assessed valuation, from its current .271 or 27 cents per $100 EAV. But it would still be the lowest in the area, officials said.

Neighboring Elburn Countryside Fire Protection District, for example, has a rate of .749 or nearly 75 cents per $100 EAV.