Archive for March 21st, 2018

South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District news (more)

Excerpts from the

South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District voters Tuesday approved borrowing $10 million to build two new fire stations. They also agreed to increase taxes to pay for more staff and equipment.

Voters faced two referendum questions — one asking permission to borrow money and the other seeking a hike in the fire district property tax levy to create an emergency and rescue fund to pay for additional firefighters and equipment.

With all 23 precincts reporting, 2,139 voted in favor of the tax increase and 1,479 against; 2,177 voted in favor of borrowing money and 1,401 voted against, in unofficial vote totals.

The building loan will increase the tax bill by $62.58 a year for a home valued at $200,000, according to district officials. The emergency/rescue fund tax will add another $66.67 to that home’s tax bill.

The 24-square-mile district has fire stations at 150 W. State St. and 2055 McDonald Road, and employs 30 full-time firefighters/paramedics and 10 part-timers.

The two new stations will be built at 498 South Elgin Blvd. and at 1090 Spring St. The latter will replace the State Street station in downtown South Elgin that also houses the district’s administrative offices.

The district would hire at least nine more full-time firefighters and more part-timers.

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Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District news (more)

Excerpts from the

After a request for a property tax hike narrowly failed Tuesday, Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District officials again are faced with determining how to continue operating with what they say is insufficient funding.  This was the fourth time in recent years voters rejected the district’s request for a property tax increase. In addition to being the lowest tax hike requested, unofficial tallies show the measure also failed by the slimmest margin — a 1,943-1,904 vote.

The binding referendum asked for a 60 percent increase in the taxes paid to the fire district to fund equipment replacements, as well as pay raises for emergency personnel. If the measure was approved, the owner of a $100,000 home would have paid an additional $53 per year.

The election results are unofficial until they are canvassed in the coming weeks. With such a razor thin margin, Handley said the district won’t make any decisions until vote totals are verified.

The district has warned residents of its most probable plan of action, which would include cutting up to nine firefighter positions and rotating the closure of one of its two stations every day. Fire board President Bob Handley said Wednesday nothing will be decided until the board has a chance to evaluate all cost-cutting options at its meeting next month.

“(Browning) out a station … is the last thing we want to do because it’s going to increase our response times considerably,” Handley said. “But that’s probably going to be what happens. I don’t know if there are any other alternatives.”

Fire officials for years have been debating how best to serve their 25,000 residents while operating on the lowest tax rate in the area — 27 cents per $100 of equalized assessed value. After its last attempt at a tax hike, the district cut several employees and started considering the possibility of outsourcing its services or dissolving, which would require voter approval.

The cash-strapped district is running out of options, Handley said, but he believes residents are starting to catch on to the severity of the issue. Whether the district will try again for a tax hike in November has yet to be determined.

“It’s encouraging that the more we get publicity out there, the more favorable the results become,” he said. “As soon as people hear our message, they understand.”

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Prospect Heights Fire District news (more)

Excerpts from the

Prospect Heights area voters approved a tax hike Tuesday to help fund the Prospect Heights Fire Protection District.  The property tax hike is expected to cost the average taxpayer an extra $34 a year. With all 10 precincts reporting, the unofficial totals showed 1,219 voters said yes to the plan (59.5 percent), and 829 voters said no.

Fire Protection District officials say the increase is necessary to maintain current staffing levels, properly respond to service calls and replace emergency vehicles. Over the past five years, the fire protection district has cut about $500,000 in personnel to balance the budget, including reducing the number of administration positions to two from five.

The district receives about 92 percent of its revenues from property taxes, 7 percent from ambulance transportation fees, and 1 percent from miscellaneous sources.

The fire protection district also plans to replace three aging emergency vehicles over the next three years, including a ladder truck, pumper, and ambulance, as well as complete maintenance on the stations. 

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Bartlett Fire Protection District news (more)

Excerpts from the

Voters appeared to have backed a measure Tuesday allowing the Bartlett Fire Protection District to raise taxes and avoid service cuts. With 44 of 50 precincts reporting, the referendum had 4,010 “yes” votes, representing 66.2 percent of the unofficial total. The tax hike is estimated to increase the average homeowner’s annual payment to the district to $569 from $469.

A similar measure was voted down by fire district residents in April 2017. Unlike the buildup to that vote, the consequences of another failed request were spelled out in detail last summer before trustees opted to try once more at the polls.

Officials say the number of first responders firefighters per shift would have to be cut from 14 to 11, and one of the district’s three stations would be closed on a rotating basis throughout the year.

One of the biggest misunderstandings about the referendum was some residents’ false belief that the district was a department of the village of Bartlett, rather than the independent taxing body it is. In fact, fewer than 6 cents of a property owner’s tax dollar goes to the fire district. The proposal would raise that to only 7 cents.

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Truck fire on Interstate 88, 2-26-18

This from Dave Weaver,

2/26/18 MAPLE PARK – Kaneville FPD (DeKalb FD’s district) Garbage-Hauling Semi Fire WB I-88 MM 100.25 (near Keslinger Rd.) – Video by Dave Weaver


Excerpts from the

Illinois State Police and firefighters from DeKalb and Big Rock responded about 9:30 a.m. to westbound I-88 near Maple Park for a truck fully engulfed in flames.

Firefighters wet the flaming trash, which was contained to the back of the truck, on the side of the interstate until there was little risk that the fire would flare up again, DeKalb Deputy Fire Chief Jeff McMaster said.

The driver, who was not injured in the incident, then drove the truck to the DeKalb County landfill, 18370 Somonauk Road, Cortland, after authorities determined it was safe to drive. The truck was already close to its destination. Only one lane was shut down, while firefighters worked to extinguish the flames.

Firefighters from the Cortland Fire Department completely extinguished the garbage after it was unloaded in a secure area.

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