Excerpts from the dailyherald.com:

Six failed attempts at collecting more property tax revenue from residents have taken a toll on Fox River and Countryside fire officials. The cash-strapped district has been asking voters for years to raise its tax rate in hopes of increasing personnel levels and replacing aging equipment. At one point, the request even included a plan to build a third fire station at the center of the 38-square-mile district.

Instead, officials have had to cut firefighter positions and tighten their belts after voters rejected variations of the proposal time and time again. Their most recent request — a 60 percent hike — failed Nov. 6 by 342 votes. The margin by which the measure failed has narrowed significantly since the district’s first attempt, but the electorate also appeared to be completely different this time around. More than 9,000 votes were cast, compared to 2,000 in the spring.

Fire board members now plan to hold a special workshop to discuss how to continue operating on what they say is inadequate funding. Roughly 90 percent of the budget is funded by property taxes. At 27 cents per $100 of taxable property value, the district’s tax rate is one of the lowest in the area.

Reducing expenses, restructuring the district’s staffing model and seeking alternative coverage from other departments are among the options that could be considered. Trustees also are in the process of deciding what to do with a property at Bolcum and Crane roads, purchased years ago by the district as the intended site of a third station. After a referendum question failed in the spring, the board started looking into selling the property as a way to pad the district’s capital reserve fund. A recent appraisal determined the site is worth about $246,000. The nearby Fine Line Creative Arts Center has expressed interest in acquiring the site, but the nonprofit would first have to raise the money.