Posts Tagged Algonquin-Lake in the Hills FPD seeks tax increase

Algonquin-Lake in the Hills FPD news

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The Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District can start restoring services that have been cut and setting aside funds for long-term needs after an emergency and rescue tax was passed Tuesday, Fire Chief Peter Van Dorpe said. About 7,790 voters – or 54 percent – voted yes, and 6,593 voters – or 46 percent – voted no, according to unofficial results. The district, which serves about 40,000 residents in Algonquin and Lake in the Hills, is expecting the tax to generate about $800,000 a year.

The 0.1 percent tax will add about $65 on the property tax bill of the owner of a $200,000 house. District voters rejected the same referendum in the March primary by a margin of 53 percent to 47 percent.

About half of the funds gained from the tax are expected to go toward the department’s vehicle replacement fund. The department also plans on putting an ambulance back in service that has been out of commission for about two years, taking care of deferred building repairs, waiving fees insurance won’t cover for patients being transported to the hospital and planning to set aside money for a dive team.

Some residents have questioned why the district needed the tax when it had a little less than $200,000 surplus in fiscal 2016, Van Dorpe said.

He said the district’s 2016 budget was prepared before the March referendum results were in, and the department anticipated it would get the money needed to make repairs at its stations. When the referendum did not pass, the projects were deferred, so the money set aside for them never was used, he said. The surplus also did not provide enough funds for long-term planning, he said.

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Algonquin-Lake in the Hills FPD news

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A referendum to add a new property tax for the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District will be back on the ballot in November after it failed in the March election.

Fire Chief Peter Van Dorpe said the referendum hasn’t changed, asking for a 0.1 percent emergency and rescue tax, which would add about $65 on the property tax bill of the owner of a $200,000 house.

District officials have said the money is needed because of a loss of revenue from the commercial fire alarm business and added costs from the Affordable Care Act.

Without more funds, the estimated 40,000 residents the department serves in Algonquin and Lake in the Hills will see reduced service, Van Dorpe said.

In March, the referendum was rejected by 53.2 percent of voters. If the tax is passed, it would generate about $800,000 a year, Van Dorpe said.

To keep a balanced budget, Van Dorpe said he’s already had to cut administrative staff in half and reduce equipment. The department also is not setting aside any extra money, he said, and has 15 on-duty personnel, lower than the National Fire Protection Association’s recommendation of 17.

Because the district is not a municipal department, adding a property tax is the only option it has to add revenue. The only other option the district has is to make more cuts.

Norm Bemis is leading efforts to spread the word about the referendum through Friends of the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District. As an Algonquin resident and Palatine firefighter, Bemis said he realizes the importance of having timely emergency response intervention.

Information sessions on the referendum will be held at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 21, Oct. 27 and Nov. 2 at the fire department, 1020 W. Algonquin Road, Lake in the Hills. For information, visit

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Algonquin-Lake in the Hills FPD seeks tax increase (more)

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Officials from the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District said the district’s loss of funding from commercial fire alarms and added costs from the Affordable Care Act are behind the upcoming referendum to create a new tax fund for the district.

The proposed emergency and rescue tax, which will be on the primary ballot on March 15, would add a 0.1 percent tax on the equalized assessed value of property within the district. The tax would add about $61 to the tax bill for the owner of a $200,000 home who takes the homestead exemption. That would increase the fire district’s portion of that resident’s tax bill by about 10 percent, based on tax rates from last year.

In all, it would raise about $900,000 to the department’s tax revenue on top of the current projected revenue of about $8 million.

The numbers were presented during an information session Wednesday night. Additional information sessions are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 20 and Feb. 10 at the fire district headquarters at 1020 W. Algonquin Road.

Van Dorpe said in his presentation the department needs a revenue boost because a federal court decision in 2015 forced the department to stop providing radio frequency fire alarms to commercial property in its district. Providing that service netted the department $407,000 at its peak in 2013.

The chief said the Affordable Care Act would require the district to provide health care to part-time employees at an estimated cost of $200,000. He also cited a long-term decline in property values, a low consumer price index and rises in medical insurance and workers’ compensation.

Van Dorpe’s presentation also said the department had reclassified and eliminated positions to try to make ends meet, but those measures would not be enough in the coming years.

The department is not currently setting aside any money to pay for the replacement of equipment, he said.

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Algonquin-Lake in the Hills FPD seeks tax increase

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Citing health insurance costs and aging apparatus, the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District will ask voters for a property tax hike on March 15 at a rate of 0.1 percent of taxable property value, as per state law.

If voters approve the additional tax during the March 2016 election, a home with a market value of $200,000 would pay an additional $67 in property taxes per year, Fire Chief Peter Van Dorpe said.

From the district’s roughly 40,000 residents, the tax would generate about $900,000 in additional revenue. The fire district is facing a $600,000 hole in its nearly $10 million budget, Van Dorpe said.

Though the district formerly operated a commercial fire alarm system, which generated $400,000 per year, a recent federal decision to prohibit such systems forced the district to shut down the operation.

Additionally, Van Dorpe said the district will soon have to provide health insurance to its nearly 20 part-time employees, which will cost about $200,000 per year.

He added that property values within the district have declined 34 percent since 2010, the village’s main source of revenue.

To save money, the district has already cut its administrative staff by 40 percent and reduced the number of firefighters in the station from 19 to 15 per day. An assistant chief position has been civilianized, and all information technology work is being contracted out.

In addition to filling the hole in the budget, the new tax would go toward capital improvement projects, such as purchasing new apparatus. A new ambulance, for example, costs roughly $260,000, a fire truck is $600,000, and a rescue ladder truck is upward of $1 million.

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