Posts Tagged Chief Ron Hoehne

Fox Lake Fire District seeks tax levy increase

Excerpts from the Daily Herald:

Citing concerns about aging equipment and adequate manpower at fire stations in unincorporated areas, Fox Lake Fire Protection District officials are going to voters next month with a tax-increase proposal.

At issue, Chief Ron Hoehne said, is a need to add at least three full-time paramedics to the ranks and to boost funding for the district’s vehicle maintenance fund in response to an 8 percent rise in emergency calls last year.  Hoehne said the district currently staffs two full-time paramedics per work shift at fire stations on Molidor Road in Ingleside and on Main Street in Spring Grove. Each station operates three work shifts with paramedics working 24 hours, then taking 48 hours off, he said… [and] to bring staffing to a minimum level, the district needs to add three paramedics — one per shift — to the Molidor Road station.

The referendum question on the April 7 ballot asks voters to more than double the property tax rate to the fire district for ambulance service from .133 to .350 per $100 equalized assessed value, marking a 21.7-cent increase. If it is approved, the owner of a $100,000 home would see their property taxes increase about $72 per year, Hoehne said …  [generating] about $850,000 in new revenue to the fire district in the first year.

Because of a three-year contract in place, voters in the village of Fox Lake are not a part of the referendum. He said the fire district covers 33,000 residents over 30 miles, but the question is only for the 22,000 residents living outside of the village limits.

“We have had the same ambulance tax in the district since 1978,” he said. “We have never gone to the voters seeking additional revenue for the fire district. But, we just hit a point where we have to at this point.”

Similar to other areas in the region, home values in the district have dropped, and that has translated into falling tax revenues since 2008. The district’s equalized assessed value fell from $580 million in 2008 to $396 million in 2013, he said. In addition, the emergency call volume has increased since 2013.

“We had to dip into our minimal reserves to get through last year,” Hoehne said. “We are operating a break-even budget now. But if anything catastrophic happens or if there’s a big-ticket break down with our equipment, it would really hurt.”

The district currently has a fleet of 26 vehicles, [and] the cost of maintaining that fleet is becoming more expensive, especially as the vehicles become older and see more use because of increased emergency calls.

If voters approve the increase, the Fox Lake fire district’s ambulance rate would be in line with what those in Fox River Grove, Long Grove, Lake Villa Township and Lake Zurich pay for similar services, he said.

thanks Dan & Ron

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Fox Lake FPD to seek tax increase

From the Northwest Herald:

For the first time in 37 years, the Fox Lake Fire Protection District is asking residents to increase its taxing authority.

The fire protection district, which covers parts of McHenry, Lakemoor and Spring Grove, is looking to increase its taxing rate from 0.133 to 0.350 through a referendum on the April ballot. The potential increase would generate between $800,000 and $900,000 more for the district, Chief Ron Hoehne said.

Hoehne said the increase would go toward hiring more personnel and replacing outdated ambulances. He said the district had to take out low-interest, five-year loans for the last two ambulance purchases and staffing has hit dangerously low levels with only two personnel at Station No. 3 and Station No. 4 at times.

The increase would mean about a $72 increase for every $100,000 of equalized assessed home value, Hoehne said.  Failing to pass the referendum could have dire consequences, Hoehne said, especially with the lack of qualified part-time volunteer workers, who have greatly decreased in numbers over the years.

“We’ll be having to look at layoffs or closing stations and that’s what we don’t want to do,” Hoehne said. “We have too large of an area we have to cover, from the Wisconsin border to Route 120.”

thanks Dan

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