Posts Tagged fire district requests tax increase

South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District news (more)

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With two new fire stations and a tax rate hike to operate them now approved by South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District voters, it might be a year before the first new station is ready to open, said Assistant Fire Chief Mike Rothecker.

When the second new station opens will depend on the construction management firm’s direction.

The fire district command staff is meeting weekly to start firming up plans and has started preliminary meetings with South Elgin’s development staff to get preliminary applications to the village.

There are two properties set for the new stations — one at 1090 Spring St. for the village’s central area and another on the 499 South Elgin Blvd. on the village’s east side. The third station, at 2055 McDonald Road, opened in 2000. Of the new stations, the east side station will be opened first.

The board will pick the construction firm that gives them the best timeline and cost outlines.  Once plans are finalized, construction could start late this summer, with the east side station ready to open in spring or early summer 2019. Depending on advice from their construction management firm, the second new station might not open until 2020.

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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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South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District news

Excerpts from the

At the age of 64, Bill Sohn wasn’t ready to retire from the South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District, but the 42-year department veteran said recent health problems have made it time for him to move on after four years as chief. In recognition of that service, Sohn was honored Friday with a traditional fire department walk out ceremony complete with uniform review. 

Former chiefs of police, retired firefighters, current and retired office staff, area fire chiefs and the department’s firefighters and staff turned out for the event. Sohn shook every hand and even a hugged a few people who lined up for the formal uniform review. The walk out ended with the final tones coming over dispatch radio.

Sohn started with the South Elgin department as a part-timer in 1976, and was one of the first three full-time employees in 1979.

It was important to Steve Wascher, the new fire chief, that Sohn be saluted for his years with the department with a ritual that hasn’t been done at South Elgin in several years.  Sohn officially retired March 9, and Wascher was sworn in March 10. Wascher is also a long-time South Elgin firefighter. He’s been with the department for 25 years.

While he had cousins who were firefighters, he hadn’t thought about the work as a profession until he ran into Elgin Firefighter Mike Oine, whose own father was the South Elgin chief. Oine told Wascher he should apply, and by the time he got back to his summer job at his family’s appliance store, there was a message from the chief waiting on his desk.

South Elgin is seeking voter approval to sell $10 million in bonds to allow the department to replace its aging fire house at 150 State St. with two new stations. If approved by voters Tuesday, one station would be built on Spring Street on the west side of the Fox River and the other on South Elgin Boulevard, east of the river.

Another ballot question voters to approve a .10-percent tax levy increase to fund operations at those two locations. If approved, taxes would increase $33 on a home valued at $100,000.

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South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District news

Excerpts from the

The South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District is asking voters March 20 to approve two tax increases to build and equip two fire stations. The first referendum entails borrowing $10 million for building, including a station on the far East Side. The second question asks for a 0.1 percent increase to the fire district levy to pay for equipment and a minimum of nine more full-time firefighters.

For a taxpayer with a $200,000 home the combined increase is $129.25 yearly. Those who claim a homeowner’s exemption would pay slightly less, according to a consulting firm. The district hasn’t had a referendum since 1998, which was successful and addressed staffing needs.The 24-square-mile district employs 30 full-time firefighters/paramedics and part-timers who last year responded to 2,900 calls, 70 percent of which were for emergency services. Part of the plan would be to relocate the existing station on State Street, which is 60 years old and has structural problems that need addressing. That station, adjacent to the village hall, could be sold to the village.

District officials have said the new stations and manpower are needed to deal with future growth, some of it already in the works. Under the plan, the district’s three fire stations would be well-positioned to each cover about one-third of the territory. A new far East Side station could handle multiple new commercial and residential construction projects.

While the overall price might seem steep, the extra $10.77 per month seems reasonable. More strategically located stations will mean quicker response times. When one considers the district also has a hazardous materials response team and a dive rescue team, it’s money well spent. We recommend a yes vote.

thanks Dan

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