Posts Tagged fire district to raise tax levy

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 River & Countryside FPD to raise tax levy

The Daily Herald has an article about the Fox River & Countryside FPD increasing their tax levy:

A property tax increase is one month away from becoming a reality for the roughly 20,000 residents of Kane and DuPage counties who receive fire and emergency medical services from the Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District.

District trustees voiced unanimous approval for a tax levy increase of 2.38 percent more than the current levy. That would rake in about $2.25 million for the district in its next fiscal year, $54,000 more than the previous levy.

Trustees will have a new, third fire station to operate in the next fiscal year and are looking to add firefighter/paramedics to the day staff to improve service.

The proposed tax increase would see the owner of a $300,000 home pay about $5 a year more in taxes to the fire district.

District trustees must take one more vote at their Dec. 16 meeting before locking in the tax levy increase.

Trustees are also increasing a number of fees the district charges for various services. For example, all district residents who must be extricated from a vehicle after a traffic accident will now be charged $400 instead of $350. Nondistrict residents will be charged a different rate of $600 for the first time.

On the flip side, some fees will be reduced. For instance, the hourly rate for a fire engine to be on scene will now be $150 instead of $300. A full breakdown of fees is available on the district’s website.

thanks Chris

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