Posts Tagged fire district to seek tax levy increase

Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District news (more)

Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

The sixth time was not the charm for Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District officials who were seeking a tax increase. Unofficial results Tuesday show voters narrowly defeated the tax hike request by just nine votes; 951 against the measure to 942 in favor of it. Final tallies won’t be certified for a few weeks to ensure all mail-in ballots were received.

Fire district officials estimated the owner of a $250,000 home would have paid an additional $135 a year in property taxes if it had passed. The new rate would have generated roughly $1.1 million additional property tax revenue for the district, Chief John Nixon said.

Requests for a property tax hike also failed in 2006, 2009, 2015, 2017 and 2018.

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Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District news

Excerpts from the kcchronicle.com:

Officials at the Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District are hoping voters will approve their latest referendum request for a nearly 17-cent tax increase April 2.

The referendum asks to increase the rate to 43.52 cents per $100 equalized assessed valuation from the fire district’s current tax rate of 26.7 cents, an increase of 16.82 cents. A single family house with a fair market value of $100,000 would have an additional $56 in taxes to pay, if it passes. The increase would bring in about $1.5 million in additional revenue, which the district needs.

The district’s last request for a 16-cent increase failed in November by 32 votes.

The department has an ambulance that has more than 100,000 miles on it and a fire engine built in 1988, both of which need to be replaced.

Part-time pay for firefighters is $13.50 per hour.

The district covers areas of St. Charles and Campton townships and the villages of Campton Hills and Wayne.

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Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District news (more)

Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

A binding referendum question on the April 2 ballot will seek a 63 percent increase in the taxes paid to the Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District. If approved the measure would put an additional $1.1 million in the district’s coffers each year to raise staffing levels and fund equipment replacements and repairs.

Voters have shot down six previous attempts by the district to raise the property tax rate in the last several years. The margin by which those measures failed has significantly narrowed since the district’s first request making officials hopeful for a more positive outcome this time around. The fire board found the March 2018 election especially promising given the fact that a proposed 60 percent increase failed by only 32 votes.

Public support and awareness grew during the November election season. With more than 9,000 people voting — at least three times larger than the district’s usual turnout — the referendum question lost by 342 votes.

If the tax hike passes, the district’s tax rate will increase from about 27 to 43 cents per $100 of taxable property value. That means the owner of a $100,000 home would pay about $56 more per year.

In recent years, the district has eliminated firefighter positions and reduced costs while continuing to operate on what officials say is insufficient funding. The board decided to hold off on discussing additional budget cuts until after the April election.

“Our message remains the same,” Fire Chief John Nixon said. “We have equipment that’s failing, radios becoming a safety issue, vehicles that are costing extra money to maintain because they’re in many cases reaching the end of life, and staffing shortfalls that have created uncomfortable situations for us where we have to run short.”

The fire district plans to ask a citizen group for help talking to residents about the upcoming referendum question. Information about the proposal likely will be sent out through social media and in newsletters.

The district covers 38 square miles of unincorporated areas in St. Charles and Campton townships, as well as Campton Hills and Wayne.

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Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District news (more)

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.

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Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District news (more)

Excerpts from the dailyherald.com:

The Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District’s request for a property tax increase has failed yet again. Voters have a history of denying the district’s attempts to bring in more cash, and Tuesday’s election was no different. A binding referendum question seeking a 60 percent tax rate increase was denied in a 4,695 to 4,353 vote, according to unofficial tallies. The measure was a do-over from the March election, when the tax increase was rejected by a roughly 30-vote margin.

The cash-strapped district was hoping to use the additional $1 million or more per year to replace aging equipment, make crucial vehicle repairs, and bring staffing up to safer levels.  The board already has cut several firefighter positions in the past two years, including three part-time posts in the spring. The reduced staffing levels have forced the district to occasionally brown-out one of its two stations.

Fire officials for years have been debating how best to serve the district’s 25,000 residents while operating on what they say is insufficient funding. In the past, they’ve even contemplated outsourcing services or dissolving the district.

The referendum question on Tuesday’s ballot asked to raise the district’s tax rate from 27 cents to 43 cents per $100 of equalized assessed value. 

thanks Dan

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Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District news (more)

Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

The Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District could be facing more budget cuts after voters Tuesday shot down a request to increase the property tax rate by 60 percent.

The binding referendum question received 4,694 “no” votes and 4,351 “yes” votes with all precincts reporting in Kane and DuPage counties, according to unofficial tallies. The tax hike would have cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $53 per year, bringing in at least an extra $1 million for the district.

This is the second time voters denied the fire district’s request for a tax hike. The cash-strapped agency now will likely have to cut more firefighter positions and potentially brown-out one of its two stations on a rotating basis, Chief John Nixon said.

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Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District news (more)

Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

In the weeks leading up to the Nov. 6 election, a residents group has been making its final push to spread the word about a proposed property tax increase for the Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District. 

The volunteers created a website, held informational meetings and increased their presence on social media. They handed out brochures during community events and communicated with homeowners associations. Most recently, they’ve been walking house to house to distribute door hangers in neighborhoods near St. Charles. The goal is to inform residents of the potential for reduced services if voters don’t approve a 16-cent tax rate increase for the cash-strapped district.

A binding referendum question on the ballot next week seeks to raise the property tax rate from 27 cents to 43 cents per $100 of equalized assessed value. If approved, the measure would generate at least an extra $1 million to replace aging equipment and bring staffing up to safe levels, Fire Chief John Nixon said.

Residents now have a second chance to vote on the tax hike, which would cost the owner of a $100,000 house an additional $53 a year.

Fire district officials for years have been grappling with how to operate on their existing tax rate, which they say is the lowest in the area. The fire board decided this spring to cut three part-time firefighter positions and a handful of full-time positions were eliminated two years ago. If voters say no again, trustees will be faced with determining how to pay for necessary vehicle repairs, replace equipment and continue operating on what they say is insufficient funding.

That likely would mean cutting more positions and browning out one of its two stations on a rotating basis.

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Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District news (more)

Excerpts from the kanecountychronicle.com:

Officials at the Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District are hoping voters will support their referendum for a 16-cent tax increase Nov. 6. The increase would boost the fire district’s tax rate to 44 cents per $100 of equalized assessed valuation, up from its almost 27 cents per $100 EAV. The increase would provide about $1 million more in revenue for the district, which covers about 38 square miles and serves residents in Campton Hills, Wayne and St. Charles townships.

The measure failed by 32 votes in the March 20 primary, but a portion of the question was left off the primary ballots. Officials filed suit for the omission and got the question on the congressional election ballot.

“It’s the identical proposition and we are in the same place financially,” Handley said. “If it doesn’t pass, we are going to have to figure out how to fund capital replacements. That west-side station has been closed off and on because we can’t get part-time people to work for $13.50 an hour.”

The district has had five failed referendums, six if the March 20 primary vote is included.

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South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District news

Excerpts from the DailyHerald.com:

The South Elgin and Countryside Fire Protection District held an open house Thursday about two referendum questions on the March 20 election ballot. 

One referendum question asks permission to borrow $10 million to build two new fire stations. That would result in an estimated $62.58 annual property tax increase for a home with a $200,000 market value.

The other question asks for a 0.1 percent increase to the fire district levy — technically to create a new emergency and rescue fund — to pay for additional firefighters and equipment. That would result in an estimated $66.67 annual property tax increase for a home with a $200,000 market value.

Those who claim homeowners’ exemptions would pay slightly less. The fire district levy represents about 4.5 percent of property tax bills, with an additional 0.6 percent for firefighters’ pensions.

The 24-square-mile district has two stations, employs 30 full-time firefighters/paramedics and 10 part-timers who last year responded to 2,900 calls — 70 percent for emergency medical services. That’s up from 2,600 calls five years ago.

The plan is to build two new stations, one at 498 South Elgin Blvd. and one at 1090 Spring St., the latter to replace an aging station that also houses administrative offices. The district would hire at least nine more full-time firefighters and more part-timers.

The village anticipates more residential and commercial development on the far east side, including townhouses, a memory care facility and possibly grocery stores. Under the plan, the three fire stations would be well-positioned to each cover about a third of the district.

The fire district has owned the property on South Elgin Boulevard for years; it bought the Spring Street property for $350,000 in December after the price dropped considerably.

If the plan moves forward, the vacated station on State Street, adjacent to village hall, would likely be sold to the village. 

thanks Dan

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Fox River and Countryside Fire Rescue District news (more)

Excerpts from the Kane-Chronicle.com:

Voters defeated the Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District’s second attempt at a rate increase with 1,451 no votes to 935 yes votes, a difference of 516 votes, according to unofficial results in Kane and DuPage counties the night of the April 4 consolidated election.

The district sought an increase to nearly 53 cents, up from 27 cents, per $100 of equalized assessed value. The new rate would have boosted its levy to nearly $5 million and would have helped replace an aging fleet and equipment, provide for adequate staffing, and reduce its debt.

As this is the second failure – a similar request in 2015 was defeated – district officials will have to consider being dissolved and the area it serves divided among other fire districts.

The district covers 38 square miles and serves about 25,000 residents in Campton Hills, Wayne, and St. Charles townships.

Fire district attorney Kenneth Shepro said the board faces some tough choices.

“The board will have to take a hard look at the available options,” Shepro said. “The dilemma remains that there is not enough money to buy new equipment and sustain existing staffing levels – something has got to give. I think the board will have all options on the table.”

Still, Shepro said he preferred to think of the current defeat as nearly doubling its support from the previous failed referendum.

“In our journey of a thousand miles, we went from 25 percent to 40 percent in support … with a turnout of a thousand fewer voters,” Shepro said. “We improved by over a thousand votes.”

thanks Dennis

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