Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

Residents of the Warren-Waukegan Fire Protection District can expect lower tax bills after the district approved a whopping $1.2 million tax abatement, by far the district’s largest ever and one of the largest local abatements in recent history.

The abatement was approved by the district board last week and reflects its dedication to addressing resident concerns over property taxes. Though it is too early to calculate what the abatement will represent in terms of tax savings to district residents, a $300,000 abatement by the district last year resulted in a tax decrease of about $75 for the average household.

The district covers the unincorporated areas between Waukegan and Gurnee west to Grayslake, and includes about 3,300 households and structures. Park City is also part of the district’s coverage area, although it is incorporated.

Careful business planning and help from Gurnee made the contract as reasonable as possible and has helped change the district from an an entity that was, on average, $800,000 in the hole annually as recently as 15 years ago to one that now carries cash reserves large enough to allow such an abatement.

By enlarging the Gurnee Fire Department’s coverage area, the district also allows that department to apply for grants and funding it would not otherwise be eligible to receive.

The district has purchased numerous ambulances, engines, and even paid for half of Gurnee’s newest ladder truck. The district also passed a resolution more than 10 years ago that no district residents would need to pay out-of-pocket expenses for ambulance calls.

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