Posts Tagged Fox Lake FPD seeks tax levy increase

Lake County fire departments request voter approval for tax increases

Excerpts from the

Antioch: Reversing course from November’s failed referendum for a new property tax to fund ambulances services, 57 percent of voters in the village of Antioch responded Tuesday with votes in favor, according to unofficial results from the Lake County Clerk’s Office.

In Antioch Township, however, voting on a related ambulance services ballot question remained nearly deadlocked after 10 p.m., with “yes” votes holding 50.2 percent of the 1,726 ballots counted. All precincts were in and early votes counted, with only provisional ballots and late-arriving votes by mail unaccounted for, according to the clerk’s office. Official totals were not expected Tuesday night.

The separate referendum questions for unincorporated residents and village residents asked taxpayers to approve a .25-cent ambulance tax that would cost the owner of a home with a market value of $100,000 just over $84 a year. The need for ambulance services is the result of the Antioch Rescue Squad disbanding.

Fox Lake: Voters were asked to approve a tax for ambulance services, and in unincorporated Fox Lake they voted at a 65 percent clip in favor of the ballot question, according to unofficial results with all 16 precincts reporting.

Officials said the funds will help the Fox Lake Fire Protection District upgrade equipment, such as breathing apparatus, and tools. The district also has a fire engine and tanker truck beyond maximum age recommended by the National Fire Protection Association Standards.

Newport Township FPD:  According to unofficial vote totals, the Newport Township Fire Protection District did not garner enough votes to raise its ambulance tax rate.

With all five precincts counted, 56 percent of voters cast ballots against the measure.

The district was seeking to raise its tax rate .132 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to help fund the replacement of aging equipment after the district used reserve funds to build a second fire station.

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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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