Posts Tagged Gardner Fire Protection District

Local ballot initiatives

Excerpts from – local ballot initiatives 

Elk Grove Rural Fire Prot. District

– Shall the number of trustees of the Elk Grove Rural Fire Protection District be decreased from 7 to 5 members?

North Palos Fire Protection District

– Shall the extension limitation under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law for the North Palos Fire Protection District, Cook County, Illinois be increased from the lesser of 5% or the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index over the prior levy year to 20% for levy year 2018?” For the 2018 levy year, the approximate amount of the additional tax extendable against property containing a single-family residence and having a fair market value at the time of the referendum of $100,000 is estimated to be $52.20.

Riverside Lawn Fire Protection District

– Shall the Riverside Lawn Fire Protection District be dissolved and discontinued?

Shall the Gardner Fire Protection District levy a special tax at a rate not to exceed 0.10% of the value of all taxable property within the District as equalized or assessed by the Department of Revenue for the purposes of providing funds to pay for the costs of emergency and rescue crews and equipment? – Shall the Maximum Allowable Tax Rate for the Gardner Fire Protection District be increased from 0.30% to 0.40% of the value of all taxable property within the District as equalized or assessed by the Department of Revenue? 

thanks Martin

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Legal bills tax the Gardner FPD

The Morris Daily Herald has an article about legal issues of the Gardner FPD taking a toll on funds:

The village of Gardner voted Tuesday night to advance TIF funds to the Gardner Fire Protection District in the amount of $75,000.

This action will help the fire district handle its high expenses due to ongoing legal battles.

“I got a call from one of the trustees of the fire protection district, and he said they were in need of money, and asked if there was anything we could do to help them out,” village finance commissioner Dick Hileman said.

He said he checked with village attorney Scott Belt and the village’s TIF attorney Tom Jacobs and found the village could give the fire district an advancement on its TIF payments at 0 percent interest, which would be taken out of tax payments paid to the village.

A TIF district is an area in which assessed property values are frozen at their current level. Tax money generated from the difference between the frozen value and current value of those properties goes into a special TIF fund to be used to improve properties in the district.

The Gardner fire district receives a portion of the village’s TIF funds, and through Tuesday’s ordinance will get an advance on its next payment.

The village will get paid back when the tax money gets paid from the Grundy County Treasurer. The village clerk will reduce the amount going to the fire district by the $75,000 advancement, according to the ordinance.

“Through Jacobs’ projections, the fire protection district’s TIF funds are estimated at $93,000, so this amount is well within that number,” Belt said.

The village of Gardner and the Gardner Fire Protection District entered into an agreement Jan. 26, 1987, for the sharing of TIF funds, this agreement authorizes the village to provide additional capital contributions to the fire district at the discretion of the village.

“I thought it was best to do it for the safety and welfare of the members of our community,” Hileman said.

Commissioner Rob Wolf asked if the money being borrowed had to be used on capital improvements only.

Hileman said the district, just like the village, can borrow against the TIF funds and use the funds for purposes other than capital improvements as long as they pay that amount back into the TIF fund within a set amount of time and use those TIF funds for capital improvements.

The board voted unanimously to advance the funds, with commissioner Terry Jensen passing on the vote due to his position as fire chief.

Jensen said when the fire district gave him a budget to run the fire station with, it already had $135,000 taken out in legal fees.

“Once again the village has assisted us,” Jensen said.

Jensen said legal fees have mounted with the ongoing litigation between the Gardner Fire Protection District and the former Gardner Volunteer Fire Department, as well as numerous Freedom of Information Act requests that have to be fielded through the district’s attorney, and in some cases be redacted in order to provide them to the petitioner.


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Lawsuit between Gardner VFD & Gardner FPD

The Morris Daily Herald has an article about the culmination of a lawsuit against the Gardner FPD by the Gardner VFD.

The appellate court has upheld a previous court’s decision regarding litigation between the Gardner Fire Protection District and the former Gardner Volunteer Fire Department – leaving the district victorious.

“The decision affirmed in total our motions. Unless the department seeks some type of petition to review from the supreme court, the matter is over,” said attorney for the fire protection district, Richard Porter of Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP Wednesday. “I personally don’t believe the Supreme Court would accept this case for review,” he said.

Contact with the department’s attorney, Tim Rathbun of Rathbun, Cservenyak & Kozol, was not immediately returned Wednesday. A call to former Fire Chief Randy Wilkey also was not returned.

The litigation first began years ago when the fire protection district terminated its contract for services with the volunteer fire department. Under that arrangement, the department, run by Wilkey, provided fire protection services to Gardner using tax dollars provided by the district.

The district accused the department of using its money for legal fees to argue an election for district trustees, Porter said. In addition, the department had a credit card balance of about $47,000 it refused to account for. The department argued then it could not misappropriate its own funds.

The department then filed suit that the district terminated their contract “arbitrarily and capriciously,” and it was not in the district’s discretion to do so.

About a year ago, Judge Robert Marsaglia ordered the fire protection district had the right to terminate the contract of the volunteer fire department when the department no longer provided satisfactory services. The department filed an appeal of Marsaglia’s decision.

Gardner officials were notified Tuesday that the Appellate Court of Illinois’ Third District ruled the original court properly granted the fire district’s motions.

“We cannot say that the district exercised its discretion arbitrarily or capriciously when terminating the agreement based upon the department’s refusal to comply with its reporting duties,” states the appellate court’s order. “It would be disingenuous of the department to claim that the parties’ reasonable expectations included denying the district the ability to review the department’s accrual of the credit card charges,” it states later. “With an eye toward financial oversight, the agreement calls for the department to provide rather detailed budgets.”

The whole battle between the district and department started when former department chief Wilkey refused to give the district board original receipts from which to pay the department’s bills, according to previous statements by district representatives and Wilkey. Eventually, when Wilkey refused to give originals, the district refused to pay the bills. This led to the feud going to court and the district no longer recognizing Wilkey as chief.

thanks Dan

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