Posts Tagged Palatine Rural Chief Hank Clemmensen

Palatine Rural FPD tax hike does not pass

The Palataine Rural FPD went to voters for a tax hike that was not approved. The Daily Herald has this in an article.

A proposed property tax increase for the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District failed Tuesday by a vote of 611 to 517, with only slightly more than 6 percent of registered voters in the district casting ballots. Despite voters rejecting the measure, the closeness of the vote cheered Fire Chief Hank Clemmensen.

Fire district officials asked for the increase to meet expenses in the face of declining property values. In the light of the vote, a firefighter who was injured and expected to take a pension in a few months will not be replaced, Clemmensen said. Currently the department has five firefighters on duty at all times, and that could decrease to four, he added.

Calls for help from firefighter/paramedics have gone up while the district’s tax revenue dropped $300,000, or about 9 percent in one year, according to district officials. The district received about $3.33 million in property taxes last year, and almost no income from any other source.

Clemmensen said officials will investigate other revenue opportunities, such as renting district property for a cellular communications tower. They also will continue to work on opportunities to share resources with neighboring departments.

The tax hike would have given the district additional revenue of about $200,000 a year. The increase would cost homeowners about $50 for each $100,000 in assessed value of their properties. The most recent assessed valuation in the district was $409 million, down from $445 million the previous year.

The district covers 17 square miles, including the eastern two-thirds of Inverness and unincorporated areas of Palatine Township.

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Palatine Rural FPD wants tax hike

The Daily Herald has an article about a tax increase request from the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District.

The head of the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District said a drop in local property values is the reason the district is asking for a .05 percent tax hike on the ballot March 18.

Chief Hank Clemmensen said the fire district’s financial situation is grim. “Last year we lost $300,000 in tax revenue from the previous year,” Clemmensen said. He said the district only took in $3.33 million from taxes, meaning the lost revenue was around 9 percent.

Clemmensen said almost all of the fire district’s income is from property taxes. He said the assessed valuation of the fire district dropped 8.1 percent, from $445 million in 2011 to $409 million in 2012. If property values stay at around $400 million, the tax hike would net the district $200,000 more per year, which Clemmensen said will be used to keep the district operating.

Should the initiative fail, the chief said they will likely be unable to maintain their current staffing levels, meaning fewer firefighters going out on fire calls. He said currently the district has five firefighters on duty at all times so three people can operate the fire engine and the other two can drive either the ambulance or the 3,000-gallon water tender truck, depending on the call.

Clemmensen said the district’s policy is if two firefighters enter a burning building for a search or rescue there must be two firefighters standing by outside. He said if the tax hike fails, firefighters who leave will not be replaced, and the district may have only four on-duty firefighters at one time.

“In the old days when a fire department lost money it was because people left the community, so calls for service went down,” Clemmensen said. “But my calls have gone up.” The chief said the district still has approximately 17,000 people in about 17 square miles, an area that includes two thirds of Inverness and most of the unincorporated area in Palatine Township.

If the tax hike passes, a homeowner whose property has a $100,000 assessed value would pay an additional $50 in taxes to the fire district.

Another financial consideration is that the district’s 19 firefighters are scheduled to have 2 percent salary hikes in 2013 and 2014. Negotiations for the next labor contract will begin in the fall. The chief said the last time the fire district asked taxpayers for additional funding was in 2005 when voters approved a 0.1 percent tax increase. He said they wouldn’t be asking again if it wasn’t necessary. 

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Palatine Rural FPD begins communication with the two Barrington fire departments

The Daily Herald has an article about the administrative changes which need to be addressed regarding automatic aid agreements between the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District and the Barrington Fire Department and Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District.

Palatine Rural Fire Protection District’s board of trustees has voted to terminate its automatic-aid agreement with the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District and the Barrington Fire Department.

Palatine Rural Chief Hank Clemmensen said the move becomes effective Dec. 31, giving all parties ample time to work out “possible” new agreements before Countryside officially splits from Barrington to operate as an independent fire department.

“We’ll need two auto-aid agreements after Jan. 1,” Clemmensen said. “Now we can sit down with both agencies to renegotiate.”

Palatine Rural’s vote to end the agreement is somewhat of a formality.

Barrington Fire Chief Jim Arie said the village had already planned to work out a new agreement with Palatine Rural that recognizes the separation from Barrington Countryside.

Clemmensen emphasized that any future auto-aid agreement, which is designed to provide immediate initial responses to an emergency by the closest fire station regardless of jurisdiction, would need to be fair and equitable for all sides.

Currently, Palatine Rural’s jurisdiction generally covers the eastern two-thirds of Inverness. Western Inverness and north of Dundee, including the area by Ela Road just 1.5 miles north of the Palatine Rural station, are in Countryside’s district. Clemmensen said Palatine Rural responds to those areas with an engine for most calls, essentially subsidizing service. A fee could help make up the difference when there’s not much opportunity for reciprocation of service. “My board doesn’t feel we’re getting the same return,” Clemmensen said. “It’s not fair to our residents to support another fire district for daily operations.”

A Barrington Countryside spokesman said the district isn’t surprised or concerned with the termination, and added that both districts are discussing other options for aid should any be necessary considering the Countryside’s increased staffing in 2014.

Clemmensen maintained it would “behoove” residents of western Inverness to have Palatine Rural always respond since its station is closer. However, he said he can’t take resources away from his own district’s residents. If a satisfactory auto-aid agreement can’t be reached with Barrington Countryside, he said an alternative could be for Palatine Rural to expand its jurisdiction. For that to happen, residents of Barrington Countryside would have to petition for a referendum to annex into Palatine Rural.

thanks Dan

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