Posts Tagged tax increase referendum for fire district

Harvard Fire Protection District news

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The Harvard Fire Protection District is asking voters on the March 19 primary election ballot to increase the district’s property tax levy, saying the additional funding is needed to purchase equipment and to hire and retain staff.

The last time the district, which covers about 108 square miles, went for a tax increase referendum was the mid-1990s and failed.  The referendum asks voters if they will approve “an additional [tax levy] amount equal to 0.17% above the limiting rate … equal to 0.498360% of the equalized assessed value of the taxable property therein.”

In simplest terms, the new tax levy would bring the fire protection district an additional $545,000 a year in property taxes. For at home valued at $100,000, the increase would raise the portion of the property tax paid to the district by about $170.

John has been fire chief at Harvard for the past two years. As a part-time chief, he also works for the Marengo Fire Protection District. As Harvard’s chief, one of the things he had to do was cut payroll. The department has one fire station, at 502 S. Eastman St. It is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with either two or three personnel. But residents often notice when it is a Woodstock or Marengo ambulance showing up to their calls. Harvard appreciates its neighboring departments’ willingness to step up when there are more calls for service than there are available crews. 

One of the problems Harvard – and other departments around the country – have is hiring and retaining firefighters as others have reported problems attracting people to the fire service. Harvard also has to compete with larger departments offering higher pay. “We have got to have at least one paramedic and two EMTs at the same time,” Kimmel said in a discussion with the Northwest Herald in November. “The problem we are seeing now is smaller departments are always a training ground for larger.” Once the firefighters are trained, they often move to departments with better pay.

The age of the department’s fleet of equipment is also a concern including the newest fire engine that was purchased, used, from the Algonquin Fire Department. Currently, Harvard has two ambulances, with another on order. The one on order will have a new chassis, but the portion of the truck used in treating patients is reused.

A volunteer group working with the Harvard Fire District has created a website with more information about the referendum at, and a Facebook page,

thanks Rob

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Fox River & Countryside Fire Rescue District news

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Residents served by the Fox River & Countryside Fire Rescue District will be asked if they support the district’s plan to sell up to $13 million in general obligation bonds in part to build a new fire station and replacing aging vehicles and equipment.

The question will appear on the June 28 primary ballot. The bonds would be used to invest in equipment, vehicle and station upgrades, and refinance existing obligations.

The Fox River & Countryside Fire Rescue District – which includes the unincorporated areas of St. Charles and Campton townships as well as the villages of Campton Hills and Wayne – protects more than 35,000 residents in a 38 square-mile area of DuPage and Kane counties.

“The district has reached a crucial point, as we have seen a 148% increase in the demand for emergency services over the last decade,” Fox River & Countryside Fire Rescue District Fire Chief Bert Lancaster said in a news release from the district. “We have made the most of the resources available to us during this period of growth, but we will need to act now to ensure the current and future needs of the community are met.”

Residents are being asked to:

• Support the purchase of new vehicles and the replacement of aging gear that is no longer in compliance to reduce long-term maintenance costs.

• Fund an additional, more centrally located fire station and provide necessary updates to the two existing stations, which will help reduce response times.

• Refinance existing obligations to further maximize taxpayer resources and free up annual budget to support staff hiring, training and retention costs.

“The district is primarily funded through property taxes and does not receive funding as part of town or village budgets,” Fox River & Countryside Fire Rescue District President Kristin LeBlanc said in the release. “We have done our due diligence in reviewing the financial options available to us and issuing general obligation bonds are the most effective and fiscally responsible path forward. Being a good financial steward is a priority for us, as we have long been one of the most cost efficient fire protection districts in the western suburbs.”

If approved, taxpayers will see an anticipated property tax increase of approximately $37.84 annually (or $3.15 monthly) on a property with an equalized assessed value of $100,000, or $130.12 annually (or $10.84 monthly) on a property with an equalized assessed value of $300,000, the release stated. This increase is anticipated to begin with bills issued in 2023.

Assessed value is the value of the property per the assessors office and equalized assessed value is 1/3 of that number in the collar counties.

thanks Rob

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Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District news

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A Kane County judge has ordered a do-over for the Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District referendum for Nov. 6 because the early voting and election day ballots in the spring were incomplete.

The rescue district’s tax increase question was rejected by 32 votes in the March 20 primary election, but Ken Shepro and other residents filed a lawsuit arguing the Kane County clerk failed to include a sentence on the ballot explaining what the tax increase would cost homeowners. That sentence is required by state law for tax increase questions and the clerk’s office failed to fix the problem after being notified, the suit says. In this case, it should have informed voters their taxes would increase $53 a year for every $100,000 in equalized assessed value of a home.

According to the lawsuit, Kane County Clerk John Cunningham was informed during early voting that the ballot question was incomplete. The remedy was to have election judges hand applicable voters a slip of paper explaining the tax increase’s effect for each $100,000 value of a home. Some voters got the slips but many did not.

Fire officials have said the tax increase was needed to avoid closing one of the district’s two fire stations every other day. Since the ballot effort failed, officials have cut several firefighters.

thanks Dennis

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Leyden Township Fire Protection District news

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The Leyden Fire Protection District has a referendum on the March 20 primary ballot. The district is seeking support for a $1.5 million bond issue, which would be used to purchase a new ladder truck and ambulance, said Fire Chief Kory Ryan and board President Randy Olinski.  If it is approved, fire district residents can expect an increase on their property tax bills of nearly $2.50 more a month or $30 more a year.

The district is looking to replace a 1996 fire truck and 2013 ambulance, both of which have outlived their life expectancy, and repair and maintenance costs are more expensive. 

Officials said the bond, which would take effect in 2019 and stretch over the next 10 years, is enough to cover the expenses of the two vehicles. The estimated cost for a ladder truck is $1 million, and an ambulance could range between $200,000 to $300,000.

“We just can’t do it,” Olinski said. “With the cost of health insurance, pensions … the economy took a dive. We live on property tax money. We live on sales tax money. We’re not a municipality. There is no mayor that says, ‘I’m only going to give you $1 million to spend. Live with it.’ We are self-sufficient — by taxes only.”

“Unfortunately, with tax rate caps and property values [and] equal assessor’s rates dropping, we’ve gotten less and less money since 2006,” Ryan added.

While the district is responsible for protecting those in the unincorporated area of the township, it is also a part of MABAS Division 20, meaning it provides mutual aid to about 15 surrounding communities such as Bellwood, Melrose Park, Rosemont, Schiller Park and Westchester. 

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Morris Fire Protection District news

Excerpts from the

The Morris Fire & Protection District will be seeking a tax increase on the March 20, 2018 general election. The district approved unanimously on Nov. 16 a measure to place a referendum on the ballot to impove ambulance service for residents and visitors to the district.

If the referendum passes. it would increase the maximum ambulance tax rate for the district from 10 cents per $100 to 35 cents per $100. If the district levied the full amount available, the owner of a $100,000 home who is currently paying $3 for the service would see an increase of approximately $7 per month in ambulance service taxes.

“The district has taken a very fiscally responsible approach to budgeting and the trustees will continue this effort,” Board President Dave Bonomo said. “To meet the needs of our District taxpayers and provide outstanding ambulance and fire response we are asking for our first-rate increase in 25 years.”

The district would take the maximum increase and purchase another ambulance while the additional funds will be used to replace the 72-year-old downtown fire station. The district has a capital fund for building replacement that currently has a balance of $1.6 million dollars. The estimated cost of replacement is $2.75 to $3 million dollars.

The district serves approximately 22,000 residents across 140 square miles in Grundy County.

The board determined that the district needs to expand its advanced life support (ALS) ambulance coverage to district residents due to the continued increase of emergency medical calls. To increase ALS coverage, the district would add a third ambulance to its current fleet available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The district has been operating on the current tax rate since 1992 and feels it needs this increase to provide the needed services for the increase in calls and an aging population. If a majority of voters in the district approve, the district would be permitted to increase its ambulance levy up to a maximum of 35 cents per $100 of equalized assessed valuation.

In addition to the expanded ALS ambulance coverage, the district also plans to use the increased tax revenue to replace aging emergency vehicles and to retain trained personnel.

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