ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – Voters defeated the Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District’s second attempt at a rate increase with 1,451 no votes to 935 yes votes, a difference of 516 votes, according to unofficial results in Kane and DuPage counties the night of the April 4 consolidated election.
The district sought an increase to nearly 53 cents, up from 27 cents, per $100 of equalized assessed value. The new rate would boost its levy to nearly $5 million, officials said.
The increase would have helped replace its aging fleet and equipment, provide for adequate staffing and reduce its debt, officials said.
As this is the second failure – a similar request in 2015 was defeated – district officials will have to consider being dissolved and the area it serves divided among other fire districts, officials had said.
The district covers 38 square miles and serves about 25,000 residents in Campton Hills, Wayne and St. Charles townships.
Fire district attorney Kenneth Shepro said the board faces some tough choices.
“The board will have to take a hard look at the available options,” Shepro said. “The dilemma remains that there is not enough money to buy new equipment and sustain existing staffing levels – something has got to give. I think the board will have all options on the table.”
Still, Shepro said he preferred to think of the current defeat as nearly doubling its support from the previous failed referendum.
“In our journey of a thousand miles, we went from 25 percent to 40 percent in support … with a turnout of a thousand fewer voters,” Shepro said. “We improved by over a thousand votes.”