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Local Government

Fire district hopes voters will support referendum

2nd request this year due to ballot screw-up

ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – Officials at the Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District are hoping voters will support their referendum for a 16-cent tax increase Nov. 6.

The increase would boost the fire district’s tax rate to 44 cents per $100 of equalized assessed valuation, up from its almost 27 cents per $100 EAV, board president Robert Handley said.

The increase would provide about $1 million more in revenue for the district, which covers about 38 square miles and serves residents in Campton Hills, Wayne and St. Charles townships, officials said.

The measure failed by 32 votes in the March 20 primary, but a portion of the question was left off the primary ballots.

Officials filed suit for the omission and got the question on the congressional election ballot, Handley said.

“It’s the identical proposition and we are in the same place financially,” Handley said. “If it doesn’t pass, we are going to have to figure out how to fund capital replacements. That west-side station has been closed off and on because we can’t get part-time people to work for $13.50 an hour.”

The question is confusing, Handley said, making it seem that the tax increase being sought is 60 percent. It isn’t. Rather, it’s 60 percent of 27 cents.

“We have never had a referendum pass. We have never increased our rate,” Handley said.

The district has had five failed referendums, six if the March 20 primary vote is included, records show.

“But people have voted early already and it seems to be OK. And we’ve got a very active citizens’ group that is working very hard,” Handley said. “They’re getting nothing but positive responses. But again, you just don’t know.”

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