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updated: 5/14/2012 11:02 PM

E. Dundee land swap could bring fire station referendum

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It is all but guaranteed that residents within the East Dundee Fire Protection District will vote on a ballot question this fall asking whether they're willing to pay for a new fire station.

The East Dundee village board Monday agreed to develop an intergovernmental agreement between the village and fire district that would outline a land swap deal between the two.

If voters support what's expected to be a $4.25 million measure, the fire department would move out of its current station near village hall and build a new one on three acres on Route 25 that the village recently bought and would donate to the district.

At the same time, the cramped police department would expand into the fire district's existing building and begin an upgrade of its own. The expansion would include room for state-of-the-art jail cells, processing areas and interview rooms.

"I'm more excited for the police," East Dundee Trustee Paul VanOstenbridge said. "They've been in this hole for quite a while."

Officials say the fire district's proposed location on the northwest corner of routes 25 and 72, north of the River Valley Shopping Center, would put it closer to the eastern portions of the district and shorten response times.

The fire protection district includes all of East Dundee and parts of South Barrington and Barrington Hills.

"It's a hodgepodge of territory," Fire Chief Steve Schmitendorf said.

According to a feasibility study that examines whether the police department could use the fire district's quarters, renovating the fire district's space would cost around $2 million. Building anew would cost $4.21 million, according to the study.

Village officials haven't yet determined how they would pay to re-purpose the old fire station, but interim Village Administrator Bob Skurla has said the project would qualify for financing through the tax increment financing district -- where property taxes above a certain point don't go to government bodies and go back into development instead -- in which it sits.

Eighty percent of the district's electorate is in East Dundee, and Schmitendorf said he is confident of a positive outcome if the district and the village work together.

While East Dundee works on the intergovernmental agreement, officials also will figure out what the electorate would pay if the referendum request is successful and compare the value of the fire station's property with the land it would swap with the village. The village board is expected to vote on the intergovernmental agreement at the end of June.

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