The joke in East Dundee is its police station is so old that when crews from the John Dillinger movie, "Public Enemies," were on the hunt for period jails, they said the village's did not fit the 1930s model they were seeking. An upcoming referendum seeking $5.5 million to fund a new fire station, however, could also help the village reserve the funds needed for an updated police station and village hall, officials say.
"At the end of the day, when it comes to the residents of East Dundee ... through one referendum, they will have a fire department, an upgraded police department and potentially a revamped village hall, all for the same price," Village President Jerald Bartels said.
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East Dundee officials recently gave preliminary approval to donate $100,000 per year to the East Dundee Fire Protection District -- a separate taxing body -- for the 20-year life of the loan to build the station, if voters support the November ballot measure. Village Administrator Bob Skurla is now drafting an intergovernmental agreement between the two bodies.
In August, officials pledged to help the fire district with the referendum effort, but did not decide on a dollar amount until last week.
The district would have 20 years to pay off the $5.5 million loan and East Dundee officials have proposed giving the district a total of $2 million, money that would come from either a tax-increment finance district or a business development district. East Dundee is able to afford this because it has projects that are generating this kind of money, with more on the way, Skurla said.
The village's money would help the fire district offset the cost of its annual tax levy.
Without the village's participation, the owner of a $200,000 house would be looking at an additional $110 to $115 in annual property taxes if the referendum is approved, Skurla said.
But with the village's participation, the increase would fall to between $75 and $80, Skurla said.
Right now, the fire district, police department and village hall are all lumped together on the same block.
If voters say yes, the fire district would move into a new station on Route 25, between routes 68 and 72. The village owns that property and would donate it to the district.
That move would put the district closer to its eastern portions, which, besides East Dundee include parts of Barrington Hills, South Barrington, and unincorporated Kane and McHenry counties.
"This property is really a great spot for us," Fire Chief Steve Schmitendorf said, noting that because of truck traffic, activity on the nearby bike path and narrow roads, it now takes between two and three minutes just to get out of downtown and onto the main roads.
The fire department move would allow East Dundee police to shift into the district's old station, with the village using TIF or business development district revenue to turn it into a state-of-the-art facility. That project is expected to cost between $1.6 million and $1.9 million, Skurla said.
The same funding sources also would be used for a renovation and expansion of village hall, a project with a price tag of around $1.9 million.
The fire district and village hall are holding a joint open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 29 that will give people an opportunity to learn more about the referendum, look at plans for the new station and tour existing facilities.
For details, call village hall at (847) 426-2822 or the fire district at (847) 426-7521.