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posted: 2/24/2014 5:01 AM

Endorsement: 'Yes' to Oakbrook Terrace fire district

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The Daily Herald Editorial Board

For several years, the Oakbrook Terrace Fire Protection District has collected about $1.4 million in income to cover about $1.6 million in expenses. The losing proposition is compounded by the fact that the district is spending about 15 percent of its budget to repay loans taken to cover the annual shortfalls. Rather than asking for its first permanent tax increase since 2000, the district is seeking permission to borrow $2 million that would be repaid over 10 years with property taxes. The money would allow the district to replace outdated fire protection and paramedic equipment, update the fire station, and repair and maintain district vehicles. Officials also may eliminate ambulance fees charged to residents. But the biggest bonus may be that the district could repay its other outstanding debt, freeing up that portion of the operating budget for recurring and rising expenses. The $2 million loan would cost the owner of a $250,000 house $40 annually for 10 years. We appreciate that district leaders have crafted a plan to square its finances without permanently adding to residents' tax bills. We recommend a yes vote.

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