Third time the charm for Fox River & Countryside fire district referendum?

Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District residents will vote in March on a tax increase that will determine how fast emergency responders arrive when they dial 911.

District residents have a history of refusing to pay any more money for fire and ambulance service.

Voters rejected a tax increase request by the district in April. That request would have nearly doubled the taxes residents pay to the district. More than 60 percent of voters rejected the request. In 2015, trustees asked for permission to phase in a substantial increase over several years. That also failed.

District officials believe the lower price tag attached to the question on the March ballot may be the difference. The question will ask for a 60 percent increase in taxes paid to the district. For the owner of a $100,000 home, that amounts to about a $53 tax increase.

Ken Shepro, the district's attorney, said he knows there aren't any $100,000 homes in the district. The $100,000 example is used to make it easier for homeowners to figure out what the tax increase would mean to them. If approved, the additional funds would allow the district to keep both of its fire stations open full time, replace some aging equipment and restore the full-time fire and ambulance personnel who lost jobs after the failed tax increase in April.

Trustees also have a plan in place if voters again reject a tax increase. The district will only keep one station open at a time on a rotating basis. That means every day of the week half the district will have significantly longer emergency response times to fire and medical calls.

District officials also contemplated dissolving the district, selling part of the coverage area to a neighboring district and only providing emergency medical service. None of those options proved viable.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.