Wood Dale Fire District tax hike leaning to defeat

Voters appear to have rejected a property tax rate increase that would have allowed the Wood Dale Fire Protection District to maintain staffing levels, replace aging vehicles, repair its stations and pay for rising administrative costs.

With 6 of 17 precincts reporting late Tuesday, unofficial vote totals show 1,089 voters opposed the tax hike, while 715 supported it.

The fire protection district covers Wood Dale and a small part of Itasca.

Fire officials sought the proposal to generate roughly $1.5 million a year in additional revenue for the district. They say the district's operating expenses are going to outpace its ability to generate revenue - despite budget cuts, using reserve money, getting grants and partnering with neighboring districts to reduce costs

Chief James F. Burke Jr. said the tax hike will allow the district to "keep the status quo."

The district, which is a separate taxing body from the city of Wood Dale, get roughly 95% of its revenue from property taxes, with the rest coming from ambulance fees. Currently, the district receives about $5.7 million in property tax revenue.

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