Winfield Fire Protection District tax request focuses on emergency needs

Voters have denied tax increase requests by the Winfield Fire Protection District for the past three consecutive election cycles. So the district has crafted a more modest request for the primary election on June 28.

Gone is the previous bid to raise property taxes to allow the fire district to hire the personnel needed to reopen a shuttered fire station near Roosevelt and Winfield roads. Instead, the fire district's board voted to bring forth another referendum focused on emergency needs.

"We get a lot of emergency calls when our crews are out on other ambulance calls," Winfield Fire Chief Steve Evans said. "We amended the request to simply that: an additional ambulance, a crew for the ambulance and the infrastructure to support them."

Evans will present the district's case as part of a public online Zoom session set for 7 p.m. Wednesday. Winfield resident Darren Maiman organized the meeting to give voters more information on the referendum.

The state-imposed property tax cap limits the fire protection district to levy increases of 5% or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. In 2020, the increase allowed was 1.4%, which is the rate used by the district to formulate its referendum. Voter approval is required if the allowable levy increase is exceeded.

The district is seeking an increase of 0.177% to the limiting rate. The additional tax on a single-family house with a fair market value of $300,000 is estimated to be $173 annually.

Evans said the proposed tax increase would raise roughly $1.3 million. With that money, the district would hire six full-time paramedics or firefighters to staff an ambulance crew and get on an ambulance replacement schedule.

"Currently, one of our ambulances is 17 years old, and the other is 12," Evans said.

Evans said Winfield's downtown fire station north of the Metra tracks at 27W530 Highlake Road is already at capacity. So a remodel or expansion of the station - or opening of a satellite location on district-owned property near the northeast corner of the intersection of County Farm and Churchill roads - would be considered.

According to Evans, the district provides primary fire protection and emergency medical services to an area of 13 square miles with more than 30,000 people. It includes Winfield and unincorporated sections near West Chicago, Winfield, Wheaton and Carol Stream.

"We're working just to get this information out," said Evans of the online Zoom session. "It's not to advocate for or against, but merely to answer questions so that people are informed about what we're asking for."

Winfield Fire Protection District Zoom Session

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 1

Meeting ID: 893 6760 0432

Pass code: 762742

Access: <a href=""></a> or (312) 626-6799

More information: <a href=""></a>

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