Endorsement: Yes on new equipment, crews for Algonquin/Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District

 
The Daily Herald Editorial Board
Posted2/26/2016 1:00 AM

The Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District says it needs more money, and wants to create a new tax rate to support new equipment plus emergency and rescue crews.

It wants to establish a vehicle replacement fund, and must provide health insurance costing up to $200,000 yearly for part-time employees.

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Chief Peter Van Dorpe says the district has 47 full-time sworn firefighters (including command staff), between 15 and 21 part-time firefighters and four civilian employees. The district protects more than 40,000 people over 24 square miles in Kane and McHenry counties. It responds to more than 3,700 calls yearly.

The district has not asked for a tax increase since 1997, when it incorporated a full-time ambulance service.

The district has tightened its own belt. In the last three years, it has eliminated three sworn and one civilian administrative positions, and reduced the number of firefighters on duty during any 24-hour period from 18 to 15. It has deferred most capital improvement projects and postponed establishing a vehicle replacement fund.

If approved, owners of a $200,000 home would pay about $67 more each year. While the district is "not in trouble," Van Dorpe says, it's looking to keep it that way.

For $1.29 per week, we have confidence the district will put the additional $900,000 to good use. We recommend a "yes" vote to the tax increase.

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