Endorsement: Yes for new equipment, staffing at Hampshire fire district
After two failed attempts, the Hampshire Fire Protection District will try again this fall for a property tax increase to replace aging equipment and increase staffing levels.
This issue seems to be nearly a tossup for voters in the district, with only four more "no" votes than "yes" votes when the question was on the ballot in March.
If voters approve, the fire district will be able to levy a 0.1 percent tax to create an emergency and rescue fund. The new tax would generate an additional $236,000, Deputy Chief Trevor Herrmann said.
The owner of a $200,000 home would pay an additional $67 a year in property taxes.
Adding five additional part-time firefighters would be especially helpful if crews are called to two or more incidents at once, as was the case nearly 200 times last year, Herrmann said. The department, which covers all of Hampshire Township and one square mile in DeKalb County, responds to more than 1,200 calls annually. The 42-square-mile district has a population of 7,500 and also protects 11 miles of I-90 -- all with only one fire station.
This is a district that knows how to make the most of its resources. We believe $67 per year is a reasonable amount to ensure quick response times to a rising number of calls. We recommend a yes vote.