Endorsement: Yes on York Center Fire tax increase
The York Center Fire Protection District is asking voters on March 20 for a raise officials say is needed to improve minimum staffing levels and replace aging equipment.
The request calls for a property tax increase that would generate about $238,000 more a year for the district, which serves part of Oakbrook Terrace and unincorporated areas near Oak Brook, Lombard and Villa Park.
The additional revenue would allow the district to maintain existing services while increasing the minimum staffing from seven firefighters to eight. In addition, the district would fund equipment purchases to update its communication equipment and buy an ambulance, then add heavy rescue squad equipment in fiscal year 2021-22.
If approved, the tax increase would mean the owner of a $200,000 house would pay $66 more a year to the district. On the current tax bill, that homeowner would pay $592 in property taxes to the district.
Tax requests always demand scrutiny, especially those that represent a permanent increase rather than a loan that will be cleared from the books in time. However, emergency response is not an area that should be shortchanged and York Center has outlined a plan that officials say will continue to protect and improve service to residents. We believe the request is worthy of a yes vote.