News

Fox River & Countryside Fire Rescue District asking for approval of $13 million referendum to fund new fire station, improvements

Residents served by the Fox River & Countryside Fire Rescue District will be asked if they support the district’s plan to sell up to $13 million in general obligation bonds in part to build a new fire station and replacing aging vehicles and equipment.

Residents served by the Fox River & Countryside Fire Rescue District will be asked if they support the district’s plan to sell up to $13 million in general obligation bonds in part to build a new fire station and replacing aging vehicles and equipment.

The question will appear on the June 28 primary ballot. The bonds would be used to invest in equipment, vehicle and station upgrades and refinance existing obligations.

The Fox River & Countryside Fire Rescue District – which includes the unincorporated areas of St. Charles and Campton townships as well as the villages of Campton Hills and Wayne – protects more than 35,000 residents in a 38 square-mile area of DuPage and Kane counties.

“The district has reached a crucial point, as we have seen a 51% increase in the demand for emergency services over the last decade,” Fox River & Countryside Fire Rescue District Fire Chief Bert Lancaster said in a news release from the district. “We have made the most of the resources available to us during this period of growth, but we will need to act now to ensure the current and future needs of the community are met.”

Residents are being asked to:

• Support the purchase of new vehicles and the replacement of aging gear that is no longer in compliance to reduce long-term maintenance costs.

• Fund an additional, more centrally located fire station and provide necessary updates to the two existing stations, which will help reduce response times.

• Refinance existing obligations to further maximize taxpayer resources and free up annual budget to support staff hiring, training and retention costs.

“The district is primarily funded through property taxes and does not receive funding as part of town or village budgets,” Fox River & Countryside Fire Rescue District President Kristin LeBlanc said in the release. “We have done our due diligence in reviewing the financial options available to us and issuing general obligation bonds are the most effective and fiscally responsible path forward. Being a good financial steward is a priority for us, as we have long been one of the most cost efficient fire protection districts in the western suburbs.”

If approved, taxpayers will see an anticipated property tax increase of approximately $37.84 annually (or $3.15 monthly) on a property with an equalized assessed value of $100,000, or $130.12 annually (or $10.84 monthly) on a property with an equalized assessed value of $300,000, the release stated. This increase is anticipated to begin with bills issued in 2023.

Assessed value is the value of the property per the assessors office and equalized assessed value is 1/3 of that number in the collar counties.