Fire protection levy flat in FRG
FOX RIVER GROVE – The Fox River Grove Fire Protection District has kept its property-tax levy request at the same amount as last year.
Fire protection district board members unanimously approved a $1.38 million levy, the same amount as in 2011.
“Although equipment, operating and personnel costs have risen since last year, we could not ask the residents for any more money in this tough economy,” board President Mike Kunz said in a news release.
The fire protection district has an annual budget of about $1.5 million.
Under the tax cap law, the fire district is limited to an increase that amounts to the rate of inflation. The district, however, chose not to raise its levy.
To raise the levy so the district has a larger amount upon which to base future percentage increases is not good enough reason to raise the levy this year, district Treasurer Bill Yocius said.
“Each year when we budget, we start at zero and then build our cost structure based on what we need to provide quality, cost-effective, emergency services to our residents, nothing more,” Yocius said. “We also have to be aware of what our residents are going through in this economy.”
Yocius said he expects some residents in the fire district to pay less toward fire protection, because most of the district’s individual funds are at their maximum rates and property values have been decreasing, he said.
“I would not anticipate anyone would go up,” Yocius said.
Final tax rates won’t be set until spring when property values are finalized.
Fire Chief Robert Kreher said he doesn’t believe keeping the levy flat this year affect the level of service. Firefighters and paramedics continue to enhance their training and efficiency, he said.
Kreher said that even though there was a record number of calls in 2012, previous investments in equipment and manpower will allow the district to provide the same level of service as in the past.
The Fox River Grove Fire Protection District has one of the highest insurance industry ratings in McHenry County and that would not be diminished by the tax levy, Kreher said. The rating can be used by insurance companies to set premiums.