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Spring Grove fire board approves levy increase

Published: Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 4:47 p.m. CST • Updated: Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 10:39 p.m. CST

SPRING GROVE – The tax bill for property owners in the Spring Grove Fire Protection District will be higher next year.

The district's Board of Trustees unanimously approved a $1.44 million levy at its meeting last week though it expects to actually collect about 1.7 percent of the 4.5 percent increase it's requesting, Fire Chief Rich Tobiasz said.

That's because the district falls under the state's property tax cap, which was enacted in 1991 to address rising property taxes in the Chicago suburbs by tying how much some local governments can levy to the rate of inflation plus new growth.

The consumer price index, a commonly used indicator for measuring growth, rose by 1.7 percent in 2012.

The increase allowed under the cap would translate to about $6 for the owner of a home valued at $200,000 using a general homestead exemption.

The additional revenue may go toward replacing a 27-year-old water tanker, which will cost at least $250,000.

The Board of Trustees also OK'd an application for the Assistance to Firefighters grant, a the Federal Emergency Management Agency program, at its meeting.

The district is a good candidate for the grant because only about 2 percent of people in the district's coverage area have hydrants, Tobiasz said.

If the grant doesn't come through, though, the district will still need to replace the tanker because it can no longer get parts for repairs, he said.

The board also is talking about resurfacing its front parking lot, connecting to the village's sewer system and renovating its bunk room, adding two additional bunk spaces so that paramedic students who assist the regular firefighters while training have a place to sleep.

Currently, they're sleeping on air mattresses or in reclining chairs, Tobiasz said.

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