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Marengo fire officials to continue campaigning for referendum

Marengo Mayor John Koziol and City Administrator Joshua Blakemore listen to Marengo Fire Chief Bob Bradbury's presentation during a City Council meeting Monday.
Marengo Mayor John Koziol and City Administrator Joshua Blakemore listen to Marengo Fire Chief Bob Bradbury's presentation during a City Council meeting Monday.

Marengo Fire Protection District Chief Bob Bradbury and Assistant Fire Chief John Kimmel made their case before the City Council on Monday for a property tax increase that would fund benefit options for firefighters and paramedics.

A question regarding a property tax increase will appear as a referendum on the ballot during the April 2 election.

If approved, a Marengo homeowner whose home has a market value of $100,000 would see a $45 increase on their property tax bill. The owner of a $100,000 home in Union would see a $19 increase.

Until then, the district’s administration will continue to hold public events to answer any questions about the request.

The district will give two presentations, one at 7 p.m. Feb. 20 and one at
7 p.m. March 19 at Marengo Community High School, 110 Franks Road.

Kimmel said this referendum would not offer fully funded benefits packages for crew members, who currently work without any benefits. However, he would like to see it at least offer one annual sick day and vacation day, insurance assistance and retirement options.

Kimmel said one question the district is asked is why Marengo’s fire and rescue districts and Union’s fire district cannot be consolidated.

Although this is an option, Kimmel said, a consolidated district’s operating budget would be about $1 million less than the combined budgets of the current units.

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