ALGONQUIN – After a referendum to add a new property tax for the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District failed in Tuesday’s election, Fire Chief Peter Van Dorpe said he likely will ask the district’s Board of Trustees to place the question on November’s ballot.
The referendum, which would have added a 0.1 percent emergency and rescue tax amounting to about $61 on the property tax bill of the owner of a $200,000 house, was rejected by 53.2 percent of voters. District officials said the revenue is needed because of a loss of revenue from the commercial fire alarm business and added costs from the Affordable Care Act.
Van Dorpe said the members of the district were “a bit shocked” by the result because they felt the referendum had been well-received by residents they had spoken to.
“We did really well in places and really poorly in others,” Van Dorpe said. “My personal sense is the information didn’t get out across the whole district.”
The money from a potential tax would not have been included in the budget for the fiscal year starting May 1, but because of the rejection, the chief said he was reducing his maintenance budget in the upcoming budget and he will not be putting money aside for vehicle replacement.
The budget for 2017-18 likely would include personnel cuts, he said.
Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Firefighters Local 3895 President Matt Burg said the union, who led the campaign to spread the word about the referendum, would support the chief and trustees if they chose to put the question on November’s ballot.
“We put together hundreds of hours of effort leading up into this, and we would continue to do that,” Burg said. “It’s obvious there were some precincts that weren’t in favor as much as others. I think it’s our job to ensure people in those precincts receive and understand the message that several others have.”
The next scheduled Board of Trustees meeting is Wednesday.
If you go
WHAT: Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District Board of Trustees meeting
WHEN: 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday
WHERE: 1020 W. Algonquin Road, Lake in the Hills, in the training room