Marengo Fire Protection District to present upcoming referendum

Proposed tax hike would fund employee benefits

A referendum for a property tax increase that would provide benefits programs for the Marengo Fire Protection and Rescue Squad districts will be presented to the Marengo City Council on Monday.

The referendum is set to appear on the ballot during the April 2 consolidated 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, meanwhile, would see a $19 increase on their bill.

The districts are composed of three jointly staffed stations, eight paid on-call volunteers, 18 permanent part-time employees with full-time hours and 25 part-time paid on-premise employees.

Marengo Fire Chief Bob Bradbury said the district has lost 18 employees since 2015.

Currently, employee retention is less than three years.

By offering benefits, Bradbury said, the district would be able to provide more incentives to recruit fully trained firefighters and paramedics, saving the districts tens of thousands of dollars on training costs.

The Marengo Fire Protection District is the second largest in the state, covering 106 miles and encompassing 17 percent of McHenry County.

When combined with the rescue district, which also covers the Union Fire Protection District, the two emergency service providers cover 24 percent of the county.

The council will meet at 7 p.m. at Marengo City Hall, 132 E. Prairie St.

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