ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – During the last election cycle in 2017, when the public voted down a tax increase for the Fox River & Countryside Fire/Rescue District, Doreen Anderson said she didn’t even vote.
But these days, she has a giant vote “yes” sign in her yard that faces Route 25, nearly within walking distance of the fire district’s station No. 1 on Carl Lee Road.
“We just moved here in 2014,” Anderson said. “I didn’t pay any attention.”
That was then. This is now.
“I’m not sure how I noticed it – maybe it was on social media – but I did go to a meeting at this fire house in November about a referendum,” Anderson said. “Then I got too busy with my career and I was not able to make any referendum or board meetings after that. … Now I’ve freed up my schedule and my first project I assigned myself is volunteering for something I feel is important.”
In its fifth attempt to pass the referendum, the fire district is seeking voter approval in the March 20 primary election of a 16-cent increase that would hike the fire district’s current rate to 43 cents from the current rate of 27 cents per $100 of equalized assessed value, providing about $1 million more per year to the agency, officials said.
If it does not pass, fire officials said the district will be forced to rotate closure of its two stations in order to save money. That did not sit well with Anderson, who said her father suffered a massive stroke not long ago. She said she fears someone with a medical emergency will not get service in time to save their life if the district has to rotate closing its stations.
“I personally am aware of the critical nature of a proper response,” Anderson said. “I can’t tell you how passionate I am about this. … I feel so strongly about this.”
Not everyone is sold on voting “yes,” however. Wayne resident Michael Schulz said he will vote “no” – again.
“Not anything has changed,” Schulz said. “This referendum is the fire district just trying another tactic in order to persuade taxpayers to pony up their hard-earned income to make up for their sins and mistakes from the very start of putting together this fire district.”
Schulz said the district threatened to close stations in the last two failed referendum requests. “Here we are, two years later,” Schulz said. “Now they are going big-time fear factor.”
The district covers 38 square miles and serves about 25,000 residents in Campton Hills, Wayne and St. Charles townships in Kane and DuPage counties.
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