DUNLAP, Ill. (WMBD)–The Dunlap Fire Protection District is asking the public if an increase in taxes should be allowed to help pay for the costs of emergency and rescue crews and equipment.
Voters in three precincts of the Dunlap area will be asked these two questions when filling out ballots. Both asking to ‘ok’ a tax increase to support the Dunlap Fire Department.
The first question asks if the district can levy a special tax at a rate not to exceed 0.01 percent. This question will help fund the rescue operations and equipment on calls.
The second question asks if the district can increase its property tax rate from .003 percent to .004 percent. This question provides the general operating costs for the department–things such as utilities, station maintenance, and repairs and equipment replacement.
District fire chief, Jim Hanson explains how much this would roughly cost the taxpayers.
“We’re asking to increase our corporate tax levy which is your property taxes–which is about 1/3 of the assessed value of your home; so on a $200,000 home with both levees together it’s $133/year or $11/month,” Hanson said.
He says he realizes people don’t like tax increases; himself included, but that the district wouldn’t be asking if they didn’t have to.
“I understand that I don’t want my taxes raised either, however, there are very things that we can do that we’re not already doing to keep costs down,” Hanson said.
Chief Hanson also says the goal of both levees is to provide excellent emergency service to their community.
“That’s really what it’s about, is trying to keep people in the house, so when that pager goes off/tones go off that we have enough people to go out and tackle the problem at that time,” Hanson said.
Currently, only two firefighters, including the chief are staffed at the department full-time as most of the crew is made of volunteers. If successful, the department will hope to add more people to the station at given times.
“Part of what we would like to do is maybe extend our paid coverage hours–so we’d have more staff around more times of the day; maybe up the amount of personnel during those times,” Hanson said.
Chief Hanson says voters will find a mailer with information in their mailboxes sometime this week. And they will be going door-to-door this weekend and will be available to answer any questions voters have.