- Editor’s Note: You can read the full text of the disconnect referendum on the Kane County Clerk’s referendum webpage.
When word recently leaked that there is a real possibility after all these years that I and my neighbors may no longer be served by the Elburn & Countryside Fire Protection District, I was floored. How is it and why would some entity launch a campaign to risk the lives and property of some 3,000 residents? Perhaps one of the reasons this has been kept so very quiet is that Fox River & Countryside was hoping not to have to answer those questions face-to-face.
Elburn has provided us with state-of-the-art equipment and expertly trained staff while at the same time avoiding to incur debt on our behalf.
The Fox River & Countryside Fire / Rescue District is grossly under-equipped to meet the demands of our rural setting in terms of pumper trucks and mutual-aid agreements. Fox River has two stations, Elburn has three. Their ability to provide prompt and skilled paramedic service is life-threateningly inadequate, particularly in light of their lack of Advanced Life Support equipment.
Elburn is assisted by several neighboring departments, including Geneva, St. Charles, Kaneville and more. Those served by Fox River must wait for assistance from towns as far away as Carpentersville and Hoffman Estates.
The reason Fox River worked so hard to get an 11th-hour referendum on the Nov. 4 ballot calling for our properties to be disconnected from Elburn and added to Fox River is that Fox River is financially ailing, with indebtedness somewhere between $4 million and $5 million depending upon who one talks to.
Fox River wants you to know that their tax rate is lower than Elburn’s. At least for now. What they would rather we not pay attention to is that Fox River’s Ordinance 2012-02 spells out a PER HOUR charge for equipment and manpower on the scene. Elburn has no such charges.
Then, last Thursday’s issue of the Kane County Chronicle contained a list owners who are delinquent in paying property taxes. Fox River & Countryside made that list in both Campton and St. Charles townships. A quick check of the Kane County Treasurer’s website confirmed both delinquencies, and a current bills show a total of $1,049.68 now due in penalties. That Fox River would risk their fire stations going to tax sale in addition to wasting their taxpayers’ hard-earned money is completely unacceptable.
The question on the ballot is straightforward. It asks those of us currently served by Elburn if we wish to leave an exemplary emergency services department that is completely debt free to join Fox River, and in so doing, “assume a proportionate share of the bonded indebtedness,” which at this point exceeds $4 million.
All Fox River needs is a nod from the simple majority of the voters in the affected area in order to legally force our transfer. On Nov. 4, get out and vote “Against,” as though your life and property depends on it. Because it does.
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