St. Charles Countryside Fire Protection District funding referendum, 2009

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A St. Charles Countryside Fire Protection District funding referendum was on the April, 2009 ballot in Kane County and DuPage County for voters in the City of St. Charles.

The measure was defeated by 810 votes.Defeatedd[1]

Arguments in support

In a letter to taxpayers, Ed Malek, President of the District, made the following arguments for the funding:

Our District has 34 square miles with approximately 21,000 residents that live in about 6600 structures, covering parts of St. Charles,

Campton and Wayne Townships. Our population has increased 23% in the past 7 years and is expected to grow another 12% in the next five. We have no fire station, fire truck or ambulance. The District has relied for the past 40 years on the City of St. Charles Fire Department to protect its lives and homes. As the District has grown, the ability to reach our homes in a timely fashion, the service expectations of our residents and our financial resources have changed.

The decision to seek additional funding is based on several factors. The expenses of the St. Charles Fire Department have increased in the past 5 years. To just maintain the current level of service and continue to provide our fair share to the City based on our percentage of emergency calls, the District will be required to tap into its reserves. We will not be able to meet our financial obligation in 3 years. The tax rate in the District has actually declined 27% over the past 10 years. An independent survey indicated 83% of District respondents believe response times should be 7 minutes or less (the majority of the calls are not) and 90% believe we should reduce response time. Finally and most important, emergency service providers and medical experts agree that a faster response is critical to having a chance to save lives and property. Statistics show that a person who has been in cardiac arrest longer than 5 minutes will have long-term brain damage, and 85% of those people die. Fire statistics indicate that a home can become engulfed in flames after 10 minutes of a fire starting. Called “flashover,” the temperature builds so quickly that anything flammable ignites instantaneously. The house, in many cases, cannot be saved.

Based on the survey results, the Board has a mandate to do all it can to reduce response times. Current fire stations surrounding the

District will not be able to accomplish that. The only option is to get emergency medical technicians, fire fighters and equipment closer.[2]

The district estimates the proposed funding increase would add $13 a month in property taxes on a $350,000 home, which represents a 2% increase overall.[2]