Spring Grove Fire proposes higher levy

SPRING GROVE – Property owners covered by the Spring Grove Fire Protection District can collectively expect to pay about 1.7 percent more in property taxes next year.

The district's board of trustees directed its chief to put together a $1.44 million levy at its meeting Tuesday evening.

The proposed levy, which will likely be voted on at the board's November meeting, is an increase of about 4.5 percent over last year, but because the district falls under the state's tax cap, it likely won't see all of that increase, Fire Chief Rich Tobiasz said.

The tax cap was enacted in 1991 to address rising property taxes in the Chicago suburbs by tying revenue increases to the rate of inflation plus new growth.

That means the Spring Grove Fire Protection District can expect to collect only an additional 1.7 percent, which was the amount the consumer price index rose in 2012, in revenue unless new development or improvements raise property values.

The increase was necessary, Tobiasz said, because the district needs to replace a 27-year-old water tanker, which will cost at least $250,000.

The district cannot get parts to repair it, and so even if the district doesn't get the grant it is planning on applying for, it still will need to be replaced, he said.

Only about 2 percent of people in the district's coverage area have hydrants, Tobiasz said.

The board also is talking about resurfacing its front parking lot, connecting to the village's sewer system and renovating its bunk room, adding two additional bunk spaces so that paramedic students who assist the regular firefighters while training have a place to sleep.

Currently, they're sleeping on air mattresses or in reclining chairs, Tobiasz said.