East Dundee fire district seeking voter OK for new station
By Erin Sauder For The Courier-News September 19, 2012 9:42PM
Schematic of the new East Dundee Fire Protection District station which would be 17,000 square feet. The current station is 11,000 square feet.
Updated: October 21, 2012 1:15PM
EAST DUNDEE — This November, the East Dundee Fire Protection District will seek a $5.5 million referendum for a new fire station near Routes 25 and 72, although if it’s approved taxpayers likely won’t be asked to fund the entire amount.
“We’re working alongside the village of East Dundee to come up with what we can do that’s cost-effective for the residents,” said Chief Steve Schmitendorf.
East Dundee Village Administrator Bob Skurla said the village is proposing swapping three acres of land in the River Haven subdivision for the new fire station in exchange for the building the district now operates out of on Third Street next to the village hall.
“We also decided it would be helpful if the village itself financially helped in bringing the cost of the new construction down,” Skurla said. “So we’re putting more money on the table for the land exchange and the building exchange.”
The money to offset the purchase of the building would come from the village’s tax increment financing districts.
For instance, Skurla said, if the annual payments for the station total $400,000 over a 20-year period, the village might use funds to write down the tax levy by $100,000.
“Thereby charging taxpayers less on their property taxes each year,” he said.
The fire station next to the village hall would then be revamped to allow the police department to expand into it.
Fire officials said the area near Routes 25 and 72 is more centrally located to serve their entire district, which extends as far east as Higgins Road and Route 90.
Schmitendorf said it’s difficult for fire district employees to get out of the downtown East Dundee station.
“There are safety reasons with the bike path and things going on downtown,” he said. “To get onto the main road sometimes it takes several minutes. We’re not looking to have the Taj Mahal of fire stations by any means. We’re just looking to serve our district better. For us to do that, the best thing to do is relocate the station to a better spot to improve response time for everybody.”
He said the district cannot afford to have multiple firehouses.
“We don’t have the funding for that,” Schmitendorf said. “The best thing for all of us is to get a new station in the right place.”
The fire district plans to host an open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29.
The district serves the villages of East Dundee, South Barrington, Barrington Hills, and unincorporated Kane and Cook counties.