Updated: December 8, 2012 6:33AM
The East Dundee Fire Protection District referendum seeking permission to build a new, $5.5 million fire station won approval Tuesday, with voters in both Kane and Cook counties backing the measure to borrow the money through bonds.
In the Kane County portion of the district, the referendum was approved 834-686. The Cook vote, with all three precincts there reporting, was 152-140 to OK the referendum.
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. The district serves the villages of East Dundee , South Barrington, Barrington Hills, and unincorporated Kane and Cook counties.
According to Fire Chief Steve Schmitendorf, 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 village had proposed swapping three acres of land in the River Haven subdivision for the new fire station in exchange for the building the district now operates on Third Street next to the village hall. East Dundee wanted to use it for the police department which no operates out of village hall.
Other local referendums Tuesday included:
A countywide advisory question asking voters if the U.S. Constitution should be amended to limit the use of corporate, special interest and private money in any political activity, including influencing the election of any candidate for public office.
It was drew overwhelming support with 101,101 yes votes to 36,584 no votes.
The local effort is part of the broader Move to Amend, a nationwide group that came about after the January 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, in which the Supreme Court ruled that corporations and unions have rights akin to those of people, including free speech.
This has given way to the present political environment in which seemingly endless streams of money are flooding into races, with this election cycle shaping up to be the most expensive ever, according to backers of the referendum.
Activists had said that if advisory measures of the sort posited in Kane County could be passed in about half the state, they would ask Illinois legislators to take action.
Voters in Gilberts rejected a request to levy a recreation tax of 2 cents per $100 assessed valuation, by a vote of 1,724 to 524 with all four precincts reporting.
Dundee Township residents were asked if they wanted to have the township try to negotiate lower electric rates. The referendum was approved 9,679 to 7,530.