Tax Referendum

Tolono Fire Protection District Referendum Information

The Tolono Fire Protection District has a rich history dating back to its establishment in 1888, initially funded by the Village of Tolono and private donations. To formalize its operations and secure a dedicated funding source, the district was officially formed in 1994. Since its inception, the district has never requested an increase in taxes for Fire Protection and Emergency Medical Services, relying on efficient budgeting and strategic use of available funds. However, as the community grows and the costs of essential equipment and services rise, the district is now proposing a modest increase in the tax rate to ensure it can continue to provide high-quality emergency services.

Currently, the district’s funding comes from a small portion of local tax dollars, amounting to just $0.23 per hundred assessed value. This proposal aims to increase it to $0.35 per hundred assessed value, translating to a slight annual increase of $40 for a property valued at $100,000. This increase is necessary to address several critical needs, including the replacement of aging fire engines, bunker gear, hoses, and outdated communication equipment. The district’s call volume has steadily increased, from 254 calls in 2015 to a projected 540 calls in 2024, underscoring the growing demand for their services.

Without this increase, the district may face difficult decisions, such as consolidating stations, reducing the number of fire engines, or cutting services, all of which could significantly impact response times and service quality. The new station, funded partially through TIF money and strategically designed for future growth, represents a forward-thinking approach to meeting the community’s needs. However, the sustainability of these improvements and the district’s ability to maintain high standards of service depend on the proposed tax increase. Supporting this referendum ensures that the Tolono Fire Protection District can continue to protect and serve the community effectively.

Taxes: Primary Means of Funding

  • Approximate Tax Dollar Distribution:
  • Schools/Education: Unit 7 = 3.27, Parkland = 0.52
  • Champaign County: 0.81
  • Tolono Total: 0.96
  • Tolono Village: 0.39
  • Tolono Road and Bridge: 0.38
  • Tolono Township: 0.33
  • Tolono Park District: 0.33
  • Fire Protection / Emergency Medical Services: 0.22
  • Library: 0.13 (includes Savoy)

Services Provided By Tolono Fire Protection District

  • Fire Protection: Fire suppression of all types
  • Emergency Medical Services: Non-transport care of the sick and injured
  • Rescue: Extrication and care for victims of traumatic accidents
  • Emergency Management: Storm Spotters, Traffic Control for large-scale incidents
  • Training: Annual and ongoing training requirements, specialized training
  • Types: Live Fire Training, EMS Training for new members

Call Statistics

  • 2023:
  • Fire: 104
  • EMS: 303
  • Rescue: 54
  • Public Assistance: 37
  • EMA: 2
  • Total: 500
  • 2018:
  • Fire: 78
  • EMS: 216
  • Rescue: 64
  • Public Assistance: 16
  • Total: 374
  • 2015:
  • Fire: 85
  • EMS: 155
  • Rescue: 2
  • Public Assistance: 12
  • Total: 254
  • 2024 Projections: 540 calls (increase of 40 from 2023)

Equipment Costs Comparison: 2000 vs 2024

  • Fire Engine: $750,000 (2024) vs $220,000 (2000)
  • Turnout Gear: $3,145 (2024) vs $1,000 (2000)
  • SCBA (Breathing Apparatus): $10,495 (2024) vs $2,500 (2000)
  • Extrication Equipment: $26,000 (2024) (historically purchased used/refurbished)

Approximate Tax Dollar Costs

  • Current: $0.23 per hundred assessed value
  • Proposed: $0.35 per hundred assessed value
  • Increase: $0.12 per hundred assessed value
  • Annual Impact:
    • $100,000 property: $40 increase
    • $200,000 property: $80 increase
    • $300,000 property: $120 increase

Current Needs

  • 2 Fire Engines: Current fleet old; one engine unsafe due to frame issues
  • Bunker Gear: Expensive and expires
  • Hose: Expires and deteriorates, failing annual tests
  • Modern Extrication Equipment (Jaws of Life): Always used/refurbished
  • Communications Equipment (Radios and Pagers): Old, no longer repairable, new ones over $6,000 each

New Station Rationale

  • Issues with Old Station: Outgrown space, flooding, outdated plumbing/electrical
  • Funding: 75% TIF money from the Village, remainder borrowed (to be paid off soon)
  • Benefits: Accommodates growth, community room for events

Consequences if Referendum Fails

  • Potential Actions:
  • Consolidate stations, possibly closing/selling the West Station
  • Reduce the number of fire engines, leaving no reserves
  • Reduction in services to cut costs
  • Increased vehicle maintenance costs due to old engines