NORTH LEWISBURG – The Northeast Champaign County Fire District (NECCFD) board is asking voters in the villages of Woodstock and North Lewisburg and in the townships of Rush and Wayne to pass a three-year, 4.5-mill replacement levy for fire protection and ambulance service on Nov. 3.
According to the Champaign County Board of Elections, if the levy passes, homeowners will pay 45 cents for each $100 of valuation each year for a three-year period beginning in 2016 and first due in calendar year 2017.
The NECCFD board debated for several months as to whether to go to voters with a renewal or replacement levy. In the end, the board chose a replacement levy, which Fiscal Officer Jennifer Jenkins reported would generate a gross amount of $429,000 a year. A renewal, on the other hand, would generate a gross amount yearly of $365,000.
“The board felt with the continued increase in both personnel and equipment replacement costs, the updated revenue is needed to keep pace with these costs,” Board Chairman Ed Funderburgh said.
The $64,000 difference between the two levies considered by the board is a result of how a replacement levy differs from a renewal. While both would keep the same millage approved by district voters in November 2012, a replacement levy applies the current property values, while a renewal applies the property valuations used when the levy was first approved.
Funderburgh said as with any fire district, the funds generated through a levy of this sort helps cover the bigger expenses like personnel, equipment and building costs.
“We just replaced our tanker truck with the help of a (Federal Emergency Management Agency) grant,” he said. “Our old tanker had been in service for more than 30 years.
“We are looking at updating our medic unit in 2018, and the revenue from our levy not only pays for the everyday costs of personnel and equipment upkeep, but is used to allocate funds needed for this purchase. Our plan is to time the purchase of these vehicles so not to overspend our budget at any point,” Funderburgh added.
No matter how the levy fares on Nov. 3, Funderburgh said, the NECCFD will continue serving the district.
“We have been very fortunate to have always had the support of our communities that make up our district in the past,” he said. “We will continue to respond to taxpayers in our communities with timely, professional EMS and fire needs.”